RSS Icon Industry News RSS Feed
News Archive
Special unit will protect vulnerable
A SPECIALIST unit dedicated to protecting vulnerable adults has been officially launched at Newcastle City Council. 
The Safeguarding Adults Unit aims to raise awareness of abuse suffered by vulnerable adults, investigate allegations and tackle abuse with other agencies such as Northumbria Police, Northumbria Probation Service and Newcastle Primary Care Trust. 
The Unit, which builds on the work of the safeguarding adults co-ordinator was launched with a new policy and procedures by the Lord Mayor Coun Peter Arnold. 
Also in attendance was Dame Denise Platt DBE, chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI). 
Costing more than £150,000, the Unit was set up in recognition of the need to do more for vulnerable adults such as the elderly, disabled and mentally ill who need community services because they cannot look after themselves. 
In 2006-07 Newcastle City Council investigated 195 allegations of abuse - 48 per cent (94 cases) of which required no further action, however, in 37 per cent of cases (72) action was taken and in the remaining 15 per cent (29) the investigations are continuing. 
Set against the city's population of 276,400 this may look like a tiny problem but for the victims the suffering can be unimaginable - physical, sexual, psychological, financial abuse or neglected by paid carers and even family members. 
The Unit, which has a six-strong team, investigates allegations with other statutory bodies, and stops the abuse by taking action against the perpetrator or in some cases just highlights bad practice in nursing and residential homes and makes recommendations for changes. 
Newcastle's acting director of adult social services, Caroline Thomas, said: “Everyone has the right to live their life free from violence and abuse and that is why we will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable adults.  
“If anyone becomes aware of a vulnerable adult being abused or neglected it is incumbent upon them to notify the authorities. Adult services staff will investigate allegations of abuse with our partners and take whatever action is deemed necessary to bring it to an end as swiftly as possible.” 
Dame Denise Platt added: “The policy and procedures being launched are very important and will only be effective if people know how to use the procedures and use them well to support better practice in the city for the benefit of local people.” 

Telehealth service cuts admissions
MILTON Keynes Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Milton Keynes Community Alarm Service have teamed up with Tunstall to launch a pioneering telehealth initiative to reduce avoidable hospital admissions, and enable people to better manage long-term conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) at home. 
Milton Keynes has a high prevalence of COPD in its local population, costing the PCT over £450,000 a year to treat emergency admissions.  Since launching the telehealth service, 26 hospital admissions have been prevented in just four months, reducing the burden on acute, primary and community sectors. 
Genesis monitors from Tunstall were provided to patients with COPD to support a more proactive and preventative model of care.  The monitor lets patients measure their own vital signs such as heart rate, weight, blood pressure and oxygen levels, and also asks a range of clinical questions to further determine a patient’s condition. 
As a result, if patients with COPD experience a change in their health status, proactive medical intervention can be taken at an early stage.  Clinical results are monitored by Milton Keynes Community Alarm Service’s telecare team and nursing staff are notified if assistance is required, ensuring early intervention and avoiding hospital admission. 
A key benefit of the initiative is educating users to be more aware of their own symptom’s and to proactively manage them, helping to reduce some of the burden on healthcare providers. 
Fatima Holt, RGN for the District Nurse team within Milton Keynes PCT, said: “The telehealth pilot is a revolution in care for my COPD patients.  Historically these types of patients presented themselves to us in very acute stages of their care. It was not uncommon for them to begin feeling ill, allow this to develop for three or four days then contact us when they were in a very serious condition. In the majority of these cases we had to admit these patients into hospital. 
“We have now transformed this situation and because of the telehealth monitors we are able to see the start of an exacerbation in the early stages and take appropriate proactive care.  I am convinced we need to roll this out into all our chronic disease areas.” 

Care worker John takes top award
CARE worker John Hutchinson has won the Train to Gain Outstanding Learner Award at the inaugural LSC South East Learning and Skills Awards.  
The event was hosted by former Olympic athlete, Colin Jackson CBE, who presented the awards to winners, while ITV Meridian news presenter Mary Green, hosted the glittering dinner and prize-giving ceremony. 
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) exists to make England better skilled and more competitive, and the event honoured both learners for their achievements and employers for their support of work-based learning.  
John, from Sandown on the Isle of Wight, is a care worker with Two Counties Community Care – an organisation providing care for people within their own homes. He collected the Train to Gain Outstanding Learner Award and was presented with a trophy by Colin Jackson.  
As a mature male care assistant working in a female-dominated sector, John has provided a high quality of assistance to clients who require care to enable them to continue living independently. The major part of his role involves dealing with the personal care and hygiene of his clients.  
John has successfully completed many qualifications related to his career, and is currently undertaking an NVQ Level 2 in health and social care.  
He said: “It’s really nice to have this recognition. The training has given me the confidence to do a job that can be very difficult at times. On a personal level, the most important thing is the knowledge that my efforts are having a beneficial effect on the people I look after. The training doesn’t stop here, I intend to continue my development in the future.” 
Commenting on the prestigious awards ceremony, Henry Ball, Regional Director for the LSC South East, said: “The inaugural LSC South East Learning and Skills Awards were a great success.  They acknowledge the achievement of learners and employers who use work-based learning to develop their skills.  These awards recognise the qualities shown by learners who frequently succeed against the odds.   
“For the employers themselves, we looked for a dynamic approach to training, support for learners, and an ability to demonstrate tangible business benefits through training programmes. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to all finalists – for their achievements and for making this such an awesome event.” 
In his motivational speech, Colin Jackson talked about his own experiences in training to become a world-class athlete. His talk highlighted how he had overcome personal challenges and explained how dreams could be achieved no matter which career people choose. 
The LSC South East Learning & Skills Awards was held at the Copthorne Effingham Hotel and Resort, Effingham Park, near Gatwick.  
The event will become a regular occurrence as the LSC continues to demonstrate its commitment to both employers and learners across the South East of England. 

Severe cash problems of new carers
A DEEPLY worrying new report on the long term financial impact of caring has been launched by Carers UK. 
Based on a survey of nearly 3,000 carers, it finds that they face a severe financial penalty as soon as they start caring, unpaid, for a disabled or chronically ill relative or friend. Yet, by contrast, their support is worth a staggering £57billion per year to the state. 
The survey shows that carers are having to sell their homes, cut back on food, heating and clothes, give up their jobs, and sacrifice their pensions - leaving many deeply anxious about their financial future.  
It reveals very clearly that the current benefits system does not allow carers an acceptable standard of living and neither recognises nor values them for the contribution they make to the national economy.  
Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK said: “Carers are often forced out of work because the social care system does not give them the support they need to balance work and caring. They are then consigned to a life on the margins because the benefits system is so outdated. Carers feel short-changed by the system. 
“Demographic trends point to the need for an additional three million carers over the next 30 years. It means that some 10 million people will experience the harsh realities that come from being a carer - and the detrimental effects that can remain with them for the rest of their lives. 
“Carers’ benefits simply are not fit for purpose,” Imelda added. “They were designed in the 1970s when the world was a very different place. What we need is a radical overhaul of the benefits and tax system. We also need to invest heavily in social care to ensure that carers and their families can take advantage of things that others take for granted – like going out shopping, having a weekend away, going on a course or having a job.”  
The survey finds that: 
72 per cent are worse off since they started caring;  
65 per cent are not in paid work; 
54 per cent give up work to care; 
53 per cent say that financial worries are affecting their health; 
33 per cent are in debt; 
30 per cent are cutting back on food or heating; 
10 per cent cannot afford to pay their rent or mortgage.

Minister urges more people to get involved
HEALTH minister Ivan Lewis has launched a campaign to encourage more people to get involved in social care. 
Adverts are appearing on television, radio and in newspapers throughout the coming months with the aim of attracting the thousands of new people needed for the social care sector. Real-life carers and people who use social care services have been used to create the asdverts, which show someone in a wheelchair using a skate park, a pensioner who is being supported in her own home and a man with autism whose carer is teaching him the bus route he will be using when he starts his new job. 
Mr Lewis said: "Social workers and social care staff play a critical role in every community - dealing with a wide cross section of people across society. 
"This campaign will focus on how rewarding and valuable a career in social care can be and sets out to challenge perceptions on who works in social care."

Boost for telecare project
A PROJECT to help vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes has been given the go ahead thanks to a £500,000 cash boost from the Welsh Assembly. 
Neath Port Talbot Council has been working closely with the Local Health Board, Bro Morgannwg Trust and Community Safety to develop a pioneering 'telecare' project for Neath Port Talbot. 
'Telecare' makes use of the latest technology and equipment to care for people in their homes, especially older people and those with learning disabilities. 
Things like lifeline phones, epilepsy or bed wet sensors, infa red detectors to alert staff that someone has got out of bed and fall monitors are devices that can be installed to protect vulnerable people. 
Following a successful pilot scheme led by Neath Port Talbot last year, the two year grant means that 900 'telecare home safety systems' can be installed across the county borough by April next year. 
As part of the pilot, Neath Port Talbot Council teamed up with Community Lives Consortium to develop a model for 'telecare' services. 
Two flats for people with special needs were set up, assisting the occupiers to control their environment from their wheelchairs without help. 
Assisted technology helped them to see who was at the front door via a monitor, open the door, turn on the TV, lights and other electrical appliances on and off using a remote switch. 
The flats were also fitted with kitchen cupboards that lower and raise for easy access. A special phone can be programmed to detect falls, flooding and gas left on, then technology comes to the rescue by automatically shutting off the gas and water or calling a carer or even a plumber! 
Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Derek Vaughan, said, "I am delighted with the news that we have been successful in our grant application for this important and worthwhile scheme. 
"With an increasingly ageing population, it is vital that we find new, innovative and cost effective ways of providing high quality care and modern services which meet the expectations of service users, carers and social care professionals. 
"Telecare will mean that more people can remain in their own home and live independently. It will also mean that social and care services can be made available to people in amore planned way."
top of page