Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone has had a happy and restful break. I certainly did, but have had to cram a couple of weeks work into five days in order to catch up!

Hence the lateness of the greeting.

One of the things that makes Christmas for me is the BBC.

It all starts with the Christmas Radio Times, and then Carols From Kings, The Reith lectures, The Royal Society Christmas Lectures and delightfully this year Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens!

The Reith Lectures by Professor Atul Gawande were a huge pleasure this year and I can highly recommend them.

Click here to go the BBC website to listen to them

The first lecture explores the topic of why doctors fail, and explores the factors which affect medicine, Ignorance (lack of knowledge) and Ineptitude (failure to use existing knowledge).

The second lecture is titled the century of the system,  and interestingly describes some simple systems that care and nursing homes would do well to copy.

Lecture three is about the problem of hubris and looks at the issues of aging and death and how society has a problem recognising the limits of what professionals can do.

The final lecture the idea of wellbeing is for me the highlight, and explores ideas around end of life care and assisted dying.

If nothing else, for me, the whole series re enforces the importance of the fact that people providing care need to care. A simple concept,but one that’s often overlooked.

The Smell Test

I always tell people not to rely on the smell of a home as an indicator of quality. Yes an overall odor is unpleasant and a sign of something not being as it should be. However it may be passing odor, and quality of care may still be good.

That said, I visited a home in Southport on Merseyside for a client recently, and the smell at the door was in fact an indication that all was not well when one dug deeper.

Clearly the owners of the establishment hadn’t invested in the business for some time. Sadly a symptom of the financial, political and regulatory system in which care for the elderly is provided.

That’s not to exonerate the owners, who are making a profit, at the expense of the care and comfort of the residents. It’s just a hobby horse of mine about how care is provided in the private sector. Whilst there are standards in law below which the standard of care should not fall, there are no standards which cover how the care should be financed. This allows unscrupulous providers to put profit before care. The decor is an example of how excess funds available after what are seen as unavoidable costs (staffing, food) are seen as fair profit for the owners. Allowing corners to be cut.

The smell and decor alone, still did not provide the full picture of poor care though. Talking to the staff on duty, residents and relatives. It was clear that care was poor, with not enough staff for residents needs, poor nutritional care, and signs of corporate incompetence.

What do CQC think of this home? They list it as compliant, sad but true.

I have made my findings available and reported concerns to the local authority safeguarding team.

Remember that free advice is available to help you find the best care for you and your loved ones.






There’s no such thing as a free lunch

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” or to paraphrase ” There’s no such thing as free advice”

I’m always wary of companies offering free introductory offers, clearly there is some sort of catch or obligation to purchase further down the line.

So why do I offer free advice?

I guess if I’m being honest the first reason is at yes, I want your business. So there is a catch, albeit a soft one. I offer free advice in the hope that you will like me, my services, and quality of service so much that you will buy my paid services.

It’s a well known marketing technique.

But secondly, I like helping people, it’s why I chose care as a career and it’s what’s kept me at it for the last twenty eight years.

In that time Ive learnt a lot about a lot. I can spot good care and point out bad care.

If I can help folks and make a living I’m a happy person, and if my free services and resources are a help then please use them and feel no obligation.