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The changing cost of care
The second stage of what the government is calling the 'most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years' will come into place in April 2016 and will radically affect the cost of care within the UK. 
The Care Act cost cap 
The Care Act aims to address the issue of spiralling expenses for users and unpaid bills for care organisations by introducing a cost cap. This follows on from the first stage of reform of the Care Act which came into force in April 2015 and focused on the need for personalising care and promoting wellbeing. 
From April next year the cost cap for care will be set at £72,000 for people aged 65 and over, with any needed care expense above this covered by the local authority. People assessed as requiring care will be means tested to decide how much they can pay a care organisation before the local authority would need to step in. 
A bidding war 
The Care Act has recently been criticised in the media for potentially creating an 'eBay' style bidding war where care home organisations compete to give the cheapest prices in order to fill empty spaces. With this level of competition there is the fear that services will be negatively affected as organisations slash prices to gain contracts. But where would these cuts come from? The media has predicted that the standard of care would fall as organisations would not have the extra revenue needed to sustain standards. This is worrying news for those within the care system, and with a media spotlight already on the industry, any further failures would be a disaster for its already damaged reputation. 
Embracing change 
The majority of care home resident places are currently privately funded, and this trend would potentially continue. However, the care home industry needs to recognise that a proportion of their resident's care will be funded by their local authority and that monitoring payments and budgets will be vital in order to stay profitable and keep in control of their finances. With the changes being made via the Care Act, the sector needs to consider techniques and strategies that will help them fulfil the new management challenges. 
One way of dealing with the complex funding streams would be to implement a software system that would monitor and support financial analysis as well as wider management processes, ensuring financial stability. Current care home software available on the market will vastly improve back office management and enable managers to balance the payment schedules of their residents. This technology has the ability to manage funding sources, monitor payments, expenditure and also residents' personal budgets. 
Future predictions 
On paper the cost cap is a good idea to stop mounting costs, but with few people qualifying for local authority support and with many never reaching the cap and having to use their assets to pay, does it really make a major difference to the general public's care expense? Also, for those who do qualify for help, local authority charges will still be negotiated, it's difficult to know what impact this will have on care standards? 
We are unable to predict how care homes will ultimately be effected when the cost cap comes into place. However it is important for the industry to recognise that these changes are coming and to make sure they are prepared by embracing technology designed to meet these new requirements. 
To find out more about the Care Act and how your journey as a care provider or care service user will be effected please visit our website www.advancedcomputersoftware.com/careact

Dome skylight transforms care home
Dome skylight transforms care home
Since his success in using a Solardome skylight to improve quality of life for residents at a care home in Wales, architect Tim Worsfold has picked up more work in the healthcare sector. We spoke to him about the project at Brindaavan Care Home to find out exactly what he did and whether he would do it again… 
What was the care home like before the work? 
When the owner bought the care home in 2014 he was presented with a series of dayrooms, and the problem he had was that the staff were dotted around all over the place. 
But the main area requiring development was an enclosed courtyard with the building running round it on three sides and a leaking glass conservatory. 
What was the owner's vision? 
The owner wanted to bring together the dayrooms by building a roof over the whole of the courtyard, which then produced a room of about 106 square metres.  
But being enclosed, he needed to bring in more natural light into the middle of this area. After some research he found Solardome Industries and in particular their skylights.  
How has the skylight dome helped you deliver the project? 
A six-metre diameter skylight seemed huge, but now the work is done the owner has a large flat roof with a geodesic glass dome right in the middle of it, and when the sun shines it's like being outside.  
Add to that the actuators for venting and underfloor heating, and the residents are in the perfect constant environment. 
How important do you think access to natural light is for health and wellbeing? 
Incredibly important, it's paramount. I'm sure that if anybody wanted to go and see the dome for themselves the care home would be more than happy to show them around. 
What other benefits has the dome brought? 
The dome does two things. Firstly it lights up at night because of the ambient light and also a coloured light ring, which we put in to run right around the circumference of the dome. That light ring actually changes colour so the residents can enjoy the stimulation of the shifting colours, which is therapeutic and calming.  
The second thing it does is work as a brand recognition tool. When it was first installed they had an audience outside. People stopped in the street to admire it.  
When anybody locally asks which one the Brindaavan Care Home is, they are told: 'It's the one with the coloured dome.' So it has created quite a good marketing avenue for the owner who can now say, as far as I'm aware, it's always full with a waiting list. 
What are the other economic benefits of the building work? 
The local authority is delighted, and is actually putting more money into the home and financing more training for staff because it is exactly the kind of unit that is needed in the borough. 
What has been the reaction from staff? 
They love it. They think it's wonderful. 
They like the owner. He puts money into it, he listens to what they say, and it's all working well.  
One piece of feedback was: 'We think it's fab.'  
As an architect who didn't dream up the idea of the dome, I'm pleasantly surprised that it has turned out even better than anyone could have hoped for, and of course the client is delighted. 
Would you use Solardome Industries again? 
Since completing this project I've gone on to get more healthcare work, so it's been very good for me. If a client rang up and wanted a skylight I would be more than happy to recommend Solardome. I did like working with them.  
I got on well with everybody and I knew where they were coming from. They were receptive to changes, so yes, I would do it again. 
Enquiries: Telephone 023 8066 7890, email sales@solardome.co.uk or visit www.solardome.co.uk

Dementia Awareness Week 2015
To mark Dementia Awareness Week ( May 18-24), Dine Contract Catering nutritionist Roz Witney shares her advice for catering for residents with this complex condition.  
'Good nutritional intake is a major contribution to maintaining health and wellbeing for residents with dementia, especially as under-nutrition can exacerbate dementia. However, as a loss of taste and smell, coupled with a general apathy for food, often goes hand in hand with dementia, it can be very difficult for carers to encourage residents to eat in the first place. 
'With this in mind, here are my top tips on how to help residents with dementia get the nutrition they need to remain as healthy as possible.' 
Embrace snack times  
Limiting eating occasions to a pattern of set mealtimes at breakfast, lunch and dinner isn't appropriate for dementia sufferers, who often need to eat at more regular intervals. Offering snacks in between meals will help maintain a steady intake of energy and accommodate for fluctuations in appetite throughout the day, as low blood sugar levels can intensify the condition (as this often means less glucose reaches the brain). 
Make the most of desserts 
This is often the most popular course for those with dementia, so it's a good chance to help them take on vitamins and minerals that may be missing from their diet. Try serving options that have been fortified with additional nutrients. 
For example, a sticky toffee pudding made with wholemeal flour and dates, served with custard, not only provides vital nutrients, but also fibre to keep bowels healthy plus iron for immune and cognitive function as well as an array of micronutrients to protect against further neurodegeneration. 
Include smoother options 
Milkshakes, smoothies and soups can prove more appealing for those with smaller appetites and can be fortified easily.  
For instance, blending a banana with yoghurt, as well as whole milk, ground almonds and a small scoop of ice cream provides around 400 calories, as well as essential fatty acids, protein, calcium, folate and fibre. 
Quinoa (a supernutritional seed that looks and tastes like a soft rice grain) has a perfect protein profile and is very easily metabolised, making it an ideal addition to soups. 
Use visual aids 
Giving residents with dementia a picture menu rather than asking them to recognise meals from a written description will go a long way in improving nutrition. Presenting them with appetising pictures of nicely presented dishes is a useful way to encourage them to eat. 
Consider coconut oil 
Among the latest theories as to the causes of dementia has described Alzheimer's (the most common form of the condition) as 'diabetes of the brain' and researchers are currently looking at the influence of a certain type of fat (medium chain triglycerides) that can act as fuel for brain cells in the absence of glucose.  
Coconut oil is a rich source of this kind of fat and makes an excellent alternative to cooking oil as it is stable at high temperatures. Plus, we've found that its great taste makes it an ideal replacement to butter or margarine when making cakes or biscuits. 
For further information visit www.dine-contract-catering.com or call 01925 282 330.

Apetito brings fifties fun to residents
Food provider apetito is helping care homes across the country host 1950s-style parties, as part of a wide range of activities to raise awareness of dementia and its consequences as this year's Dementia Awareness Week (17th-23rd May) approaches. 
An opportunity to help spark nostalgic memories from residents' youth, the parties will include finger food options such as chicken goujons and apetito's new chocolate èclairs - which are particularly suitable for those with dementia - as well as decorations and popular music from the decade. apetito has also created posters and invitations that homes can use to encourage the close friends and family of residents to join the celebrations. 
As well as supporting the Alzheimer's Society as its first charity of the year, apetito's work to raise awareness and funds for dementia-related causes in 2015 includes providing food and marshals at a local charity walk organised by Alzheimer's Support, a charity based close to its headquarters in Trowbridge on May 24. A recent car boot sale organised by apetito raised over £2,000 for the cause. 
A strong advocate for high quality care for those with dementia, apetito is also supporting the Dementia Care Matters' 'S Factor' events across the country this year. The company is encouraging and helping colleagues to train to become Dementia Friends, a nationwide network supported by the Government to help those living with dementia in the community. 
'The 1950's style parties during Dementia Awareness Week are a chance for care homes and residents to have fun, while emphasising the importance of social interaction for those with dementia,' said Ellen Brown, divisional manager, Care Homes at apetito.  
'We see the harsh reality of dementia on a daily basis and our work throughout the year as advocates of good quality care for people living with the condition - including the importance of good nutrition in supporting their health and wellbeing - is a big focus of what we do.'

Castleoak wins a £15m worth of design contracts - Commerce
CASTLEOAK has won two design and build contracts worth £15m for new customer Retirement Villages Group Ltd.  
Across two major developments, Castleoak will build 68 one-and two-bed retirement apartments for sale plus a new village centre. 
The first contract win is to deliver 49 retirement living apartments, spread across four separate buildings to form phase two of Retirement Villages' award-winning Charters Village in East Grinstead, West Sussex. 
The second contract is at Elmbridge Village, Surrey, where Castleoak will deliver retirement living apartments and a new village centre.  
The distinctive 1,400sqm village centre will include an auditorium, restaurant, library, bar and doctor's surgery. Above, Castleoak will build 18 one-and two-bed apartments for sale. 
Construction of both retirement village developments will complete in early 2016.

Home launches monthly dementia support group
A BENWELL care home is launching a specialist support group for carers and families in the local community who are faced with caring for loved ones with dementia. 
Allan Court, which is part of Bondcare Shaftesbury, will hold a dementia support group on the last Thursday of each month, which is open to anyone who is affected by dementia care. 
The group will offer expert guidance by trained professionals for individuals caring for loved ones with the condition and provide the opportunity for people in the community who are going through similar situations to support and talk to each other, share their stories and advise on best practice.

Sheffcare wins funding for major European research project
SHEFFCARE, the not for profit organisation that operates a chain of 11 residential care homes across Sheffield, is taking part in a major European research programme. 
Sheffcare and the University of Sheffield have been successful in securing funding for research into how people with dementia could be supported with technology. 
Sheffcare has been awarded a grant of 180,000 which will released over a three-year period as the research project continues.

Residents welcome unusual creatures to home
Residents welcome unusual creatures to home
RESIDENTS at Wealstone care home near Chester, put I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! contestants to shame after welcoming an exotic horde of unusual creatures and creepy crawlies to their living room for the day. 
A Madagascar-hissing cockroach, giant African land snail and six-foot long corn snake were particular favourites among the residents and their families, who enjoyed getting up close and personal with the unusual guests.  
The event was organised by staff at the CLS-run home as part of an animal therapy session delivered by the animal handling organisation, ZooLab.  
As well as handling the different creatures, residents enjoyed chatting with the ZooLab representatives, who kept them entertained with plenty of fun animal trivia and helped describe each species' natural habitat. 
Resident Maureen Ribchester is pictured admiring two gerbils in the company of her son Stuart.

Talented resident artist shares works of art
Talented resident artist shares works of art
ARTIST Norman Ward shared his story with fellow residents at Margaret Fisher House in Paddock Wood. 
Adorned with pots of brushes and paintings of everything from tigers and forests to portraits of his late wife and Princess Diana, Norman's room is a clear reflection of how passionate he is about his art. 
'I paint every day and I'd paint all day if I could,' he said. 'I've loved it for as long as I can remember, I was utterly fascinated by what could be created with a pencil. I can still recall my school days; I'd be so excited for playtime because we could wander off to the marshes with a pencil and paper.' 
Norman, who moved to Margaret Fisher House in January, paints a wide variety of subjects, but animals and portraits are firm favourites.

Michelle achieves prestigious industry qualification
Michelle achieves prestigious industry qualification
AN EXPERIENCED carer at Debaliol Nursing Home in Newbiggin by the Sea is celebrating after achieving a prestigious industry qualification. 
Michelle Moss, who has been a carer at the Care Living owned facility for 12 years, achieved an NVQ Level three in care and is now training as a senior carer at the home. 
She has also completed competencies in venepuncture and clinical observations, and is currently undergoing training in safe handling of medicines.

DC Care sell Telford home
DC Care sell Telford home
DC Care has completed the sale of a residential care home in Telford, Shropshire.  
Registered for 33 the home provides care across a spectrum of specialist care needs. It was owned privately and has now been sold to an experienced operator, who will be adding the home to their existing portfolio of high quality and profitable care businesses. 
Andy Sandel, specialist business appraiser, and Clare Jones, senior sales negotiator at DC Care, managed the transaction for the vendor who, after owning the home for over 30 years, plans to retire.

Paula appointed care group's CEO
Paula appointed care group's CEO
The next few months will see a change to Brunelcare's executive team with the appointment of Paula Kennedy as its new chief executive officer. She has had a successful career in the social housing and care sectors, and is currently the managing director of Herefordshire Housing. Brunelcare's current CEO Helen Joy is retiring and steps down from her role at the end of June after 10 successful years leading the organisation. Paula will be supported by a strong senior management team and board of trustees.

JOHN Coleman has been appointed chairman of Barchester Healthcare, which has more than 200 homes and hospitals across the UK.
John has 14 years of experience as a non-executive director on the boards of various companies in different sectors, including builders' merchants, travel/leisure and retail. 
As well as his experience as a non-executive director, he worked as CEO of House of Fraser between 1996 and 2006, as CEO of Texas Homecare at Ladbrokes between 1993 and 1995 and MD of various divisions of The Burton Group between 1985 and 1993.

Solihull home hosts art exhibition
Solihull home hosts art exhibition
The Royal Star & Garter Home in Solihull held an art exhibition featuring the work of talented artist and resident Alec Shaw. Alec lives with dementia at the home, which cares for disabled veterans. Macelieta Lawan, a lead health care assistant at the home, knows Alec's work and thought it would be a nice idea to showcase his art in a proper exhibition. Staff invited friends, family and guest-of-honour, his wife, Iris, to the official opening of the exhibition. She said: 'Alec was in his element, shaking people's hands, thanking them for coming, talking about his artwork. It really was wonderful to see. Alec thoroughly enjoyed the day.' 
Alec is pictured with his daughter Jane Berry and wife Iris.

Dorset care home hosts 'magical' wedding blessing
HISTORY was made when a Dorset care home hosted a 'magical' wedding blessing. 
A dining room at Colten Care's Fernhill home in Longham was decked out in flowers for the special occasion. 
Newlyweds Lauren and Matthew Dearsley decided to bring their celebrations to the dementia care home so that resident Betty Aldred could take part. 
Betty is Lauren's grandmother but was unable to attend the actual wedding ceremony in Essex.  
Friends and family were invited to the blessing, together with members of the United Church Ferndown and Fernhill residents. The blessing was conducted by the Reverend Bob Almond. 
Also present at the ceremony was Betty's husband Fred, who is a resident at Colten Care's Kingfishers residential and nursing care home in New Milton, Hampshire.

Roger appointed to new assisted living director position
Roger appointed to new assisted living director position
CASTLEOAK has appointed Roger Davies to the new position of assisted living director to expand its existing offering of development solutions for independent and assisted living, including extra care. 
Roger is the former chief executive of Methodist Homes. The new part-time role will involve assisting and advising Castleoak and its customers, as required, on strategy, business models and solutions.  
Roger will also help Castleoak secure new funding partnerships and will be regularly involved in the assessment of development opportunities.

Howden Strengthens Its Care Proposition With The Acquisition Of Care Home Insurance Services And Primecare
Howden Strengthens Its Care Proposition With The Acquisition Of Care Home Insurance Services And Primecare
Howden has today announced the acquisition of Brighton-based Care Home Insurance Services (CHIS) and PrimeCare, both market-leading brands of PrimeCare Insurance Services Limited. The broker is a well-known specialist in the provision of insurance to the care sector. This acquisition brings further strength to Howden's existing care team, which offers the full range of expertise across the entire sector. 
PrimeCare is led by David Waters, a widely recognised industry expert in the care insurance sector. Established by David in 1997, PrimeCare specialises in providing insurance and risk management services to the care sector, with 3,000 care home, domiciliary care and similar care providers on their books, it is also the preferred insurance partner to many large care associations. 
Howden CEO Adrian Colosso commented: 'The UK care sector poses many challenges for clients operating within it. We are growing our capability across the entire sector, bringing broader expertise, enhanced risk management capabilities, scale and leverage to our combined existing and future clients, helping them to manage the multitude of risks they face, whether they run a care home, a domiciliary care agency, or any other type of care business.' He continued 'CHIS and PrimeCare have an enviable reputation within the sector and they are a welcome addition to Howden as we aim to be the broker of choice for care providers.' 
David Waters commented 'The success that we have achieved over the past 18 years has centred on the team's knowledge, professionalism and personal approach; it was vital that in joining another broker we didn't lose any of that. Howden's values and approach are closely aligned to ours and I'm excited to be part of such a dynamic and client-focused group.  
With access to Howden's distribution network and expertise in other product lines, we can enhance our offering to existing clients whilst having the scale to further build our client base. 
We will jointly be able to enhance and develop our existing insurance markets as well as seeking out new opportunities for the benefit of all our clients.' 
David's team will join Susan Lee, James Ramira and John Whittlestone who joined Howden in September last year to establish Howden Care. Susan will continue in her position as Managing Director of Howden Care, with David as Chairman.

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