Dec 21

2021 good news stories: part two

Posted: 20 December 2021

As part of our #2021Highlights campaign we’re rounding up some of the good news stories that providers have been sharing with us, to help to spread some positivity at the end of another unique and challenging year.

Great British Care Awards celebrate care success for Chosen Care Group

Chosen Care Group were celebrating after the Great British Care Awards in November when two members of their team were awarded.

Chief Operating Officer Gracy Metilda received the Covid Hero Award and nurse Raj Mohabeer received the Social Care Nurse Award.

Gracy won the Covid Hero Award for going above and beyond during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Raj won the Best Nurse Award, acknowledging his vital role as a specialist nurse promoting the emotional, physical, psychological, and social health of the people he supports. 

Alan Titchmarsh visits care home in Alton

The Lawn residential care home in Alton was in for a surprise when Alan Titchmarsh came to visit.

The gardener, broadcaster, poet, and novelist visited the home in his official capacity as Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire to say thank you to everyone on behalf of the Hampshire Lieutenancy for all their hard work during the covid pandemic and resulting lockdowns.

During his visit, Mr Titchmarsh enjoyed a tour of the care home and its beautiful grounds, admiring the plants, shrubs, flowers and, of course, the lawn.

For one Lawn resident, Kathie Baines, seeing Alan Titchmarsh during his visit was a reunion of sorts.

She said:

“Alan and I used to be neighbours – we lived next door to each other on the beautiful Isle of Wight.

I absolutely love gardening and always watched his TV programmes, so finding out he was my next door neighbour was incredibly exciting. It was lovely seeing him again. He is extremely friendly, and it brought back many happy memories of my old home.”

Alina Gutu, Care Home Manager at The Lawn said:

“It was lovely to host Mr Titchmarsh during his visit. All the residents were so happy to meet him and were over the moon when he said how wonderful and well cared for the grounds – and especially the lawn – were.

“We did ask if he had any gardening tips for us and he graciously said, ‘Keep on doing just what you’re doing’, that was such a compliment.”

Future Directions’ Stronger Together Community Choir is dazzling audiences at top care sector events 

An inclusive choir where most of its members have autism spectrum conditions, learning difficulties or Down’s syndrome has been wowing audiences at social care events this year.

This included a performance at the Care Show at Birmingham NEC where they performed their song Stronger Together. This was followed by a performance at the Leaders in Care awards ceremony at the National Conference Centre (NCC) which was met with a standing ovation.

The Stronger Together Community Choir got the gigs at Birmingham NEC and the NCC after winning Care Sector’s Got Talent, a nationwide virtual talent show that showcased creative talents in the health and social care sector. 

The choir is made of people supported by Future Directions CIC. Three of the choir members also work for Future Directions, one of whom has an autism spectrum conditions.

Charity used technology to support wellbeing of the people they support

To celebrate United Nations International Day of Older Persons earlier this year, Friends of the Elderly, a charity which runs care homes, day care centres and a grant giving service for older people living on low incomes throughout England, shared how it engages the people they support with new technology to enjoy meaningful interactions in the digital world.

Mark Wilson, Engagement Director at Friends of the Elderly’s said:

“We have invested in a range of interactive electronic activity tables and screens within our care homes and day care centres to enable [the people we support] to enjoy, experience and benefit from new, interactive technology.”

For residents who are living with dementia, engaging with the interactive tables and screens can increase their mental stimulation through enjoying reminiscing about pastimes, playing games, and sensory, learning, and relaxation activities. 

Sian Hennessy, Activities Co-ordinator at Bradbury Court has seen the positive impact their interactive table has had on the people they support. Sian said:

“Our interactive table has a large 32” colour flat screen and can be easily positioned to suit [individual] needs. It’s proved to be a big hit with everyone, whether for group or individual use.

“For example, a group of our residents like using it together and work as a team to play a word search game and others love watching Google Earth looking at different types of cars. It’s also great for those whose eyesight isn’t very good as they enjoy the Bubble Blasting and Colour Swirl games.”   

The organisation has also rolled out a new integrated acoustic monitoring and electronic care planning system in all their care homes.

Friends of the Elderly has also been introducing technology to support night-time care routines. They’ve worked with Ally, the providers of an acoustic monitoring system, and KareInn, a care home software provider, to utilise integrated technology to develop a new way of working at night which allows care team members to safely respond to alerts rather than going into people’s rooms and disturbing their sleep.

With the consent of the people they support, the charity installed Ally’s wireless-enabled acoustic monitoring devices in their bedrooms. The artificial intelligence powering the device filters out background noise, works out each individual’s ‘activity profile’ based on sounds they make, then classifies and interprets sounds according to whether they are normal or abnormal for that person.

The device identifies events such as unusual movement or calling for help and raises an alert to the care home staff. The data from the monitoring device is then pushed to KareInn’s digital care planning system, where an individual’s complete care history can be accessed.

Jessica Stone, Head of Marketing and Communications at Friends of the Elderly said:

“Through working with KareInn’s digital care platform it has enabled us to integrate electronic care planning in a way which complements our home-from-home ethos of delivering high-quality, bespoke care with real-time accurate recording of outcomes.

“In addition, the integration with Ally’s acoustic monitoring system, has helped our care home teams to prevent falls, not to disturb sleep and free up time to spend on wellbeing and support activities.”

WWII veteran at Bernard Sunley Care Home celebrates landmark birthday

This year at Bernard Sunley care home in Woking, the care team celebrated Moyra Webber’s milestone 101st Birthday with cake, gifts, cards, and a birthday treat performance from one of Moyra’s favourite entertainers Daniel Brewerton. 

However, Moyra’s special day was made even more perfect with a magical surprise visit. Alongside her family visiting to help with the celebrations, Moyra’s daughter Sue flew in from Australia for her Mum’s momentous day.

Moyra, who grew up in Barry, South Wales, is a World War Two veteran. She was an officer in the ATS (Women’s British Army).

Moyra said:

“Working for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) during World War Two was an intense job. I had to be totally focused and concentrate on the messages I was listening to.

“Knowing I was doing my part for the war effort was very important to me. I was, and still am, honoured that I helped with such important work for my country.”

Andy Cumper, manager at Bernard Sunley said:

“Moyra is a lovely lady who always has a smile for me when we talk. When she turned 100-years-old last year, it was lovely to be able to share in her landmark day with her family. This year it has been extremely special and heart-warming for her to have her daughter fly over from Australia to join us in celebrating her 101st birthday.”

Speaking of the celebrations, Moyra said:

“I have had a really wonderful 101st birthday, it’s been a lovely day. I didn’t think anything could top my 100th birthday, but seeing my family, having Sue here from Australia, watching Daniel Brewerton’s performance and being spoilt by all the Bernard Sunley carers, it’s been a day to remember.

“The other day I was asked what was my secret to a long and happy life? I really don’t have one, it just happened, but I’m so grateful for everyone that has come into my life, I’m very blessed.”

The first ever Celebrating Homecare Day was enjoyed this year

Celebrating Homecare Day was launched this year by United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) and the Care Workers’ Charity (CWC) to celebrate and recognise the amazing work that home carers provide. Every day of the year, homecare workers support people to live safely and well at home, enabling people to flourish within our communities.

The theme for the inaugural event was ‘made with care’, to celebrate the relationships that exist between the people who give and receive care, and highlight the many activities they enjoy together. Whether this is crafting, baking, completing a jigsaw, or even filming a TikTok, care workers and the people they support were encouraged to celebrate something they have made or shared together.

Jane Townson, CEO of UKHCA said:

“Homecare workers have been a lifeline for many people throughout the past 18 months, showing real selflessness and resilience in providing invaluable support to people in their own homes in incredibly challenging times.

“But the work they do is always important - not just throughout the pandemic. Homecare services benefit all of us - people who receive and give services, their families, health services, and our wider communities.

“Their roles deserve to be celebrated now, and increasingly into the future.”

Karolina Gerlich, CEO of The Care Workers’ Charity added:

“It’s right and proper every so often to take a step back from the day-to-day and look at what you have achieved.

“Care workers do such amazing work, bringing companionship, care and comfort to so many people. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate what they do.”

Share your good news stories with us by emailing marketing@skillsforcare.org.uk

Have a look at our #2021Highlights spotlight for more reflections on the year.