Care2 February


One of the biggest headaches in the care industry, especially care homes which cater for those with complex needs and challenging behaviour, has been the high turnover of furniture which they have to contend with. A lot of ‘care furniture’ either doesn’t look nice, being too clinical or old-fashioned in a modern care setting, or isn’t designed with the challenges of the care industry in mind.

But now a company, based in Bury, Greater Manchester, is changing that.

After 15 years in the furniture and interiors industry, Danny Healey, of Den Living, saw a gap in the market for a highly functioning, aesthetically pleasing chair that ticked all the boxes for the care industry, bringing to the market the ‘Jigsaw Chair’.



The use of robots in social care is controversial.

With a shortfall of care workers, a lack of investment in services and a growing antipathy to immigrant workers, one might think we’d look positively on the potential for robots to fill ‘the care gap’.

But, there’s a lot of suspicion. Are they just a tool to save costs and reduce headcount? Don’t our older and more vulnerable citizens deserve human contact and care? Is the rise of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning part of some Orwellian system of monitoring and control?

Before we get too animated about the ethical, legal, and regulatory issues, it would be worth clarifying that it is still early days.

Many of the robotic devices being developed for social care are still at the conceptual or design phase and, currently, there are technical limitations to the tasks that they can undertake.

Furthermore, many projects have fairly limited aims i.e. to provide social and cognitive assistance to clients. However, in Japan – which appears to be leading the developmental field – there are robots can lift clients and help them into wheelchairs and help to dress people.

Dr Chris Papadopoulos is a whole lot more positive about the future role of robotics in care, and believes their real strength lies in augmenting existing care.

He’s involved in the CARESSES project which is funded by the EU and the Japanese government (

These robots will remind clients to follow the therapy prescribed to them, encourage them to have an active lifestyle, help them to stay in touch with family and friends, suggest appropriate clothing for specific occasions and remind them about upcoming birthdays or religious holidays.

But, more significantly, the robots will learn from their interactions with clients and take into account their cultural identity and individual characteristics.

The hope is that through the interactions the robots will promote independent living and quality of life. This could be really important for people with dementia in care settings, where agitation could be reduced through culturally-appropriate care support.

More research is needed.

On the one hand, some perceive robots as a pipe dream that is unlikely to fill gaps in our existing social care system for many years to come; on the other, unions believe they could be used as a ‘sticking plaster’ for a much bigger problem – the structure and funding of our social care sector.

We’re still waiting for the evidence that shows they can be a positive addition to the caring framework.


Attend the Residential and Home Care Show 2020 on 24 June at 11.35am to hear Professor Luc De Witte, Chair in Health Services Research, University of Sheffield, and Dr Chris Papadopoulos, principal lecturer in public health at the University of Bedfordshire, discuss the future of robotics in social care


As people become more and more aware of shortcomings within the care sector, the Care Campaign for the Vulnerable’s aim to get safety monitoring made mandatory is gaining strength. In this article, Claire Feldkamp from Almas Industries, presents the case for safety monitoring.

With an aging population, the decay of the traditional family unit and an NHS which is struggling to cope, the provision of care is making the headlines more than ever before. As supporters of Care Campaign for the Vulnerable, we understand that abuse happens, and that it is always deeply saddening when it does, but we also know that harnessing modern technology, along with a commitment to operating with transparency and openness, can help to prevent abuse, accidents and other issues from happening.

What many people do not know about safety monitoring, is that rather than a means of spying on staff or residents, it is a powerful tool that can help care home managers respond to the challenges of day-to-day care. Shedfield Lodge – also supporters of the CCFTV - have spoken many times about the positive effects of safety monitoring. Their proprietor, Andrew Geach, said that his ten years in the Police Service is what initially inspired him to seek out safety monitoring to help prevent and monitor incidents such as falls. Since installing a complete system in 2012 Shedfield Lodge has been able to access factual evidence of incidents when needed. This has fed back directly into their staff training, meaning that staff are more fully aware of issues, and when something such as a fall occurs, staff are able to respond much more quickly.

Despite some resistance from the CQC during an inspection, Andrew stood his ground on the installation of cameras in communal areas, exits and outside areas. They now have 21 cameras which Andrew says ‘they could not be without’. On numerous occasions the footage from the monitoring has proved invaluable:

  • One occasion a resident was seen on the floor picking up crumbs having put themselves on the floor. As soon as a staff member approached they lay down. Normally an ambulance would have been called but the footage from the cameras clearly showed that it was not needed. This incident was dealt with in house saving time, money and stress.
  • On another occasion, a resident was found on the stairs in a seated position. The family were informed and the next day the resident stated to them that he was pushed down the stairs. Footage from the cameras revealed that he had lost this footing and fell. In this case the footage immediately resolved any potential issues with the family and safeguarding.

Other benefits of safety monitoring include remote access, removing the potential for accidents by highlighting issues with the layout of a home and reducing the number of times an ambulance needs to be called for. Almas Industries is committed to aiding care homes to become more transparent, open and flexible in their day to day running. Safety monitoring is one of the keys to this. Let’s all start to embrace what modern technology has to offer – after all, one day we will be old and may need that care ourselves.


Boo k your free security audit with Almas Industries by calling us on 0333 567 6677. New customers who purchase our Optima Biometric Access Control system will get a free biometric time and attendance module just by mentioning Care2 magazine when they speak to us! Find out more at


Care home management software provider CoolCare has created a tool to help empower care home staff over their working lives. 

The new software features of a staff portal and an SMS messaging service will help care homes communicate more easily with their staff.  The additions to CoolCare’s innovative software are recognition of an increasing need in the care sector to communicate with staff instantly to safely staff homes, improve the efficiency of hours management and aid retention.  

Following the release, staff from care homes using CoolCare have their own login, allowing them to access and update important information about their working lives.  Staff will be able to see a calendar view of their shifts, holiday, training and absence.   It also allows them to manage their hours, see what shifts they are planned to work and giving them the option to take on extra shifts.

CoolCare Managing Director, Fiona Hale, said:

“Allowing staff to manage their holidays, and see their hours at any time on their own devices, is a fabulous empowerment tool. 

It also reduces administration time taken managing holiday requests and answering pay queries.   The Manager in one of our pilot homes told me that prior to using our staff portal, he’d have a queue of people waiting outside his office every morning to talk about their hours.  Now, he barely gets any queries.  In just a couple of months of usage, it has revolutionised his working day, giving him more time to spend with his residents and running his business.”

As filling shifts is a problem that all homes face, automatically making shifts available for staff to offer to cover through the CoolCare staff portal is quick-fire way of communicating and meeting staffing needs.  It gives future foresight to staff members who may be looking to pick up extra shifts, without the home having to remember to print out and share the required cover.   For the home, this gives clarity on which shifts may prove problematic to fill, so they can dedicate their focus to the higher risk cover requirements to prevent the need to resort to agency. 

The new SMS messaging features allows CoolCare’s customers to send custom messages to one or multiple staff members. Working alongside the staff portal, the home can also proactively send SMS requests to cover a shift directly from the rota. 


Over the years, a number of reported cases of abuse in care homes have been exposed by secret filming – either by family members or journalists.

It has led to calls for better supervision of practices within care homes, including the compulsory use of CCTV.

Jayne Connery founded Care Campaign for the Vulnerable (CCTV) more than five years ago following her mother’s own experiences in the care system, and has garnered powerful support for her cause.

She wants CCTV to be mandatory across the care sector, particularly in settings involving dementia clients. She believes it’s an effective way of gathering evidence against negligent staff and ensuring that care workers are not falsely accused.

Furthermore, the presence of CCTV could act as a deterrent to abuse, as studies have shown it to do in some other environments.

The campaign has garnered a lot of support, particularly from the former Attorney General and MP Dominic Grieve and even the current Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

But, as distressing as these cases have been, there is strong resistance from within the sector to the use of video monitoring.

Many believe making the use of CCTV compulsory is a red herring. The debate about cameras distracts everyone from considering the real problem – the issue of quality of care, and the Government’s lack of investment in social care.

Karolina Gerlich, CEO of the National Association of Care & Support Workers, believes the priority should be to professionalise social care workers rather than take a big brother approach.

Investment in training and quality will make more of a positive difference than CCTV. 

What’s the likelihood of CCTV becoming mandatory? Unlikely at the current time. Parliamentary time is short and the new Government has a big agenda – there’s more attention on the wholescale reform of the sector than surveillance.  

Furthermore, the current Social Care Minister Caroline Dinenage is not an enthusiast.

But many care homes are voluntarily utilising CCTV and are experiencing benefits.

Research by the Daily Express suggests that CCTV in care homes could save the NHS £370m each year on avoided ambulance call-outs.

CCTV footage allows care home managers to check whether a client has injured themselves to the level requiring hospitalisation i.e. through a dangerous fall. 

Care providers have a legal requirement to ensure the safety, welfare, privacy and dignity of service users at all times. CCTV could help to deliver the first two of these, however there’s a danger that it could compromise the latter two. And that’s the dilemma.

**            Karolina Gerlich and Jayne Connery will discuss the use of CCTV at The Residential and Home Care Show on 24 June at 11.55am. Alexandra Johnstone, a partner at law firm RadcliffesLeBrasseur, will also be on the panel to offer the all-important legal perspective.       **


A memory can be evoked from a smell, a piece of music, a colour or a piece of furniture, which is exactly what Craig Ferguson, design and development manager at Teal Living had in mind for the latest seating range from Teal Living.

Craig imagined a new range of residential care home seating and created it! Breaking away from traditional design standards, the latest range of residential seating is called Evoke. With its retro styling and individual upholstery styling the design harks back to the 1950’s and early 60’s fashioning, a style many care home residents will have first-hand experience of.

Embracing his imagination and sharing a passion for developing furniture that maintains a person’s independence and dignity, Craig started to develop a furniture range that would evoke a memory and create an emotional connection for the user.

“I wanted to conjure memories and create a connection through furniture that would feel comfortable, familiar, and homely, something that would strike up a conversation.” Says Craig.

Not forgetting the overriding design principles and ethos of comfort, support, and sustainability, Craig started to design a chair range that had a domestic home from home feel.

“I deliberately took my inspiration from 1950’s and 1960’s styling. The chances are the end user would remember first-hand this styling and relate to our product - you can’t underestimate the sense of security that can provide an elderly person in a care home, especially one with dementia.”

Staring with the frame production the critical dimensions were finely tuned and design features added. Not forgetting ergonomics and the sit-to-stand assistance consideration, such as width and height, the angle of the seat and back were established by hands-on development in the studio.

“Much of our concepts are developed by hand. You have to sit in a chair to understand how it will feel; a computer can’t do that part. Although hidden, the frame is one of the most important component, which is why we place so much time and investment into getting that part right.” Says Craig.

The chair had to provide the right postural support and comfort. The design and development team tried and tested the frame dimensions and the positioning of different foams to create a chair that would guide the user into the correct seating position with ease and without assistance offering the appropriate lumbar and thoracic support for comfort.”

The seat platform tapers towards the back providing comfortable anchorage at the base of the spine, the curved of the arms offers sit-to-stand leverage, whilst the high back design meets the head delivering additional support for maintained comfort.

“A lot of work went into the seat and back design. Clearly our products have to look right, but they have to perform. We want individuals to look forward to sitting in our chairs, which means we have to make using our furniture accessible to those with varying degrees of mobility and capacity. Due to nature of our customers offer as much support, assistance and comfort through good design”

Continuing to design with health and wellbeing in mind, special attention is also paid to infection control. Specialist fabrics are carefully chosen, not just for aesthetics but also to provide stain resistance, waterproof barriers, anti-microbial and antifungal properties, which are all designed to withstand regular cleaning without compromising the look and feel of the product. In addition the tapered legs have an anti-bacterial lacquer Medicote™ that provides protection against MRSA, e.coli, Salmonella, Bacillus cereus and other bacteria.

Sara Jane Farrow, national business manager at Teal Living “Craig’s idea of evoking memories really fits with our aim of designing for non-clinical environments.  What could be better than feeling safe and at ease in your favorite chair whilst discussing fond memories? It’s about creating a connection and a bond, that very essence of being human and being treated like a human being, with care and dignity. Craig has really achieved this, the Evoke range is a beautiful assortment of furniture.”

Visit teal Livings' website today


When it comes to meeting compliance in a healthcare environment there’s an awful lot to think about, but safety should always come first. When it comes to your bathroom water controls there are three specific things you should bear in mind; meet the required regulations, comply by them, and uphold your duty of care to staff and patients.

First and foremost maintaining personal hygiene is absolutely critical in maintaining health, welfare and avoiding infections. The CQC’s Regulation 12: Safe care and treatment states “Providers must assess the risks to people's health and safety during any care or treatment and make sure that staff have the qualifications, competence, skills and experience to keep people safe.

 “…Providers must prevent and control the spread of infection. Where the responsibility for care and treatment is shared, care planning must be timely to maintain people's health, safety and welfare.”

Those who are cared for should expect to be bathed or showered within a process that keeps them free from the exposure to infections. So how can that be achieved in an environment where multiples of individuals may use the same bathing facilities?

Firstly ensure your bath or shower is compliant.

Ask your supplier or manufacturer to provide certificated evidence to confirm that their appliances have been tested and comply with UK regulations

Products BS 6920 certified, and WRAS category 5 certification, can provide that assurance. It’s worth noting without those assurances strict water regulations are not being met and facilities will not be protected from back-flow contamination, which could result in a legionella outbreak leading to serious illness, and worst-case, death.

You can also check the directory of approved products freely available here 

Commercial premises, particularly those operating in the healthcare environments, have a legal duty to comply with Water Regulations and ensure medical appliances are procured with higher levels of Fluid Category 5 back flow protection.

Fluid Category 5 Fluid represents a serious health hazard because of the concentration of pathogenic organisms, radioactive or very toxic substances, including any fluid, which contains faecal material or other human waste.

As such Category 5 defines a serious health risk and appliances must be:

  • Designed and manufactured to be of an appropriate quality and standard
  • Suitable for the circumstances where they are used
  • Installed so they comply with the regulations 

Secondly manufacturer guarantee and warranty are important considerations.

An assisted bathing product in a care home setting should be commercial grade not domestic. The product should be able to withstand repeated daily use without materials and components becoming compromised. Specifically confirm whether the metal components are stainless or powder coated. Also request evidence that other non-metallic surfaces have an anti-microbial coating.

It’s important because legionella thrives on surfaces aside of metal, and rusting and delamination of painted parts, which doesn’t just ruin the finish of the product, it compromises safety and cleaning protocols.

Check that the bathroom apparatus chosen offers a higher temperature maintenance cycle. The higher temperature removes any development of biofilm. You’ll probably notice biofilm at home as a black slime in your washing machine soap drawer, although shocking to look at, it is perfectly normal.

If ignored the biofilm develops its bacterial and fungal growth, providing the perfect spot for Legionella to make its home. A hot cleaning maintenance cycle burns away the biofilm providing yet another defense, and followed by the use of a high level broad spectrum cleaner, or a disinfectant, your exposure to risk is significantly mitigated.

Cut the risks further and build a good working relationship with a reputable bathing manufacturer. They will provide factory trained product specialists and clinical understanding, along with architectural advice, which is often vital to specifying the correct product for the level of care provided, and potential risks you are exposed to.

You can also check the directory of approved products freely available here


Recruitive has had the pleasure of helping Dimensions with their recruitment since 2016 and it is a relationship of which we are very proud. It has given us the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about the particular difficulties organisations within the Care Sector face and allowed us to fine tune the recruitment software package we provide to benefit them the most.

Dimensions was set up to provide much-needed support for people with learning disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour and various complex needs. These needs vary with each individual, so the care and support they get is tailored to meet whatever challenges they face in their day to day lives. Dimensions provides support to those who need it at any stage of their life.

Dimensions has, over the past 40 years, grown from a small office with one telephone to become one of the largest members of the Care Sector across a wide geographical area stretching around the UK. It has on its books at any one time more than 7000 staff and, as we know, recruitment in the Care Sector is a continuous process all year round.

The Care Sector has its problems when it comes to recruitment and, as recruitment in this industry is continuous due to high turnover and suffers from a negative image in the minds of some that is not deserved, they are problems they could really do without.

These problems include:

Candidate attraction, Processing applicants, Collecting documents, Processing DBS and On-boarding candidates.

This what Dimensions say:

"It's hard to remember because we have been with you a long time now.  The process was much more clunky in our old ATS. In Recruitive the process is a lot more automated which saves the recruiters and administrators a lot of time.

The on-boarding side of things is a million times better than what we had before – the candidate portal with the timeline and key information area is great engagement for the candidates and the on-boarding checklist which links to the on-boarding wheel gives a superior candidate experience and more engagement with the candidate as they can see how far along they are in the process.


The system is easy to use and looks nice. The amount of features we have in it is far superior to our old system and I love that it is so configurable. I am amazed at the talents your engineers have!”



A leading workforce management technology company is rewarding care workers for their commitment to providing quality care, as part of their ’20 years, 20 prizes, 20 weeks giveaway’.

As a treat for committed individuals who utilise CM’s real-time care visit logging system, CM is rewarding lucky care workers over a 20-week period with a hundred pounds worth of high street vouchers, as part of their 20-year anniversary celebrations.  
Suzanne Pearson, who works for Bloomsbury Homecare in Lincolnshire, is the latest winner in CM’s care worker prize draw and was presented with her award at Bloomsbury’s Christmas event by CEO Nick Christodoulou.

With just over 20 years of care experience herself, Suzanne commented: “The part I most enjoy about my job is seeing the clients are happy and settled in their homes and enjoying time with their families and friends. I enjoy chatting to the clients and finding out about their life history. I would like to thank CM for running the competition and I am overjoyed to be one of the lucky winners.”

As part of the prize draw, winners also have the opportunity to select a charity of their choice and CM will donate £100 on their behalf.

 Suzanne’s charity of choice is the Alzheimer’s society, she added: “This charity is   close to my heart as both of my grandparents have Alzheimer’s and I’ve helped     clients throughout my career who have developed this disease.”

 Part of HAS Technology Group, CM (previously CM2000) started as a simple visit  time recording solution which has safeguarded two million service users over the  last 20 years. It now supports over 100 local authorities and 3,000 care provider  branches with mix-n-match integrated care monitoring , scheduling and financial  management solutions.

 Mark Kennion, CM director added: “We’re delighted to be able to give something  back to care workers and reward them when they use our CM system.

 “It’s lovely to hear that Suzanne has worked in the sector since she was 18 and is  well known for her dedication and devotion.

 “We look forward to rewarding more hardworking care workers as part of our 20  year celebrations.”

 Bloomsbury Home Care commented: “We at Bloomsbury would like to thank CM   for their ongoing excellent service and user support, it is with their help that we   and our staff can continue to provide the best possible service to all our clients.”

 HAS Technology Group offers a variety of services, including CM, PAMMS and ARMED, which provide holistic prevention, commissioning and a delivery package of solutions. The group is leading the way with an innovative approach to social care technology solutions to ensure ongoing improvements in delivery and quality of care.


The role of nurses in adult social care is a vital one. But the number of registered nurses working in adult social care in England has dropped by 20% in the past six years. As a result, care homes are either having to turn to less qualified staff to fill the gaps, or reducing the services they offer.

Social care nursing numbers are down to around 42,000 at present – with little prospect of it rising in the short-term. Nursing in general is suffering from years of low pay rises and rising workloads. But, more specifically to social care, many believe the role has an image problem and damaging myths abound. It’s resulted in the sector struggling with a 35% turnover rate and 10% vacancy rate.

These myths must be debunked, says Skills for Care and others, in order to address the workforce shortages. Myths include the belief that social care nurses simply spend their shifts giving out medication, their job is a road to retirement, their skills are not transferable to the NHS, and they do not gain enough evidence and training to revalidate. It means that the role is looked down upon by many acute nurses, and they don’t consider it a valid career option.

What many overlook is that the role for registered nurses in social care is becoming even more important with national commitments to look after more people with complex needs in community settings. Furthermore, social care nurses will provide a key role in helping health and social care services to better integrate. And, on a day-to-day basis, social care nurses get to build much stronger relationships with their clients than in the acute sector.  

With potentially fewer candidates from the EU and more existing staff retiring, it will be crucial for the NHS and social care sectors to attract more younger people into the profession. The pool of newly qualified staff has dwindled following the Government’s abolition of NHS bursaries for student nurses in 2017.

It’s current commitment to re-instate bursaries is welcome, all-be-it with no subsidisation of the tuition fees. It means that the sector has become characterised by agency staff, long terms sickness absences, and unfilled vacancies. A multifaceted recruitment and retention drive are needed if the situation is to improved. 

**  Attend our key note session on the Future of Nursing in Social Care on 25 June at 1010am where a high-profile panel will discuss the way forward. The speakers will include Stacey McCann, Chief Operating Officer, Belong; Jenny Gibson, Clinical Advisor, CQC; Wendy Leighton, Project Manager - Regulated Professional Workforce, Skills for Care; and, Sue West, Senior Nursing Education Advisor, The Nursing & Midwifery Council.  **


The Care Show 2019 is now just a great memory in the minds of everyone who attended at the beginning of October, with the event delivering ideas and inspiration that will be of enduring benefit.

On the 9th and 10th of October, thousands of visitors travelled to the NEC to attend the usual annual gathering of the care sector – however, there was nothing usual about this year’s edition of the Care Show, as we’ve experience one of the busiest Care Show editions on record.

Here’s what Show Manager, Michael Corbett had to say:

“The Care Show was a carnival of inspiration, education and fun........



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