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Caring UK is the number one magazine for managers in the elderly care sector. 
 
Our editorial pages feature top columnists, parliamentary and legal updates, news, people stories, event and exhibition previews, conference coverage, diary dates and business and property news. 
 
The magazine goes directly to the people with buying power - the budget-holders and decision-makers - which is why it is so effective at delivering product and service information to the right people.
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Top News Story From Caring UK
How important is interior design to care homes and what things should decision makers consider when choosing a supplier?
September 2014 | How important is interior design to care homes and what things should decision makers consider when choosing a supplier?
So you've done your homework and chosen a reputable architect and main contractor with specialisms in healthcare design and build; don't now risk covering up their great work with interior design and fit-out that isn't of the highest standard and of course fit-for-purpose. 
Interior design is the icing that covers the building beneath; prospective residents and their families are not likely to walk in to your care home and say 'I love the design and build of this place', but they can fall in love with the way your interior looks and feels. Evidence shows that operators who get their interiors right achieve both higher occupancy levels and higher fees so it makes sound commercial sense to allocate a realistic budget for interior design and FF&E. 
 
Getting it right isn't just about how an interior looks. How it smells and sounds is hugely important too, and often overlooked. If unsuitable carpets and soft furnishings are chosen they will be virtually impossible to clean effectively and unpleasant smells will soon surface. Acoustics need to be soft in homes where residents include dementia and mental illness sufferers who often find loud and tinny environments irritating and unsettling. 
 
Strive to achieve a beautiful, fresh, calming environment which lasts and where residents feel settled and happy. 
 
There are hundreds of contract interior design firms out there but only a few who truly specialise in healthcare. Your care home may have specific requirements like Dementia Design or be a Challenging Behaviour environment and all require a specialist approach by experienced designers. 
 
Has the firm won awards for their work? Institutions like Pinders have annual Design Awards which are regarded by many as the BAFTA's of care home design and so are a real stamp of approval which can be relied on. 
 
Avoid companies who only want to sell from their own range, like furniture manufacturers who offer a design service. For a truly individual interior, unique to your care home, choose a supplier which has access to the whole market. 
 
The devil's in the detail! If at all possible avoid tendering for the interior design and FF&E. Here's an example of why: You can buy a pillow for a pound, but you wouldn't want to sleep on it. Tendering promotes companies who are happy to sneak in a pound pillow but this is an item which has a profound effect on the comfort of your residents and luxury pillows can be supplied for not a great deal more. In the scheme of things, if you're spending several million building a care home, a few hundred pounds extra on the things which mean so much is money well spent. 
 
A really good interior design and FF&E supplier will ensure that your budget is spent proportionately on the things which really matter - quality towels is another good example of something that can bring daily pleasure to a resident. 
 
A good designer will also be very happy to work closely with you so if you enjoy interior design yourself or have strong ideas about the look you're trying to achieve, don't be afraid to ask to be involved. 
 
There is a temptation to take on the design and final fit-out yourself but this is sometimes false economy when your time and your staffs' time would be best spent recruiting or selling rather than procuring 1000's of items in the weeks leading up to opening. Not to mention the huge task of installing all the FF&E which a reputable healthcare Interior Design firm will perform with military precision. If you're building a 60 bed care home expect it to take the experts 5 working days and perhaps 3 times longer if you attempt it yourself. 
 
If you're planning to refurbish your care home there are other important considerations like how to work around residents and knowing where to find contractors who are used to working in specialists environments like care homes. A specialist Interior Design firm will have done hundreds of care home refurbishment projects so it's worth asking them before considering taking it on yourself. 
 
Achieving the highest standard of design and fit is fundamental to the quality of care which is ultimately delivered and choosing the right supplier can make all the difference to the success of your project and your business. 
 
Catalyst are an award winning interior design and fit-out company with many years experience in the care sector. More specialist advice is available from them by calling 0151 348 6640 or email ed.middleton@catalyst-support.co.uk
More News From Caring UK
September 2014 | Lynx Purchasing offers invoice audit at Caring UK Care Providers Conference
Buying specialist Lynx Purchasing is offering visitors to the Caring UK Care Providers Conferences a free invoice audit to assess the potential for major savings on key products and services.  
Care Home operators who leave copies of five or more recent invoices with the specialist Lynx buying team at the conferences in Dudley and Leeds will be contacted afterwards with the results of their tailored confidential audit. 
During the conferences, Lynx will have specialists on hand to discuss the full range of buying challenges faced by care providers. 
These include managing food costs and margins while maintaining standards for residents, as well as sourcing non-food products such as cleaning & hygiene ranges at the best prices without compromising on quality. 
John Pinder, managing director of Lynx Purchasing, said: 'The simplest way for us to assess the level of savings we can offer care homes is to check their current invoices against the exclusive prices we negotiate with leading industry suppliers. 
'We're asking visitors to bring along copies of recent invoices for any area of their business, in complete confidence. From fresh meat and fish to dry goods, cleaning & hygiene, and even utilities and telecoms, we can save costs for almost every care home, and we look forward to meeting potential new customers at the show.' 
The Caring UK Care Providers Conferences take place in Dudley on September 9 and Leeds on December 10. 
Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2,000 businesses across the hospitality and healthcare sectors, offering access to the best prices in the market, across a wide range of products and services, with no fees or contracts. Lynx customers also benefit from detailed market insight, enabling them to plan more effectively.
Speakers revealed for regional conferences
September 2014 | Speakers revealed for regional conferences
THE stellar line-up of speakers has been revealed for Caring UK's annual regional conferences. 
This year's events, which have been sponsored by NatWest, have the title Elderly Care: Positive Choices, and, following the recent successful events in Weston-super-Mare and Torquay, they move north to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley and Leeds United FC's Elland Road stadium on September 9 and 10 respectively. 
Speakers confirmed include Martin Green from Care England, Sheila Scott from the NCA and Ben Atkinson-Willes, product designer and founder of Active Minds. 
They will be joined by Guy Smallman from Coventry University and representatives from the CQC, Skills for Care and sponsor NatWest. Further names will be added in due course. 
Neil Garton, head of healthcare for NatWest, said: 'NatWest are delighted to sponsor the 2014 Caring UK conference series. Care homes are a key part of the bank's focus within the healthcare sector. 
'Our dedicated healthcare relationship managers are externally accredited by the chartered banker and concentrate solely on the sector. This means that they are experienced in the sector and can understand and deal with the opportunities and challenges that owners face on a day to day basis. 
'We set out to understand the ambitions of the care home operators, whether that be to improve performance, extend their home or for example grow their business by acquiring additional homes.  
'We then look to offer business expertise towards achieving those ambitions.' 
Running alongside all of the conferences will be an extensive exhibition, which will showcase all the latest products and technology for your care home. 
'Our first two conferences were a massive hit,' said group production editor Dominic Musgrave, who will chair the events. 'Since we started taking our events across the country they have gone from strength to strength, as can be shown by the calibre of speakers we have attracted for these conferences. 
'I am sure these events will be as successful as those that have gone before, and would urge any care home operators in the area to attend to listen to these distinguished speakers.'
Finding the right people for your business is no easy task
September 2014 | Finding the right people for your business is no easy task
ATTRACT the right people to work in your business and you can increase profits and grow your business. However, it's not always easy and one of the most overlooked aspects of recruiting high performers is retention and the acknowledgement that recruitment is only one piece of the jigsaw. 
Adopting a clear five stage process to your recruitment strategy is recommended.  
Focus should be on attracting and recruiting individuals whilst nurturing and guiding them through their careers with you. 
 
1. Find 
The job market is fierce and finding a genuine high performer for your business requires sustained effort, tenacity and patience. It's crucial you find the right recruitment partner for your organisation to significantly expand the size of your prospective candidate pool.  
 
2. Attract 
Develop a reputation for being a good employer. A workplace where people choose to work, feel a sense of personal achievement, satisfaction, individual purpose and security will attract high calibre employees to it. Be clear about your vision, the challenges the new employee needs to meet and how they can be successful in your organisation. 
 
3. Recruit 
Once you have attracted the high performers you have to fully assess their suitability for your organisation, however, this process should be two way. Remember, you are being assessed as a suitable employer as much as you are assessing the candidate's ability to do the job well.  
 
4. On board 
The first 3-6 months of a candidates' employment are crucial to ensuring your employee is happy, engaged and productive in your business. Having a structured on boarding programme can lead to your new employee assimilating quickly and doing the job at the expected level in a timely fashion. 
 
5.Retain 
Ask yourself the question 'why would a talented person want to work here?' Ensure you have a formula in place to make your organisation more attractive to talented people. Providing your employees with exciting work, growth, development, wealth and reward are some points to consider. 
 
Andrew Dean, care director at Prospect Health, is a leading expert in recruitment services for the sector.
Gloria visits Isleworth care home
September 2014 | Gloria visits Isleworth care home
GLORIA Hunniford, ambassador of National Care Home Open Day, visited Barchester's Atfield House in Isleworth to get the day's celebrations in full swing. 
Gloria signed the visitors' book before heading to the World Cup themed lounge where a football quiz was underway. 
As part of National Care Home Open Day, care homes around the country took part in a Mexican care wave. As the BBQ was lit and everyone headed out to enjoy the summer sunshine, Gloria kicked off the garden party with a care wave.
Property News From Caring UK
Bondcare invests in North East care homes
September 2014 | Bondcare invests in North East care homes
BONDCARE is investing more than £1m in major refurbishments at four of its North East care homes. 
Allan Court in Benwell, Newcastle; Debaliol Care Home in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland; Donwell House Care Home & Day Centre in Washington and Redworth House in Shildon, Co. Durham, will all benefit from the investment. 
Allan Court will undergo a full refurbishment of its lower ground floor to create a seven-bed learning disability unit. The refurbishment will include a new heating system, new lounge, kitchen and diner and a full re-fit and redecoration of the home's bedrooms.  
Debaliol will also have a new heating system installed and its public areas and some bedrooms refurbished.  
Donwell House will have a new heating system fitted, some of its bedrooms refurbished and improvements made to the car park and the home's gardens. And Redworth House will benefit from general improvements to the public areas in the homes, including new carpets throughout.  
Chris Denton, manager at Allan Court, is pictured with resident Annie Hunter and Steve Massey, north east regional manager of Bondcare, choosing materials.
Loan facilitates home's £1.1m expansion
September 2014 | Loan facilitates home's £1.1m expansion
Barclays has provided funding to support Peverel Court Ltd's expansion plans at Bartlett's Residential Care Home The loan has helped facilitate a £1.1m expansion project and complete the first phase of a new 14-bed extension at the facility in the Buckinghamshire village of Stone, a short distance from Thame. Bartlett's Residential Care Home, which is owned and traded by Peverel Court Limited, is a Victorian country house built in 1856 and offers residents around the clock personal care including those with the early onset of dementia. The newly completed extension will allow the care home to increase the number of residents to 38 and will create eight new jobs to take the staff teams to 38. 
Barclays relationship director Neil Chandler is pictured with Peverel Court managing director Anil Dhanani.
Residents and supporters celebrate the opening of new retirement development
September 2014 | Residents and supporters celebrate the opening of new retirement development
A NEW retirement living development has been officially opened in Market Harborough by Methodist Homes. 
Rev Alison Tomlin, who lives in the town, cut the ribbon of Welland Place, one of the newest services from MHA. 
Welland Place has 100 one and two bedroom apartments for people over 60, with individualised care and on site support available 24 hours a day and options for sale, rent or shared ownership. Facilities for residents include a gym, spa, swimming pool and landscaped gardens. 
Residents and local supporters were welcomed by MHA Board Member Norman Mann, followed by a thanksgiving service with contributions from residents and the local Methodist Church.  
Manager Richard Haddon said: "We offer privacy and independence with total peace of mind, the best of both worlds, in a community of like-minded friends and neighbours. Several people have already become firm friends and the new community is growing and evolving all the time." 
MHA also offers residential and dementia care at Aigburth care home in Oadby, Leicester.
September 2014 | Home approved despite residents' opposition
PLANS for a new 44-bed care home in a Suffolk town have been approved despite vociferous opposition from local residents. 
Tanner & Tilley Town Planning and Development Consultants were successful in obtaining planning consent for Angel Care to construct the facility after a more ambitious scheme was rejected on appeal in January 2012. 
Angel Care's Sandip Ruparelia said: 'This approval means this scheme can now go ahead, enabling much needed extra care accommodation to be provided for the residents of Woodbridge.' 
Tanner & Tilley operations director John Montgomery told the Development Control Sub-Committee the new application fully addressed the appeal inspector's concerns regarding effect on the amenities of surrounding properties and, in particular, those in Godfreys Wood to the rear.   
The committee heard from local residents who opposed the scheme before granting planning permission, but only on the chairperson's casting vote.
September 2014 | Karim adds Valley Lodge to his portfolio
HEALTHCARE operator Karim Rajan has completed the acquisition of Valley Lodge care home in Chandlers Ford thanks to loan facilities from The Royal Bank of Scotland 
He plans to increase the facilities at the 30-bed specialist dementia facility by extending the existing property as well as undertaking a full refurbishment which will provide a better living environment for its current residents.  
The work on the extension, which will take the registration up to 43, is expected to commence in September and will be carried out sensitively to ensure there is as little disruption as possible. 
Other homes in Karim's portfolio include Grasmere Nursing Home in Worthing, West Sussex and Shangria-la Care Home in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire.