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By Debbie le Quesne

Posts Tagged ‘care care care for the elderly care for the elderly care funding care fundings care fundings care managers care new headlines care news care quality care sector care sector jobs care strain cost of ca

Call the ghostbusters – CQC still getting a rough ride

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I have concluded that just about every part of the caring business has its demons.

The biggest yet to dealt with by those heroic ghost busters of the ‘80s is funding, but there’s a nasty little specter in the wings called CQC.

And quite rightly, MPs have warned that the watchdog will never command public confidence unless it develops a clearer idea of its core purpose,

The focus of the Care Quality Commission, which was set up in 2008, should be to ensure that it could be viewed by the public as a guarantor of acceptable care standards. But it really does have a long, long way to go before securing that kind of status,

Stephen Dorrell, the committee’s chair and a former Conservative health secretary, was quoted last week in the Press, saying: “It is extraordinary that here we are, five years on, and we are still discussing what its core purpose is.”

CQC has faced criticisms galore for failing to act on poor care, or to achieve a proper balance between registering services, ensuring they meet minimum standards, and inspecting them rigorously. And don’t we know it.

Last year chair Dame Jo Williams and chief exec Cynthia Bower resigned.

New appointments and a strategic review later and the key objectives emerged.

Reporting on its annual accountability hearing with the CQC, the committee said the commission was going in the right direction but needed to do more to win public confidence.

Mr Dorrell said “it had a long way to go.”

Among the list of things suggested were: Another consultation procedure on its CQC methods to deliver its goals, a greater use of  expert clinical advisers, and a revision of how inspection results are published with findings communicated automatically to all “stakeholders”, including people receiving care and their families.

The care industry for too long has been at odds with CQC over a myriad of issues. Undoubtedly the watchdog has created an awful lot of unnecessary grief for some providers while failing to act robustly enough in for others.

Let’s hope things will improve.

Benefit caps: Are we dishonouring the honourable?

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The government’s proposed benefit cap will apply to careres who look after their disabled children.

And the result will inevitably mean some will be forced to move out of their home or put their child into care, according to a piece in The Guardian.

As I understand it, ministers had said disabled people were exempt from the £500-a-week benefit cap that is due to come into force in April.

But in politics nothing is constant and now they have now accepted that if a parent is still looking after a disabled child after they reach adulthood, even if the child’s mental age is as low as eight, the parent and the child will be treated separately, and the parent will be subject to the cap.

The news broke in In the Commons when the Work and Pensions minister Esther McVey said: “In practice most carers will be exempt [from the cap] because their partner or child is in receipt of disability living allowance.”

She was then challenged by Labour MP Andrew Gwynne to look at the rules again. He said: “Close reading of the regulations indicates that a household comprising parents and a disabled adult dependent receiving disability living allowance will not be exempt from the cap, despite the minister’s promises that they would be.”

McVey then admitted: “Should there be another adult in the house, that is then a separate household, so both have to be assessed separately.”

Already letters are being sent out, so the government is acting speedily.

The newspaper cites the case of Jacqueline Smirl from London, who has been told she is to lose roughly £80 a week even though she looks after her 20-year-old son, who is in need of 24-hour care and has the mental age of an eight-year-old owing to autism.

She argues that because she looks after her son, she is saving the government money.

Ms Smirl has lived in Maida Vale since 1984. She lives in a £400-a-week private rented property and says her son is willing to move to a council property but none are available, forcing her either to leave the area or to put her son into care.

She said the threat of disruption to her already difficult life was putting intense pressure on her and she was receiving counselling.

The anomaly appears to be striking – if she were looking after a partner, spouse or “child” she would be exempt from the cap.

Surely these benefit caps were aimed at getting people back into the jobs market. But this poor woman already does a 24/7 job for a ‘wage‘ which must be a saving to government.

Another observer notes: “Cost of rent at £400PW is £20,800 PA.
Cost of Carers’ Allowance at £55PW is £2,860 PA.
Cost of DLA at the highest rates £131PW is £6,838PA.

“Total – £30,498PA. Plus a bit more for council tax, probably.

“Cost of full-time residential care £150,000 to £200,000PA.

“This mother is SAVING the taxpayer at least £120,000 every single year; like millions of other selfless individuals all over the UK.”

Benefit changes like these are never going to be popular, but I can’t help feeling it would be cheaper to let this mother do the caring which is driven by her love for her son.”

Surely these are the very people we should be honouring and supporting?

All quiet, but Ms Rippon’s campaign is still in full flight

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Okay, we know the fat man with a red suit is getting his sleigh ready for the 25th, but why have the care sector movers and shakers all gone quiet?

I have scoured the heavyweights, red-tops and internet . . . and yes, you’re right, for the first time I’m struggling to blog about anything worthwhile.

So now it’s perhaps a good time to mention my admiration of Angela Rippon’s sterling work as an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Somehow, this genius of PR, she steered an interview in a national newspaper about her remarkable and famous pins to promote the work of the society.

The Daily Express carried an article yesterday which trumpeted the need to geek your legs in good order. After Rippon’s famous leggy moment with Morecambe and Wise on their 1976 Christmas Show I can think of no-one better to lead the charge for keeping active longer.

But it’s the other stuff in the interview that grips my attention: The passion she possesses for people to understand the insidious symptoms of dementia.

She made public a long time ago her journey caring for her mother Edna, a challenging dementia sufferer.

In the latest interview, she recalled the capricious changes in moods and how aggressive behavior would be forgotten in a moment.

Rippon wants to spread understanding through the Dementia Friendly Communities Initiative – a champion group formed to establish what needs to be done to make our communities more dementia friendly.

Its work is stunning and worthy of a Google search.

In the Express interview it conclude with an alarming statistic. Studies show that dementia patients spend an average of 28 extra days in hospital because they are often misunderstood, unable to feed themselves, become dehydrated and are often agitated.

Ker-ching! Average cost of hospitalisation: £250 a day.

Keep up the good work Angela Rippon!