Archive for November, 2009

What questions should I ask a homecare provider?

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

The following questions may help when choosing a Home Care Agency in Nottingham:

• Can you provide the care that I need, including meeting my personal preferences?
• How will you and your staff respect my privacy and dignity?
• Have you provided homecare for someone with similar needs to mine?
• How will you match the most suitable careworker for my needs?
• Is your organisation a member of UKHCA, committed to complying with the UKHCA Code of Practice?
• Are you required to register with a statutory regulator and if so, are you currently registered?
• Is your organisation insured in order to protect my safety and interests?
• Do you interview all your homecare workers before offering them work?
• Do you obtain at least two written references from your careworkers’ previous employers?
• Do all your careworkers undergo a criminal record disclosure from the
• Criminal Records Bureau (in England and Wales) or the Scottish Criminal Records Office (in Scotland)?
• What sort of training do your careworkers receive before they start working and during their employment?
• What proportion of your careworkers and managers have obtained a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)?
• If my care isn’t provided by a local council, do you have a standard contract that I can read before signing?
• Can I contact your agency during the day, outside office hours and in an emergency?
• What happens if my regular careworker is sick or on holiday?
• What charges, if any, will I be expected to pay?
• What payment methods are available (cheque, direct debit etc)?
• Is there a minimum charge if I only need a small amount of care?
• Are there any hidden extras in the prices you quote? (Prices should include NI contributions, travel expenses and VAT)

Access2Care is a Private Home Care Agency providing Home Care for the Elderly & Disabled people in the comfort of their own home in Nottingham. Telephone 0115 859 6074 for more details.

Choosing the right UKHCA Home Care Company in Nottingham

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Homecare has become the first choice for people who need assistance with their personal care to lead independent lives. Many people who use homecare do so as an alternative to moving into a care home.
Starting to think about meeting your care needs can be daunting. This leaflet aims to answer some of your questions about homecare and help you find out where you can get more information.

Why choose homecare?
Homecare, also known as domiciliary care, is a term for support provided in the home by one or more careworkers to assist someone with their daily life.

Enabling people who need care to remain in their home helps maintain personal independence, comfort and contact with their local community. Homecare is flexible, with just the right amount of assistance at any one time.

You may only require a small amount of support – from half an hour a week, to several hours a day, or even live-in care. The service may be on a temporary, intermittent or long term basis.

What is UKHCA?
UKHCA is the professional national representative association for homecare providers.
Our priorities are to promote the highest standards of care, to encourage training and development of homecare workers and to highlight homecare as the preferred option for people who need care.

Homecare organisations that join UKHCA are required to comply with our Code of Practice to ensure that:
•    the rights of service users are paramount;
•    the highest standards of care are provided; and
•    the rights and welfare of careworkers are protected.

In addition, UKHCA helps members of the public locate reputable homecare providers in their local area and to find organisations that can meet specialised needs, including live-in care.

How will my well-being be protected?
All homecare workers are required to undergo initial induction training to make sure they are ready to provide care at home. Many go on to achieve recognised qualifications in care. UKHCA helps its member organisations to obtain extra training funds, where they are available.

In England, Scotland and Wales, homecare workers undergo a criminal record disclosure, previously known as a police check.

All homecare providers are required to register with their statutory regulator if they provide personal care. They are obliged to meet a high standard of service and undergo regular inspection. In addition, the

UKHCA Code of Practice requires our members to operate at a higher standard than the legal minimum.

Homecare providers are required to comply fully with health and safety legislation to identify and minimise risks to people receiving care and their careworkers.

UKHCA members operate effective procedures to respond to comments and complaints, so that in the unfortunate event of a problem arising, it is resolved as quickly as possible.

What costs are involved?
Your local council’s social work team are obliged to perform an assessment of your care needs if you request it. If they agree that you need care, they will undertake a financial assessment. Taking your income and savings – but not the value of your home – into account, the financial assessment will establish your eligibility to receive financial assistance from the state. In Scotland there is no financial assessment for people aged 65 and over as the majority of care is provided free of charge.

There are several ways that care can be funded. In many cases local councils and some Primary Care Trusts will pay all or part of the costs of care. In England and Wales people may be required to make a financial contribution to their package of care. The local council will provide the care themselves or purchase from a list of approved agencies.

Alternatively, you or your family may choose to fund your care, without any state assistance. You may choose to use a local homecare agency or possibly employ someone yourself. If you employ your own careworker you should be aware of your potential obligations as an employer.

A small but growing number of people take up the option of using the Direct Payments Scheme, where it is available. Here, the state gives you a cash entitlement and you then take responsibility for organising your own care.

You may also wish to enhance the range of services subsidised by your local council by purchasing extra help from an independent homecare agency.

VAT is not usually charged on homecare services. However, it is important to know whether any fees quoted by providers include VAT or not.

Access2Care a member of  UKHCA is a Private Home Care Agency providing Home Care for the Elderly & Disabled people in the comfort of their own home in Nottingham. Telephone 0115 859 6074 for more details.

Huge spike in excess winter deaths sounds deafening wake-up call‚ Age Concern and Help the Aged says

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Commenting on the ONS figures published this morning‚ showing the number of excess deaths has increased by half‚ Andrew Harrop‚ Head of Policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged‚ said:

“It is a national scandal that the UK has more older people dying in winter‚ compared to the rest of the year‚ than countries with more severe weather‚ such as Sweden and Finland. Excess winter deaths of older people have remained stubbornly high in recent years‚ but last winter’s huge spike sounds a deafening wake-up call about the older population’s well-being if we have another cold snap.

“High winter mortality is an indirect indicator of the difficulties older people face in protecting themselves from the cold in the UK. Last winter‚ as temperatures plunged‚ rising inflation and soaring energy bills forced two in five older people to cut back on their heating to save money. If cash-strapped older people turn down the heating during a colder winter‚ this can easily lead to a rise in the numbers affected by cold-related illnesses‚ which contribute to the thousands of excess winter deaths each year.

“To end this national scandal‚ the Government must do much more to tackle fuel poverty‚ which currently affects one in three older households. As a first step‚ ministers must use next month’s Pre-Budget Report to restore funding for the Warm Front Scheme which is set to plummet next year.


Top Tips from Access2Care to Stay Warm and Well this Winter

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Claim your benefits – Millions of pensioners are missing out on their share of up to £5 billion in unclaimed benefits. If you are eligible this could make a huge difference to your weekly income and go some way towards meeting your energy bills.

1. Eat well and keep warm – Hot meals and drinks provide warmth and energy. Try to eat one nutritious hot meal every day and have a hot drink before bedtime. Wear several layers of clothes to keep warm and wrap up well when you go outside.

2. Stay active – Regular exercise generates heat and helps you to keep warm. It can be as simple as doing household chores or a stroll to the local shops.

3. Get a flu jab – If you’re over 65 or have a long-term health condition‚ you’re more vulnerable to the effects of flu. There are different strains of the virus each winter – make sure you are protected by getting a free flu jab from your GP every year.

4.  Shop around – Shopping around for the best energy rate could make you a considerable saving. If you are on a low income you may also be eligible for a discounted social tariff. Contact your energy supplier and check if you are eligible for a discounted tariff.

5. Get energy efficient – Improving your insulation‚ central heating‚ double glazing or draught-proofing could help keep your house warm and cut your bills. If you receive benefits you may be able to get a Warm Front grant to help pay for heating improvements‚ and your energy supplier may offer energy efficiency products like insulation free of charge.

Access2Care is a Private Home Care Agency providing Home Care for the Elderly & Disabled people in the comfort of their own home in Nottingham. Telephone 0115 859 6074 for more details.

Age Concern and Help the Aged welcomes eleventh-hour action on home care and fuel poverty

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

“We welcome the Government’s decision to focus its last Queen’s Speech before the General Election on some of the key issues affecting older people‚ but ministers will be in a race against time to deliver on this last-minute agenda.

“Providing free home care for people with the highest needs and introducing energy price support for households in fuel poverty will provide welcome relief for some of the poorest and most vulnerable older people. But eradicating fuel poverty and fixing the crumbling care system will require much more comprehensive strategies.

“With only a few months left before the end of this Parliament‚ time is running out to get these measures and the long awaited Equality Bill onto the Statute Book. But it is still not too late for the Government to use the Equality Bill to scrap the Default Retirement Age and leave an enduring legacy of real change for our older population.”

Social Care Bill
“We warmly welcome the Bill in the Queen’s Speech to bring in free personal care at home for those with the highest needs. This represents the first step in ensuring a better deal for this group. It will be essential that councils are properly funded to provide this care‚ so that there are no perverse incentives to either push older people into residential care homes earlier than needed or assess their needs as not critical enough to warrant free care at home.

“Even if this Bill reaches the Statute Book‚ fundamental reform of the entire care system will still be urgently required. We call on all the political parties to set out definitive plans for reforming the system ahead of the next General Election so that older people‚ their families and carers can judge their proposals for providing the high quality care people desperately need.”

Energy Bill
“Government action to improve the social tariff system for people in fuel poverty is long overdue. With only just over a million households benefitting from social tariffs‚ the current voluntary system is failing to reach the majority of the five million households estimated to be in fuel poverty – half of whom are older households. The new regime must streamline eligibility criteria and ensure that the poorest customers are automatically placed on the lowest available tariff offered by their energy supplier. While this will bring some long-awaited relief to many older households‚ a more ambitious long term strategy is needed to make the country’s housing stock fuel poverty proof.”

Equality Bill
“The Equality Bill is an unparalleled opportunity for the Government to call time on age discrimination‚ the most common form of discrimination in the UK. This legislation will be a huge step forward in removing the barriers older people face in accessing goods and services. To ensure that this Bill will achieve real changes for older people‚ the Government must set out a clear timetable for implementation.

“We hope the Bill will be strengthened as it goes through Parliament by abolishing the Default Retirement Age which enables employers to force people to retire when they reach 65.”

Financial Services Bill
“This Bill is a great opportunity to boost financial education and advice for consumers‚ which is key to helping people plan their retirement and maximise their income after a life of hard work. But education and guidance alone won’t protect consumers when things in the market go wrong. This is why we support proposals to strengthen regulators’ powers and introduce some form or collective redress.

“The Government should also oblige banks to improve accessibility to their services‚ especially for older people living in rural areas. An immediate step would be to ensure that all banks make their current accounts accessible through post offices.”

Digital Economy Bill
“While setting out plans to increase the availability of broadband across the UK‚ the Government shouldn’t forget that almost two in three people over 65 have never used the internet. In tackling the digital divide it is vital to take into account barriers older people experience in becoming digitally included.”


United Kingdom Home Care Association