Hannah MacKechnie

Hannah MacKechnie

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 13:45

Jemma - Care Administrator

Jemma
Bromsgrove and Redditch Care Administrator

Jemma initially joined our Radfield Home Care Worcester branch as a carer and then progressed into an office team role where she worked for Dawn as her manager. When Dawn started her own franchised branch of Radfield Home Care in Bromsgrove and Redditch, Jemma decided that she would like to support Dawn in her new venture and has been working as a Care Administrator to help ensure that the care service runs as smoothly as possible.

Jemma loves working in the care sector and when she is not busy supporting her carers or clients she is at home looking after her young family.

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 15:21

The carer’s role

Values are everything to us at Radfield and we only select the most responsible carers who can both uphold our values and demonstrate their personality fit to our family culture. We can support and train people to be great Radfield carers but we can’t train someone to be a great person with the right attitude.

When a new carer begins to work at Radfield, they are carefully monitored and trained by our experienced care team. As well as learning the practical skills, we also monitor how well they interact with clients and if they form positive relationships with them.

We support our carers with ongoing feedback and training, and encourage them to progress into structured learning such as, undertaking diplomas in social care or progression to management level.

We are proud to have a high staff retention rate at 89%, whereas the industry standard is 30%. We consider this a reflection of how much we value our care staff and how we respect the work they do. Many staff members have remained with us from when we started in 2008.

Care Certificate Training

All staff working in Health and Social Care should complete the national entry level qualification but it is not obligatory. At Radfield, we ensure with our training that all of our carers exceed the standards outlined in the certificate.

All Radfield carers undergo training to meet our standards in the following areas:

Theoretical learning: 

Practical training covers:

  • Dementia care
  • Fire safety
  • First aid
  • Food hygiene
  • Health and safety
  • Infection control
  • Medication theory
  • Mental capacity and dolls
  • Moving and handling theory
  • Risk management
  • Safe guarding
  • Basic life support
  • Moving and handling people
  • Catheter and Conveen care
  • Stoma care
  • Pressure area care
  • Medication
  • Stocking care
  • Infection control
  • Gas and fire safety
  • Dementia training

 

What a carer can and can’t do:

Personal care

  • Washing, bathing and showering.
  • Dressing and undressing.
  • Cleaning teeth and dentures.
  • Shaving facial hair with an electric shaver.
  • Assisting with personal grooming; for example, brushing hair and applying makeup.
  • Toilet management and continence care, emptying and changing catheter bags but not resiting indwelling catheters.
  • Assisting with physical exercises to enable rehabilitation under the direction of a physiotherapist.

Day and night care

  • Companionship, social time with a client in or out of the house, walking or by car (planned).
  • Day sitting, being at a client’s home to provide personal and social care.
  • Night sitting, being awake to provide care during the night.
  • Night sleeping, sleeping at the client’s home and providing care if needed but not woken more than twice in a night (considered to be a waking night).

Moving

  • Moving and handling and use of lifting equipment, but not physically lifting a client without the correct equipment.

Medication

  • Medication collection and administering from prescribed and labelled containers.
  • Application of creams but not to broken skin, nor prescription creams without medical approval.
  • Monitoring blood sugar for diabetic clients but not injecting insulin.
  • Monitoring of weight and nutritional and fluid intake.

Household

  • Preparing meals, feeding and washing up.
  • Changing bed linen, laundry and ironing at the client’s home or at a laundrette.
  • Assisted shopping and help both to carry and put away items at a client’s home.
  • Shopping from a list and using client’s money to purchase items.

What a carer can’t do

  • Any of the roles above for anyone other than the client.
  • Household repairs or climbing ladders.
  • Duties that require a trained nurse. For example: changing dressings, giving injections.

At Radfield we have a mission: To be the best care company from whom to receive care and support, and to be the very best company for whom to work. We extend this mission with our Caring for Carers Pledge here…


Next steps:


 

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 09:30

Questions to ask a home care service

At Radfield, we understand that looking for a home care service can be a difficult and confusing process. Unless you have knowledge and experience of how home care works, then your understanding of what questions you need to ask may be vague.

To make it easier for you, we have listed a set of vital questions to ask a potential home care service. You can also see an extensive list, with a checklist to download, on the Which? Site here

Do you visit me at home before care starts?

A home care service should have a care assessment process so that they can create a bespoke care plan for your needs and gather all the vital information they need to offer you a safe service, as we do at Radfield.

Their Care Manager should visit you in your home so that they can understand your living situation and conduct a health and safety risk assessment.

Your home care service should be asking you the following questions whilst creating your care plan:

  • Details of illness or conditions and any medication you require.
  • Do you have any challenges with hearing, sight or communication?
  • Do you have any mobility issues that need specialist help?
  • Any dietary needs or preferences.
  • Religious and cultural beliefs, lifestyle choices and preferences.
  • Who else is involved in support and care, for example, family members and health care professionals.
  • Does anyone hold Power of Attorney for you?

How often can I change (or can I cancel) my care package?

You want full control of the care service that is given to you at all times. Therefore, you should be able to change the care offered to you at any time, without a reason.

It is also vital to ask what terms or process there is to cancel the service and if you can have a trial period to asses if you are happy with the care before you commit to ongoing care.

Will I have the same carer each time and how many carers will I have?

Introducing a new person into your life and home can take time to get used to, and having a constant stream of different people caring for you is unsettling and far from ideal.

To cover the reality that a carer will go on holiday or might be off work due to illness, it is best to have more than one carer on a regular basis. This offers you the chance to get to know your carers and avoid having to unexpectedly deal with a carer you don’t know.

Also ask what the home care service policy is to cover emergency situations, such as if a carer is stuck in traffic or bad weather and can’t get to you. Will the home care service send another carer for your scheduled time?

For other emergency situations, such as if you have an accident, will the carer accompany you to hospital?

Just as important as having consistency, is to ask what happens if you simply can’t get along with your carer or feel uncomfortable with them. It does take several visits to get used to someone new in your home but in rare instances you may want someone else to attend to you and that should be your right.

What are your standards for hiring a carer?

Welcoming someone into your home extends a level of trust, so you need to be reassured that the care service is properly screening their candidates and not just hiring anyone.

Ask your service what process of selection they go through and the minimum requirements they have for hiring. At Radfield, we only hire if we would trust a carer to take care of our own family.

It is also essential to get confirmation that all hired carers have their employer references checked (more than one) and that a DBS police check  is conducted.

Do you supervise and train your carers?

After a new carer has been hired, they should have an induction and trial period under supervision and then undergo comprehensive training.

Ask what ongoing training the carers have access to and how the care service monitors the standards of an individual carer. A good agency will provide ongoing training to their carers, together with the opportunity for development.

Radfield carers are trained rigorously at all levels of practical care but also with an approach of warmth, dignity and respect that encompasses the Radfield family culture.

To ensure that corners are not cut, ask how the service monitors if a carer is completing all the tasks they are supposed to. Do they use time sheets and daily records of care, and do you have access to these?

What are your charges and what extras do I have to pay for?

An area of controversy surrounding home care, that has received much publicity, is the inclusion of a carer’s travel time within your scheduled time. Ensure you ask and clarify that the carer will stay with you for the full time that you are paying for. At Radfield, our carers’ travel time is not taken out of your care visit time.

Apart from standard hourly charges or charge per visit, ask if there are additional charges for weekend visits and bank holidays.

Ask for clarity and a full list of any additional charges you may incur, such as:

  • Mileage for trips
  • Expenses for trips
  • VAT (is this included)
  • National Insurance for the care worker.

Ensure that your home carer is employed, insured and bonded by the service provider. If a carer is self employed or contracted, then you may have personal liability or tax obligations and the agency will not be able to manage the quality of the carers work and enforce improvements if needed.

What regulations and insurance do you have?

Home care agencies have regulations and insurance to offer you more protection and a greater level of service than hiring a self-employed independent carer or an online matching service.

A CQC registered home care agency provides you with a managed service - this means that you have a qualified Care Manager who is approved and registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) overseeing the care that you receive. This is especially important for specialist levels of care such as medication management, handling/moving, catheter care and dementia care.

A managed service will also be responsible for ensuring all of its carers have thorough, up to date training, that their work is regularly monitored and that all staff have regular reviews and supervisions.

It also ensures that client care is reviewed regularly, that there is a person who takes responsibility for any issues that arise and will endeavour to resolve them promptly.

Ensure to ask your home care service if:

  • They are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (England).
  • They employ all of their care workers.

What level of support is provided and insurance cover available if a carer:

  • Has an accident.
  • Makes a mistake.

A reputable home care agency will always be happy to offer references from other clients that can confirm the level and quality of their care service.


At Radfield, we offer a fully transparent and accountable service and as the first UK health care business to receive B Corp certification, we are officially recognised as an ethical supplier that offers value to both its clients and its employees.

Contact us here and we will be happy to answer any of your questions for reassurance. Also, you can find an extensive list of answers on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

You can read what makes Radfield Home Care different here and why our clients highly recommend our service.


Next steps:


The Radfield Home Care Hastings and Rother Team have been extremely busy preparing for our launch event which took place on the 16th June at Sussex Day 2017. We are pleased to announce the branch is now officially open for business and would like to say a huge thank you to the organisers for putting on such a great event.

Sussex Day Launch Event - Radfield Home Care Hastings & Rother

With offices now in Battle, East Sussex Director, Samuel Holmes felt Sussex Day 2017 presented the ideal opportunity to introduce himself and the unique Radfield Home Care services to the local community, businesses, groups and associations, and to raise awareness in the local area.

Samuel is a qualified social worker and has devoted a significant part of his career to supporting older people. He was inspired to launch the new Radfield branch by his experience that most older people want to continue living at home for as long and as independently as possible, but struggle to find good quality care services to make this happen.

Radfield Home Care has a unique set of values and believe it is vitally important to listen and prioritise people’s individual hopes and wishes when planning care. This approach is central to the way in which the company operates and is made possible by valuing the care staff who are offered a variety of opportunities for personal and professional development.

Director, Samuel Holmes commented “Sussex Day 2017 was a fantastic opportunity to be part of an event which celebrated the achievements and talents of the whole community. It was also really encouraging to meet so many people who wanted to talk about care related issues and the services we provide. We look forward to being part of many more Sussex community events in the future”.

Welcome to the Radfield family.  #ProudtoCare

 

Thursday, 22 June 2017 12:06

How to discuss care needs

You may have realised that your father or mother are at a stage where they need support from a care service. Perhaps their appearance is starting to look unkempt, they are becoming confused trying to do simple tasks or they have lost weight and judging by the contents (or lack of) in the fridge, are not eating regular meals. The need for care could be due to a new diagnosis, such as diabetes that requires careful monitoring or it could be that your mother is taking care of your father in the early stages of dementia and she is looking tired and losing weight.

If you have already read the page signs that a parent needs help, you may fear resistance or anger for even trying to broach the subject.

Your parents have dignity and when their children suggest that they need help, it’s a harsh reminder both of their ageing and of their decline. They’re most likely to be afraid.

Most elderly people want to remain living in their own home as they get older. When care is mentioned, an older person may become fearful that this means a residential care home with many of their belongings and their house being sold, and a loss of control over their life.

Explaining that introducing home care at an early stage helps to maintain independence and living at home for longer, should help to ease their fears.

  • Firstly, and most importantly, is to put yourself in their shoes. Understand that they could be facing deep fears about getting older. Try to get to the bottom of what their concerns are so that you can reassure them and address the issues.
  • Treat them like adults. A role reversal is not going to be easy for a parent when their children take charge. Show respect for their position as your parent and acknowledge that ultimately what they decide for themselves is their choice.
  • Highlight all the positives. Focus on the benefits of having home care, such as someone who can drive them to see friends or take them shopping. Someone to take care of difficult and heavy jobs in the house and someone to chat to for company. By stressing that introducing home care now will help them to stay at home for much longer, should ease their worries.
  • Be factual and remove emotion. Write a list of the reasons why you think they need home care help. Be rational and include any accidents or illnesses they have had – refer to our list of signs that a relative needs help. By tactfully presenting the facts in a clear manner, it could help your parent to face up to the truth.
  • Voice your concerns. Talk about what your fears are and ask them if they might agree to accepting help for your sake or for their grand-children’s sake, but avoid an overload of guilt.
  • Stress that they remain in control at all times. A home care plan is put together for their needs, on their terms and it can be changed at any time.
  • Propose a trial period. If your parents can see that they control the process they are more likely to agree. Start by suggesting a visit from one of our care managers who can answer all their questions and talk them through the process. Once they start care, most of our clients say they wish that they had done it years before.

Bill and Sandra*

One of our clients Bill had been widowed two years previously and had initially coped well, but his personal appearance had started to decline. He was not showering or shaving as often as he used to and his appearance was not his usual smart self.

Bill’s daughter Sandra had a family while also working full time so although she lived locally, she wasn’t able to visit or care for her father as much as she wanted to. As she became increasingly worried about her father, she tried to broach the subject of care but Bill was especially resistant.

After seeking our advice, Sandra gave her father a Radfield information brochure and told him about others in a similar position and their positive experiences from using our service. She suggested a meeting with one of our care managers so he could ask any questions but without any pressure to commit.

At the meeting, our care manager asked about Bill’s previous hobbies and explained how a care service could help him to get out for walks to the river where he used to love to fish regularly. As they talked Bill began to understand how flexible home care is and that it could help to improve his quality of life and independence.

After the meeting and after more discussion and reassurance he could cancel at any time, Bill agreed with Sandra to a four-week trial. He felt that one hour, three times a week, would help relieve some pressure both with the housework and the laundry being done for him. He also agreed to a weekly three-hour visit, so that he could get out for a walk to the river that he loved together with a visit to the riverside pub, to enjoy a beer which he hadn’t been able to do for some time.

After the four-week trial, Bill happily continued with his care service and said that he hadn’t realised that it could be so positive – he thought care was only to help with washing and dressing.

Sandra was relieved to know that her father was accepting help and that he was building a good relationship with the care staff, so that when the time came to increase his level of care there wouldn’t be any more resistance.

 


Next steps:

  1. What sort of care do I need? – an overview of the different levels of support.
  2. Why should you choose Radfield Home Care? read about why we stand out…
  3. Contact your local office by phone, or using our contact form, here…

*We have changed the names to respect the identity of our client.

Thursday, 22 June 2017 11:25

Signs that a parent needs care

For a person who is growing older and trying to deal with physical and health limitations, asking for help can feel like too much of a burden to place on their family. Instead, telling family that everything is ‘fine’ and ‘okay’, when in fact they are struggling to manage.

Therefore, it’s essential we watch out for our parents as they age to monitor the subtle changes and signs that indicate they need help, so that they don’t have to ask. Also, to understand that not everyone is able or willing to accept that they can’t manage alone, especially in the early stages of mental decline.

By starting with gentle levels of home care, such as shopping or housework twice a week and gradually increasing it over time, it is usually easier to accept than a higher level of care that may have to be put in in short notice in response to a crisis such as a fall or illness.

Any of the following are signs that your parent or elderly relative needs some level of care support:

Emotional changes

  • Loss of interest in things they previously enjoyed.
  • Withdrawn and avoiding friends and family.
  • Mood swings, such as being hyper-excited to tearful.
  • Agitated or aggressive, and angry behaviour.
  • Depressed, no interest in anything or talking slowly/quietly.

Physical changes

  • Sleeping during the day with little energy.
  • Difficulty walking or getting out of a chair.
  • Unexplained bruises and injuries.
  • Weight loss or lack of appetite.

Mental status

  • No awareness of time.
  • Confusion over simple tasks.
  • Missing appointments.
  • Becoming secretive.

Personal care changes

  • Unwashed hair, uncleaned teeth or dirty nails.
  • Unkempt appearance.
  • Dirty and stained clothes.
  • Noticeable body odour or smell of urine.

Changes around the house

  • An untidy kitchen with dirty dishes pilling up.
  • Dirty or cluttered surfaces.
  • No fresh food or rotting food in the fridge.
  • Dirty plates and mouldy dishes left around the house.
  • Unopened mail or newspapers stacking up.
  • Missed payments for bills and utilities turned off.
  • Bedlinen not being washed regularly.

It’s not an easy conversation to have with a parent when they appear to be in decline and in need of care support, and you may experience resistance. Radfield can support you to broach the subject of introducing home care.

Firstly, we recommend reading How to discuss care needs for advice on how you can talk to someone close to you.

Secondly, one of our experienced care managers can help you to talk to a parent or relative about how introducing a low level of home care can have a positive impact on quality of life and offer more independence.

However, if someone close to you is showing any signs of mental decline and confusion in the first instance you should talk to their doctor.

 


Read next:

  1. How to discuss care needs – a guide to help you broach the subject.
  2. What sort of care do I need? – an overview of the different levels of support.
  3. Contact your local office for our advice and support in arranging home care support.

 

Working for Radfield Home Care - Bromsgrove & Redditch as a Care Assistant is an extremely rewarding job. In order to do the job well, you need to have a caring nature, be flexible and organised in your work, enjoy taking on responsibility and making a real difference to other people's lives.

This is a franchise branch owned and run by Dawn Phillips. Dawn has 25 years of experience and worked for Radfield Home care as a branch manager going on to become a regional compliance manager before taking the opportunity to own her very own branch, she still works closely with Hannah and Alex and all of the teams and shares the core values and ethos that underpins the Radfield Home Care brand.

How Does Radfield Care for Carers?

Radfield Home Care is an award-winning company built on an outstanding reputation that provides care services to clients who wish to remain living in their own home, maintaining their independence, and quality of life.

As the first healthcare company in the UK to become an accredited B Corp, we are extremely proud of the work and services we deliver to our local communities. We do this by caring for our Carers.

Radfield Home Care has created its own core values that are at the heart of what we do each and every day. Our Caring for our Carers pledge also ensures we improve the conditions for hard working care staff, enabling carers to do a good job.

B Corp allows Radfield Home Care to demonstrate our commitment to our people and to our planet in a transparent and clear way by creating value for society, not just shareholders.

Job Title:

Care Assistant.

Location:

Redditch.

Reporting to:

Care Manager.

Salary:

Competitive, based on experience.

Hours:

Part-time, Monday - Friday 9am-5pm.

Requirements:

Driving Licence, Enhanced DBS disclosure / DBS adult first clearance.

Job Purpose:

To provide domiciliary care to clients.

Application Deadline:  

15th July 2017.

Submit My Application

Redditch Home Care Assistant Jobs

The job description for a Care Assistant - Bromsgrove & Redditch at Radfield Home Care is outlined below.

Our Home Care Assistants work with elderly people who live in their own homes and may need just a small amount of support e.g. help with shopping or companionship through to care visits with one or two carers several times per day.

Your care duties for each individual client will be clearly stated in their Care Plan and may vary depending on the client needs, time of day of the visit etc. Occasionally other care duties may arise that aren’t included below and you will need to be able to adapt easily to take on these different duties if asked.

There are certain qualities that we expect all our carers to have and bring to their day-to-day work and we have outlined these below.

Skills, Knowledge & Qualifications

Required:

The main skills and qualities that we look for in our Home Care Assistants are:

  • Physically able to cope with the demands of domiciliary care work which involves bending, lifting, stretching, kneeling, crouching, using small stepladders, walking, getting up and down stairs & manual dexterity
  • Mentally able to cope with the demands of domiciliary care work which can be stressful and involve dealing with bereavement and challenging behaviour
  • Able to work regular weekends either 4 sessions on alternate weekends or 2 sessions every weekend
  • To participate in the standby carer rota
  • Self-motivated, organised and flexible
  • Caring, patient and sensitive to the needs of others and to the sick or infirm
  • An active team player but also able to work on own initiative
  • A good communicator

Desired:

The main skills and qualities that we look for in our Home Care Assistants are:

  • Previous experience in the care profession and qualifications are desirable attributes but we can provide training and opportunities to undertake qualifications to staff with no previous care experience.
  • Some experienced carers will participate in the on-call rota and undertake shadowing training with new carers. These additional responsibilities are optional and are remunerated at an enhanced rate of pay.

Care Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Main Responsibilities:

  • To share with other staff in meeting the personal care needs of our clients in a way that respects their dignity and promotes independence. The nature of care we expect you to provide is similar to that which would reasonably be given by members of the client’s own family and will not involve tasks that a trained nurse would normally provide.
  • To assist our clients who need help with getting in and out of bed, dressing, undressing, washing, bathing and using the toilet.
  • To help clients with mobility problems and other physical disabilities including incontinence to use and look after aids and personal equipment.
  • To care for clients who are temporarily sick and may need assistance with minor dressings, bed nursing, help with feeding, toileting etc.
  • To help care for clients who are dying.
  • To help promote mental and physical well-being of our clients through talking to them, taking them out, sharing with them in activities such as reading, writing, hobbies and recreations.
  • To undertake light household tasks, for example making and changing beds, tidying rooms, light cleaning such as dusting and vacuuming and emptying commodes.
  • To assist with washing clothes and ironing if requested.
  • To prepare and serve meals; assist clients with eating and drinking; wash up, tidy and clean the kitchen and dining area.
  • To greet visitors and answer the telephone as needed whilst at the clients home.
  • To read and write reports, and take part in staff and clients meetings and training activities as directed.
  • To maintain the highest standards of hygiene at all times and use personal protective equipment provided.
  • Report any illness to the office so that correct infection prevention and control procedures can be followed.
  • To comply with the agency's guidelines and policies at all times.
  • To report to the office any significant changes in the health or circumstances of a client.
  • To encourage clients to remain as independent as possible.
  • To report to the office immediately any events or situations that may pose a risk to our clients, their relatives or staff members. For example a faulty piece of equipment or broken step in a client's home.
  • To help promote the agency with marketing which may include leafleting and to help protect the reputation of the agency.
  • To come into the office at least once a week to collect and bring in client paperwork and to collect your rota and client information.
  • To perform such other duties as may reasonably be required.

Obligations

All staff are required to adhere to the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers and respect the confidentiality of all matters that they might learn in the course of their employment. All staff are expected to comply with requirements under the Data Protection Act 1998.

All staff must be familiar with Radfield Home Care Ltd’s health and safety policies and procedures and ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 of which we can provide copies if needed.

Submit My Application

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 00:00

Holidays and Travelling with Dementia

Holidays with Dementia

As summer is here, thoughts turn to jolly days by the sea or to jetting off to sunshine drenched days and blissful sandy beaches. Family holidays are full of treasured memories that last a lifetime and the well-being after taking time out from the routine of life can last for months.

For families that have a mother or a husband living with dementia, thoughts of a family holiday may have to be dismissed. The reality is that traveling with dementia is going to be more difficult but there is no reason that with good planning, a holiday cannot be enjoyed and benefit everyone.

Should you take a person with dementia on holiday?

The first questions to ask are: how well will your mother, father, husband or wife cope with the change in routine, the different surroundings, being confined in a plane or with delays at airports?

If dementia is advanced, considering a holiday in the UK with a specialist company is likely to be a better option for both the sufferer and their carer, and to ensure that everyone can relax to fully enjoy the break.

However daunting the planning may feel, there is much evidence that the emotional and physical benefits of taking a holiday for a dementia sufferer, far outweigh any inconvenience.

The Jones’ family holiday*

Margaret and her late husband Bill had taken their family to Llandudno many times and she loved to be by the sea. Margaret is now in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and her daughter Joan wanted her mother to revisit the much-loved family holiday location, in the hope it would stimulate old memories.

As the Alzheimer’s disease made planning difficult for Margaret, Joan turned to Radfield to help remove the stress and plan a structured week that would visit all her mother’s favourite places. She also arranged that a carer accompany the family to Llandudno, to stay in the beachfront hotel with them for extra support to ensure that everyone could really relax.

During the holiday, they visited many familiar places and this helped to stimulate old memories for Margaret and they made sure to take plenty of photographs for a reminder.

After returning home, Joan commented that her mother was noticeably more content and happy. She had also developed a special bond with the carer who had accompanied them and they often look at the photographs together.

The emotional benefits of holidays for dementia

Specialist holiday company Dementia Adventure have conducted much research into the effect of outdoor activity for people living with dementia. Their studies show that 74% of people with dementia lack the confidence to go outside, and 73% have fear and safety concerns. 

However, if a person with dementia does attend an assisted outdoor event, such as their ‘Walking in the Woods’ project, findings indicate that immersion in nature had emotional benefits such as: 

  • mood enhancement
  • spiritual uplift
  • stronger sense of self
  • having more control.

Physical benefits also experienced included:

  • better sleep
  • increased verbal expression
  • improved memory.

Dementia Adventure noted that during their holidays, an uplift in confidence is usually experienced by the dementia sufferer as they feel empowered to try something new, such as taking the helm of a boat when sailing. The empowering uplift effect has been observed to last for up to six months after returning home. 


59% of carers said that the holiday had a positive effect on their relationship. 76% of people with dementia felt positive after their holiday.


 

Can you fly with dementia?

There is no reason that a person with dementia cannot fly but it would be advised to consider the past lifestyle of the person living with dementia. For example, if they used to be a seasoned traveller comfortable both with flying and foreign climates or if their most exotic holiday was somewhere closer to home.

People with dementia get confused more easily by a change in their surroundings or by anything unfamiliar. So, if they have never been abroad before, it won’t be the best time to start now.

Flying can be stressful for all of us and airports have strict security measures that are restrictive and controlled. But airlines and airports have invested a great deal in supporting people with dementia in the last few years, following a government initiative to change the perception of dementia. 

If you are going abroad, check your health insurance and the health care policy of the country you are visiting.

easyJet

The ‘orange’ airline was the first to respond and join the Dementia friends programme launched in 2002 as part of the 2020 Challenge on Dementia

We spoke to EasyJet and their official response was:

“Every year we carry more than 450,000 people, including people with dementia, who need some extra assistance through the airport or on board. All our cabin crew are trained to provide this extra support for passengers with dementia.

“Any passenger who needs extra help whilst travelling can book our Special Assistance in advance when they make the flight booking or by contacting our Special Assistance Team about an existing booking.” 

Heathrow

In August 2016, Heathrow announced its commitment to be the world’s first dementia friendly airport by joining the Dementia Friends training programme for all staff. 

“Airports can be particularly stressful for passengers with dementia so we are delighted to be working with the Department of Health and Alzheimer’s Society to make sure that they get the support they need. We have started training our colleagues and making improvements so that we can be the world’s first dementia friendly airport”. John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow

“Everyone has the right to be able to travel comfortably and with ease, and we all have a role in helping air passengers with dementia feel like they’re able to continue flying.” Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society

Gatwick

In December 2016, Gatwick also pledged their commitment to the Dementia Friendly initiative and were praised for the implementation of a lanyard scheme. The lanyard is worn voluntarily upon request and is a discreet signal to staff that a passenger may need special assistance. 

“By teaming up with the Alzheimer’s Society and OCS we’ve made huge strides in understanding the challenges passengers with dementia may encounter and how we can better support them, their family and carers.” Gatwick’s Head of Terminals and Passenger Services Nikki Barton.

Other airlines and airports are expected to follow as ‘Dementia Friendly’ becomes an integrated part of the UK.

Tips when flying with dementia:

  • Check the airline policy for assistance and medical conditions in advance – you may need to complete a medical information form.
  • Arrive at the airport with plenty of time, to avoid additional stress.
  • Put a list of contacts into your relative’s pocket and ensure they wear a MedicAlert bracelet.
  • Keep medication, insurance documents and medical certificates with you (not in your luggage).
  • Let the airport staff know when you arrive and ask for the lanyard scheme.
  • Take noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs to wear on the plane.

Holidays in the UK with dementia

Staying within the UK is possibly an easier option with the choice of smaller hotels and rental cottages but does still need careful planning. There are specialist companies that can help by offering a holiday with organised activities for dementia sufferers and their carers.

Dementia friendly holiday companies:

Disability Discrimination Act

It is useful to know that there are rights to protect anyone with dementia when taking a holiday in the UK. The Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, both state that businesses have to make reasonable adjustments to ensure their service is accessible to disabled people. 

For the purposes of this act ‘disabled’ is defined (in part) as: ...anyone with mental impairments that have an adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal, day-to-day activities.

The act means that for example:

If you think that a service business has discriminated against your mother or father because of their dementia, you can contact the Equality Advisory Support Service

Always plan ahead and then you can enjoy your holiday

“Everyone needs a break from their routine now and then and this is the same if you have dementia. However, the very nature of living with dementia can make taking a holiday more challenging as going into a new environment can be confusing and disorienting.

The important thing to do is to make sure that the holiday is well planned in advance. This will ensure that plenty of time is allowed for the person with dementia to accommodate to the change in environment and also ensure that the pace of the holiday is carefully considered to meet the person's individual abilities.

There may also be a readjustment phase when returning home after the holiday and family members or carers must be aware of this and again allow time for the adjustment back into the home environment to occur with patience and understanding.” Dr. Hannah MacKechnie, GP and elderly care expert.

Other resources

Essential viewing with a wealth of advice: Travelling with Dementia [video] by Alzheimer Scotland “There is life after being diagnosed with dementia.” 

Holidays and travelling guide by Alzheimer’s Society 


*We have changed the names to respect the identity of our client.

The image at the top of the page is used under Creative Commons license with copyright credited to Shai Barzilay

 

Teaching Elderly to be Safe Online

You may remember the first time you heard ‘cyber crime’ mentioned as a distant theme in movies, such as when schoolboy Matthew Broderick unwittingly hacked his way into a nuclear standoff in Wargames back in 1983 or when Sandra Bullock was a remote IT worker and had her identity and life stolen in 1995 in the cyber classic The Net.

Cyber crime is no longer just a dark force in movies but a real and public threat to everyone – officially recognised after inclusion for the first time in the Crime Survey for England and Wales annual report. The report launched at the beginning of this year reflects the changing nature of crime and highlights that fraud and computer misuse are now the most commonly reported offences.


"When the crime survey started [35 years ago], fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented.

"Today's figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence." John Flatley, The Office for National Statistics.


 

Cyber crime might feel like something dark and sinister, far removed from real life but if you sat and waited in hospital on Friday (12th May) with your elderly mother whilst chaos descended and computer systems went into meltdown, then your life was touched by the biggest cyber attack the NHS has fallen victim to with 100 other countries worldwide affected too.

What was the NHS cyber attack on Friday 12th May?

At the centre of the cyber attack storm was a malicious software called WannaCry. Known as ‘ransomware’, the malware demands payment to unlock data that it has encrypted thus blocking access to files on the computer.

WannaCry found its way into the NHS system most likely due to the often obsolete and out of date systems that Trusts are using. It gained control before threatening to delete all NHS information if payment terms were not met. Potentially, this could have included all patients’ medical records. You can only imagine the devastation that such a loss of public records would have caused.

In what could be straight out of a movie script akin to Wargames, a 22-year-old blogger managed to avert disaster by quickly finding and activating a ‘kill switch’ in the malicious software to disable control of the ransomware and instantly became a national hero for saving the day.

How to protect yourself from the NHS ransomware attack

Be aware that the accidental hero blogger has warned that computer users are still at risk if they don’t update their Windows software:

Microsoft released a software update in March to ‘patch’ a vulnerability in the Windows system. WannaCry exploited this vulnerability which means that anyone who has not updated their software since March is still at risk if any more attacks occur. Full details on protecting your computer against WannaCry can be read here.

Don’t allow online fraud to stop internet use

Setting international cyber-disaster at the NHS aside, online fraud at a grass roots level is a real threat to anyone with a computer and those who grew up in a time before digital technology was a part of everyday life are especially at risk due to their lack of familiarity.

As dramatic as that might sound, with a little knowledge and some common sense, anyone can protect themselves to enjoy the full benefits that the internet can bring, such as video calls with family around the world and connecting to local senior groups via social media for companionship. Internet use should be encouraged for the elderly for the positive benefits it can bring.

How to protect against online scams and fraud

Age UK recommends that to stay safe you only need to apply the same common sense from everyday life. For example, if a stranger knocked on the front door you shouldn’t invite them into your house, so if you receive an email from someone you don’t know then you shouldn’t click on links within the email or open any attachments.

Attending a local course on how to use the internet would be a good starting point for any elderly relative wanting to get online. Age UK have a list of local courses here.

How to recognise a phishing email

Probably the most recognised type of online fraud is ‘phishing’ – an email cleverly disguised as being from a trustworthy organisation that then attempts to steal your security details.

Examples of different themes of phishing emails:

  • From your bank asking you to update or reset information.
  • From a software company asking you to install software.
  • An email claiming you have won a major prize in a lottery.
  • An email claiming to be from a friend asking for money because they are stranded.
  • An email from a firm of lawyers informing you of an inheritance.

Sometimes, phishing emails are sent from the accounts of friends because a virus has infected their computer, in turn triggering fake emails to be sent from their address book. In this instance, the message is usually very short such as ‘Check this out’ or ‘See what I found?’, with a link to click or sometimes the message is blank with just an attachment. If you are ever in any doubt, then never click on a link or open an attachment in an email unless you are certain that the source is genuine - check with the sender.

Phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it difficult to discern if they are from a genuine organisation such as Apple, HMRC, HSBC, PayPal or TSB (the most popular companies used). The design will look authentic but there are clues to look for.

Lloyds bank has a clear instruction on how to tell a real email from a suspicious one, it includes an image of a fake email and is an excellent resource for learning what to look for, you can see that here.

A key theme of the email will claim that your account has been suspended or deactivated, and that you need to respond with security details or passwords. You can see a sample of two email scams circulating last year from HSBC and Natwest here.

Use the same rules with email that you would if a stranger knocked on your door asking to come in. Consider, just because someone wears a police uniform doesn’t mean they are a genuine police officer:

  • check they are who they say they are and examine any identification
  • call the company to verify their identity (use a number that you know is genuine)
  • never give them any personal information, security usernames or passwords.

Genuine companies are always happy to verify if they sent an email or not. But don’t use a phone number contained in the email. Instead, search online for the actual contact details.

The only people you should ever give your password to are trusted family members (and never use recognisable information for a password such as a birthday or street name).

Phone call scams asking for a password

Increasingly common are phone call scams where the caller claims to be from an IT firm or a recognised and trusted company such as Microsoft. They will claim that your computer has a virus and that they can remove it for you but any actions they ask you to take would involve installing malicious software called ‘spyware’ on to your computer, which captures personal information and passwords.

The caller may:

  • Ask you to visit a credible looking website to download software.
  • Email the software to you whilst on the phone for you to then install.
  • Ask you for credit card information for a fake purchase.
  • Direct you to a website to enter your credit card details.

If you receive a call from an IT company or from someone claiming to be from technical support for a large company such as Microsoft, asking you to complete various actions or to make payments - hang up immediately.

Microsoft has a useful and comprehensive guide to telephone scams here.


Des Dillon became a victim of cybercrime after being tricked into giving away his password over a series of phone calls. The result was a loss of £230,000.

"Over a couple of phone calls, he asked me for various [information], third number, fourth number and ninth letter, that type of thing, and obviously he put it together very quickly." Via BBC Radio 5 live


 

Scam pop-up windows when browsing

Another common scam can happen when browsing the web and a pop-up window appears.

Pop-ups do happen when browsing but this one may be difficult to close. Most likely it will display an error warning and ask you to call a phone number to unlock your machine.

If you can’t close the pop-up then shut down your browser (if you can) and seek help from a trusted source to make sure that the pop-up is closed/removed safely.

How to report a cyber crime or fraud

As highlighted above, if you receive a suspected phishing email then contact the genuine company or bank that the email is claiming to be from – this will help them to tackle fraud and to warn others.

Action Fraud is the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre in the UK and is a valuable resource for keeping up to date with both the latest scams and known fraud campaigns.

They have an interactive map for all reported scams here

You can report a crime here

They have a guide for all scams here.

Useful resources:

The Age UK, Guide to internet security and staying safe online, is an excellent and comprehensive PDF resource that you can print to give to your elderly relative. 


The image at the top of the page is used under Creative Commons license with copyright credited to Christiaan Colen 

Friday, 12 May 2017 15:37

About our Hastings & Rother Branch

Radfield Home Care specialises in the care of older people in the community. We provide a reliable, individually tailored service which promotes independence and enables people to continue living at home.

Our branch was established in 2017 after identifying a need for a local home care company which listens to its clients and delivers a service which meets their expectations. We are tremendously proud of the fact that the feedback we have received has been excellent so far.

Radfield Home Care values its care staff and offers a career which includes a comprehensive induction, ongoing training and personal development. We also provide regular supervision together with practical and emotional support to ensure our high standards are maintained.

Radfield Home Care also believes in embracing the latest technology to support our carers in the field and to provide an efficient service. By doing this, our management team are able to respond quickly and effectively to ensure the wellbeing of our clients remains at the centre of what we do.

Please contact the branch office to discuss any of our services in more detail. Our staff will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

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