Somerset Care Blog

Delivering quality care and support

17
Oct
2014

Somerset Care celebrates staff achievements

The Somerset Care Group held their annual awards ceremony on 25th September at the Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton, at which several members of staff were honoured.

Over 170 guests, including award winners and their families, attended the event at the County Ground, where staff were recognised for their long service and special achievements. Presentations were made to staff members who had been nominated by their fellow colleagues for going above and beyond, with a winner being announced in each category.

Attendees heard speeches from Alyson Martin, Chief Executive, Eoin Keogh, Director of Care, Susan Baverstock, Group Head of HR and Training and Chris Davies, Chairman.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Executive, Alyson Martin said, “it is wonderful to see so many of our staff members being honoured for their commitment and dedication to Somerset Care. It has been a lovely day and a pleasure to be able to celebrate the achievements of our staff.

Fletcher House staffPortcullis House staffHR team

04
Jul
2014

Alyson’s Update

What a busy time over the last 6 weeks; new homes, new ways of working, new website and a Royal visit.

Care Homes

There has been a hive of activity surrounding the completion of our new care home, Wessex House in Somerton. The new Wessex House achieved it’s registration with CQC on 13th May, followed by the official celebration on 22nd May for handover of the home from the developers, the Stepping Stone Group, to Somerset Care. With the residents moving into their new home on 27th May. It was a tremendous effort from all staff, volunteers and families to achieve the move in one day. The new home offers superb new accommodation still located near the centre of the town and next door to the new doctors surgery. It’s a new era for care in Somerton and I wish Amy, the staff team and the residents at Wessex House every success as they settle into their new home.

Wessex House

 Community Services

Over the last few months, the Community team have been streamlining the way we manage and deliver our services. After much involvement from many staff the new care and support planning documents have been launched, along with changes to the way Community Team Supervisors work. Instead of supervisory staff having to cover a wide range of responsibilities we now have Supervisors who are either dedicated to supporting care and support workers or supporting customers. Alongside this, we are re-shaping management roles so that we will have Business Managers (overseeing the core management of running the business) and Care Managers who have the lead for ensuring quality delivery of care services.

Quality Services

In May, we were involved in the pilot stage of the new CQC standards and inspections. We volunteered for this project and the Chard Community Services team were the first team to be involved in supporting the development of how inspections will operate in the future. It’s too soon to know what the outcome of their inspection will be, but we hope that the new approach will be robust enough to properly test the quality of our services, but also give us good customer feedback. As we move forward into the new way of inspections, we look forward to many of our services attaining an ‘outstanding’ rating. The Care Bill received Royal assent in May, giving parliamentary approval of the new Care Act and reforms to the NHS including GPs, commissioning, competition and the funding changes; this new act will bring significant changes for the care sector!

YourLife

In May, new schemes opened in Taunton and Potters Bar, and I visited four of YourLife services in Sussex. It was great to hear such positive feedback from people who have recently moved into the apartments and in all cases, excellent feedback on the quality of our staff.

Website

Over the last year we have been planning the renewal of our website to make it more user friendly and we are delighted to announce that it can be accessed via http://www.somersetcare.co.uk/

Please take a moment to have a look and please give us feedback, we welcome positive feedback as well as suggestions for any further improvements – do let us know your views!

Royal Visit

Greenhill House in Cheddar had a visit from HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO who opened both the new home and the apartments on 9th June. We were fortunate to have excellent weather, the Countess spent time talking to residents, staff and invited guests and she was very impressed with the new home.

Countess of Wessex

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alyson Martin MBE – Chief Executive

25
Jun
2014

Welcome to the new Somerset Care website

Welcome to the brand new Somerset Care website, our old site was a little out of date so we’ve developed this new one based on your feedback!

In our new site we’ve included lots of helpful tips and case studies, from choosing a care home, to the different types of support available and what it’s like to work in care. There are also lots of new areas for you to browse including a page on paying for care and support, our awards and accolades and details of our apartments and care suites for sale.

If you have a spare few moments we would love for you to browse the site and send us your thoughts. Click here for a direct link to our feedback form or click the pop up on the left of the homepage.

Thank you in advance and we hope that you’ll find everything you are looking for today!

11
Apr
2014

Tell your story with Paul Cullis

Here’s Paul Cullis with his Somerset Care story, Paul retired as Interim Assistant Director of Residential Services last month after almost 40 years of working for the company!

Paul Cullis

I commenced employment with Somerset County Council as a Trainee Residential Social Worker on 1st June 1974. The following year I joined the Social Services Relief Team and this gave me the opportunity of working in all the residential provisions, from day nurseries and children’s homes to care homes for older people. I stayed on the Relief Team for nearly fifteen years, relishing the variety and new challenges and always thought it was an excellent grounding for me in later life.

Following my time of the Relief Team, I took up post as Deputy Manager at Oak Trees and subsequently moved to Frith House and eventually became Manager at a time of major redevelopment, which proved an interesting and exciting experience. My next move brought me to Central Office as an Operations Manager and the opportunity to revisit many of the homes where I had worked years before on the Relief Team.

After almost forty years in the sector, I have seen many changes, I have seen enormous development of services and facilities which have improved beyond recognition. What hasn’t changed is the vast amount of dedicated skilled people, delivering fantastic care every day of the year.

I will miss my colleagues at Somerset Care; it is a wonderful and well respected company. I have many happy memories of service users over the years that I have had the priviledge to meet and play a part in their care.

I feel ready to move into the next stage of my life and I have a number of tasks and hobbies which I now hope I will have the time to enjoy.

From everyone at Somerset Care we wish Paul a very long and happy retirement!

25
Feb
2014

Be Healthy

We have been really busy developing our new ‘Be Healthy’ campaign for all staff. This exciting new initiative was launched to the Managers, with the first challenge, ‘Be the cracker not the pud’ Christmas pedometer challenge. 47 Managers across The Somerset Care Group took part in the challenge and between them took  6,565,832.02 steps which means they walked a total of 13,210 miles! Be Healthy Staff received a launch bag and were asked to complete a health survey to establish the full health extent of our workforce, ensuring that we can tailor our campaign to our staffs’ needs. Throughout the year the campaign will cover the following areas:

  • Healthy eating
  • Getting active
  • Health care
  • Emotional well-being

Within each area we hope to provide staff with access to information, advice and support, interactive challenges, competitions and many more exciting things!

12
Feb
2014

Not another care handbook

Managers across the care industry are really excited about a new book called ‘Not another care handbook: Pearls of wisdom for care managers’. The book features over a hundred key people in the care sector, including Somerset Care’s very own Sue Baverstock!

Sue Baverstock

The aim of the book is to inform care home managers on important issues affecting care homes and each chapter has been summarised into 10 key points. Edited by Dr Richard Hawkins, Editor-in-chief of Caring Times, the book features a foreword by Barbara Pointon, patron of Dementia UK and ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Sue Baverstock, Group Head of Human Resources and Training, wrote her chapter on ‘Recruiting the best staff’, the chapter gives a brief introduction and then 10 key points to consider including, ‘The importance of attitude and values’, ‘The resident’s perspective’, ‘Promoting care as a career’ and ‘What if you make a mistake?’.

The book features many other care experts such as Des Kelly, Executive Director of the National Care Forum and Kate Wakefield, Head of care provider engagement at PayingForCare.

If you would like more information on how to order the book visit www.careinfo.org

27
Jan
2014

The Big Interview – Activities

This month we took the time to get to know Jazmine Radford, the Activities Co-ordinator at Carrington House in Wincanton. Jazmine is 22 years old and has worked for Somerset Care for 2 years, starting her career as a Care Assistant and taking on the activities 6 months ago.

Jazmine Radford

What made you want to work in social care?

I cared for my Great Grandad for a year before he passed away, after this I felt working in care was the career for me.

Why do you think it’s important for care homes to offer a range of activities to their residents?

A lot of people think that care homes are full of residents sleeping in chairs all day, whereas this isn’t the case! The residents in our care homes do a wide variety of activities to suit their personalities. I strongly think that you’re never too old to participate!

What would you do in a typical day?

I start the day at 10.00 am, my first job is to hand out the newspapers and post to the residents, I also ask them what they would like for lunch and after that bring the tea trolley around and chat to everyone. At 11.00 am I start my first morning activity this could be anything from fun and games such as dominoes or flower arranging and crafts. When the residents start their lunch I plan the activities for the coming months, put together a newsletter for the home or check the stock in the residents’ shop. At 2.00 pm we get together for the afternoon activity, this could be opening the residents’ shop or holding our monthly café.

Do you have a particular activity, event or day that sticks in your mind?

I enjoy hosting the monthly café because lots of the residents get involved, I also enjoy organising trips out to places like the garden centre. This year I’m looking forward to organising a trip to Longleat for the residents, I think this trip will be good for reminiscence and trigger memories from their childhood.

Thank you to Jazmine for taking the time to share her experiences.

30
Dec
2013

Seasons Greetings from Alyson Martin

We are just on the cusp of completing our annual review which will be circulated early in the New Year so I will save my round up from across the business for the moment!

Alyson MartinHowever as 2013 closes and we approach 2014 it is a time to recognise that we have a had a busy year across all parts of the business. It is also a time to reflect on the important contribution that all staff have made over the last year. I have been visiting some of our services in the run up to Christmas and continue to be impressed with the quality of service from our staff and the good humour and laughter along the way. I was out on visits battling through the wind and rain thinking how challenging it can be just getting to work some days and at times like these especially so for our community teams having to battle through the elements to get between visits.

Maintaining the quality of our service is vital to the many customers who rely upon us, we now support nearly 5,000 people every day – so many people rely upon us providing consistently high quality and reliable services every day. It’s an amazing team effort, from carers, support teams, assessors, office staff and Managers everyone playing their part to ensure the whole service works smoothly.
Thank you for all your support and dedication throughout the year. I know many of you will be working over the Christmas and New Year period but hope that you also find some time to relax and enjoy the festive season.

From all the Directors and Central team – Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2014.

10
Oct
2013

Staff honoured at Somerset Care Awards 2013

Somerset Care held their annual awards ceremony on 26th September at the Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton.

Over 180 guests, including award winners and their families, attended the event at which staff were recognised for their long service and special achievements. In total the ceremony celebrated 655 years of long service, with one staff member celebrating 40 years. In addition to long service, presentations were made to staff members who had been nominated by their fellow colleagues for their special achievements, with an Overall Winner being announced in each category.

Attendees heard speeches from Alyson Martin, Chief Executive, Eoin Keogh, Director of Care Services, Susan Baverstock, Group Head of HR and Training and Chris Davies, Chairman.

Somerset Care Awards 2013

19
Sep
2013

Paying For Care


This blog was written by a member of staff from PayingForCare, a not-for-profit company designed to help individuals make more informed decisions about the arrangements and funding for their long-term care.

PayingForCare logo

“Recently I was invited by the marketing team of Somerset Care to give them a presentation about the issues that can surround people going into care and the funding of it.

This can be a daunting subject – from the many people I have spoken to, they often say it’s a bit like being dropped into the middle of a maze and having no directions! You can get little bits of information from so many sources, for example from your GP, family and friends as well as the Local Authority, but it can feel like you’re constantly running into dead ends and not getting the full picture.

Meeting the cost of residential or nursing care in old age is a growing issue for many people in the UK. As life expectancy continues to lengthen, more of us can expect to require some form of long-term care, either at home or in residential care.

Previous research has shown that 43% of people in residential care pay for their own care *.
Of those, the Local Government Information Unit estimates that around 20% will run out of money at some point in the future and fall back on the state. **This number is set to grow as the number of people aged over 100, who are the most likely to need some form of care, is predicted to increase a hundredfold to one million over the next 60 years.**

The costs can be daunting. While the state may help with some costs, eligibility is limited and many people find themselves over the threshold at which state support is given. Local authority help to pay for care fees is means tested so that, broadly, anyone with assets worth over £23,250* (£23,500 in Scotland and £22,500 in Wales),, including in many cases their home is expected to meet the cost of care in full.

In reality, care is usually only thought about at the point at which it is needed and, very often, it is the family of the person needing care who has to make all the necessary arrangements. Naturally, the key priority for them at this stage is to secure the best quality care available as soon as possible. Relatively few people consider the true cost of care over the longer term and how to pay for it. Quite often, it is once someone has been settled into their care home when there is a realisation of how quickly the costs of care can mount up over time.

Of course, getting the best quality of care for relatives will be the key focus, however, it is also imperative to ensure that it can be paid for, for as long as it is required, without potentially compromising on the quality of care in the future. In the absence of proper financial planning there is the risk that funds will run out and many people can find themselves falling back on the local authority for help. Yet, of the 53,000 people who currently pay for their residential care, a recent study found that only 7,000 are likely to have received appropriate financial advice on planning for care fees.***

The fact is, there is a lack of reliable and comprehensive information about care funding and advice. In particular, there is a chronic lack of awareness about the typical costs of care – which care costs individuals will be required to pay and how much the state will pick up, how long people might live and where to get the right advice.

At PayingForCare , we are a not for profit organisation established to address this information gap. We have a website at which people can find valuable information on all aspects of paying for care. It includes details of entitlements to state benefits, eligibility for local council support and appropriate options available to help fund care.

We also provide the facility to talk to specialist care fees advisers through an online chat service and obtain answers about any aspects of care relevant to your individual circumstances.

Most importantly, there is also the option to find a Specialist Care Fees Adviser in the local area to access in more detail the advice needed to be able to plan for long term care funding. To find out more visit www.payingforcare.org

* Laing & Buisson, Care of Elderly People UK Market Survey 2012/2013
** LGiU Independent Ageing 2013
*** Partnership data