Chief nurse: ‘Cut hospital beds to increase care at home’


Cutting hospital beds and using the money for care at home could mean better treatment for patients, according to NHS England’s chief nursing officer.

Prof Jane Cummings writes in the Daily Telegraph that freeing up the money put into “old and expensive buildings” is one way the health service can improve.

Staying in hospital too long can often make patients more ill, she claims.

The Patients’ Association said social care and the NHS needed to integrate.

Prof Cummings said “outdated models of care” needed to change.

‘Personalised care’

The article is in response to a review set up by the NHS which split England into 44 areas, ordering local managers and councils to come up with sustainability and transformation plans to improve efficiency.

Describing an NHS organisation in Devon, Prof Cummings said: “[It] wants to invest in home-based care, but it struggles because resources are currently tied up in hospital beds.”

“Many patients stay in those beds for too long, because home care is not available, often becoming more ill as a result.

“And more people can be better looked after, with care personalised to their needs.”

‘Great strides’

Dr Mike Smith, a Patients’ Association trustee, said figures showed that patients recover more quickly if they are in a place they are happy with.

“In most cases, when they are not in need of acute services, this is in their own home,” he said.

“Quite often, out of hours and at weekends, the only way they can talk to a health care professional is to go to an A&E department and two out of five do not need to be there.”

He said the current system “had to change”, adding that NHS England was making “great strides” to integrate social care treatment.

‘Maximum value’

NHS England is estimated to spend about £820m a year treating older patients in hospital when they no longer need acute clinical care.

Prof Cummings said there would always be “vigorous debate” over how much money the government puts into the system.

She said the job of health professionals was to “squeeze the maximum value” from the budgets they were given.

“That means changing outdated models of care so that patients don’t fall into cracks between different parts of the system and ensuring that we provide care based around their needs, and not those of NHS organisations,” she said.

“Since 1948, the NHS has adapted itself constantly and it must continue to do so as the world and our health needs will continue to change.”







New friendships for older people with Contact the Elderly


The importance of social interaction for elderly adults

As you get older you might not have quite as many opportunities to socialise as you did when you were younger. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as mobility difficulties or general frailty. People who continue to maintain close friendships and/or find other ways to interact socially tend to live happier, healthier lives.

An active social life can reduce depression, lower blood pressure and potentially lower the effects of other cardiovascular problems.

With 10% of people over the age of 65 admitting to feeling chronically lonely, it is vital that friendships for older people are developed. Social activities and interaction basically prevent your brain from getting ‘rusty’. It is therefore important for elderly adults to keep their social connections strong. There are some great initiatives in the local community to stimulate and encourage social interaction.

One of these initiatives is set up by a charity called Contact the Elderly.

Contact the Elderly is the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling this loneliness and social isolation amongst older people, through regular face-to-face contact. Contact the Elderly organises monthly afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75 and over, who live alone. These tea parties offer a regular and vital friendship link every month.

photo credit: Contact the Elderly

One Sunday afternoon a month, volunteer drivers take their older guests to a volunteer host’s home where they join a small group for tea, talk and companionship. The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same and the groups are kept small so that everyone can join in and get to know each other.

Over time, the aim is that the connections and friendships made at the meetings turn into companionship. What a wonderful charity.

For more information about Contact the Elderly and/or a group near you, visit:

To see what everyone gets up to, or to find out more, visit their YouTube channel:



Raising Awareness of Dementia


September is World Alzheimer’s Month

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, with it accounting for 90% of cases. Did you know that around the world, someone is diagnosed with dementia every THREE seconds?

By 2050, an estimated 131 million people will be suffering with the disease.

That’s why we need to raise awareness of the disease; about its impact and how we can treat and prevent it.

Every year there is a theme.

The theme for this year is a campaign called Remember Me to encourage people to remember family, friends or loved ones who are living with dementia or who may have passed away after living with the disease.

To do this, you will need to submit a photo or message about that person. Alternatively, you can share your message or photo on social media using the hashtags #RememberMe or #WAM2016.

You can also raise general awareness of the disease by sharing the materials provided by Alzheimer’s Disease International.

What are the early warning signs of dementia?

  • General memory loss that affects every day life – such as completing simple or familiar tasks;
  • Misplacing items;
  • Confusion with days, time or locations;
  • Withdrawal from hobbies, work or other leisure activities;
  • Changes in mood and personality.

21st September is also World Alzheimer’s Day. Get involved with the conversations on social media by using the hashtag #WAM2016.


Fabulous Oldies


Fabulous Oldies

Duncan Raban began his career taking pictures of the most famous celebrities and A-listers you could ever hope to encounter. After a spell photographing Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2005 – witnessing how brave the children were, and how committed the staff were – his career changed direction. His photography became visual stories of compassion, kindness and bravery.

His belief is that everyday people, with real stories to tell, are the true heroes.

He first started out with a simple hello to get talking to strangers and break the ice. This has now turned into a number of photo series, one of which is the ‘Fabulous Oldies‘.

We would highly recommend setting aside half an hour to read through some of these wonderful, touching, funny and relatable stories from our beloved older generation.




Next time you’re out and about and see an older person, strike up a conversation or #justsayhello.

Find more work from Duncan here:


Father and Son sing in aid of Alzheimer’s


Carpool Karaoke with a twist

You might have seen the likes of James Corden with various celebrity passengers, singing their hearts out around L.A.

This video is slightly different, it is of a UK duo: 80 year-old father (Ted) and 40 year-old son (Simon). What makes it special is that Ted was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013 and now struggles due to his declining memory, however, this song takes him back to singing at Butlins in his youth. It was at Butlins that he earned a nickname: The Songaminute Man.

You might have already seen this wonderfully heartwarming (and viral) video circulating around the internet already, but if you haven’t, here it is in its full glory. (If you don’t know Quando, Quando, Quando, it was performed by Englebert Humperdinck.)


As you can hear, Ted certainly hasn’t forgotten how to sing!

Simon set up a JustGiving page to help raise awareness and funds to fight dementia. The video has already racked up millions of views, and over £65,000 to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Donate here.


Find out more about the specialist care we offer, including care for people with Alzheimer’s, here.


What is Palliative Care?


The Difference Between End of Life Care and Palliative Care

We often get asked: ‘what is palliative care?’. The words ‘palliative care’ and ‘end of life care’ are often used interchangeably, however there is a subtle difference, which can make all the difference when it comes to receiving care.


So, what is palliative care?

Palliative care is ultimately about ensuring you, and your family, have the best quality of life possible. It is the combined care and treatment to help manage physical pain and symptoms. It can also provide emotional, spiritual, social or psychological support for you and those who may be immediately affected. Palliative care also tries to help you and your family come to terms with the dying and bereavement process.

Who is it for?

Palliative care is for people who have a long-term or complex illness or disease that needs specialist attention. Palliative care is also for people with a terminal illness, but not necessarily nearing the end of life.

What is end of life care?

End of life care it is slightly different to palliative care as it concerns the treatment of someone who is in the last stages of their life. This is usually within the final 12 months. However, the term ‘palliative care’ can also encompass end of life treatment.

Where can someone receive palliative or end of life care?

More traditionally, treatment is provided at a hospital or hospice. Care can also be provided to you in the comfort of your own home (this is sometimes referred to as ‘hospice at home’).

Who can provide the care?

Those who provide palliative and end of life care are split into two groups:

  • Specialist medical professionals e.g. palliative care consultants or clinical nurses
  • General day-to-day carers e.g. those providing care to you in your home or at hospital


If you are considering palliative care, but wish to be in the comfort and surroundings of your own home, we are able to provide carers with specialist training to locations throughout the UK.


Click here for more information about other types of care at home we offer, or call us on 01252 852 100.


For more information, the NCPC has an in-depth explanation of what palliative care is.


Independent Living – Accessories and Tips


Independent Living

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is how a client will be able to cope in their own home, despite the access to a live-carer, especially if they are finding it more difficult to be mobile.

The answer is (apart from assistance from your carer!): there are a plethora of accessories and aids available to help prolong independent living.

Independent living

If you are considering hiring a carer to help you at home with the harder tasks, but want an element of independence to your lifestyle, we’ve put together a list of what we believe are the most useful additions:

  • Handrails – for inside and outside to help guide you around your home;
  • Shower chair – to take the pressure off standing and to reduce the risk of falls;
  • Stair lift – if you find it hard to constantly be walking up and down;
  • Pillow lift – useful for those who need a boost to their upper body when getting out of bed;
  • Back supports – to use on various chairs around your house;
  • Ramps – to reduce the need for awkward steps when entering your home;
  • Rollators – to assist with walking without the need for a wheelchair;
  • Safety alarm – for alerting your carer if you have an accident.

Want to know more?

Do Ability has an extensive shopping site with reviews of the products on offer.

Age UK has a page dedicated solely to independent living products and services.


Respite care: caring for carers


Do you need a break from caring?


Over 6 million people in the UK are currently acting as a carer for a relative or friend. That’s a lot of people who dedicate their time solely to look after someone else.

It is important that carers take some time out occasionally to ensure they are strong enough to continue providing excellent care to the person who relies on them. Just like you would in any job, it is expected that you take a holiday; this is no different for a carer.

If you are a carer for someone, and need a break, we can help.

When would I need respite care?

Specific occasions, such as going away on holiday or going to a wedding, might provide the reason to consider respite care.

wedding car

Other times, perhaps when you need to see friends, do paperwork or attend your own medical appointments are also valid reasons for looking into respite care.

Respite care may also benefit the person you are caring for; a mix of routine and people can provide a welcome change. If you reason is nothing more than simply needing a rest, we are here to help.

If you are a carer (or know someone who is a carer) and need a break, contact us on 01252 852 100. We can provide respite care for at least a week, at short notice – sometimes within 24 hours.