Blog / top tips

On this section you can find out more information about how certain services work and how the whole process of getting care arranged works

What do I look for when choosing a care and support provider

1. Ask the correct People. Families are more involved now in finding care for their loved ones. There is a mine field of information out there so make sure you get it from the right places. Speak with your GP, pharmacist or any other health professionals as well as online. Your local adult social care team within the council should also be approached. 

2. Discuss the need for care. Involving the person or couple in deciding to have care is important. This will give them the control they want and will help in understanding then type of care required from hourly care to a 24 hour live-in service. It may be for certain conditions and require certain practices such assistance with a stoma or catheter.

3. Check the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website. Always read the provider’s CQC report. At Homecare providers are inspected and graded and these reports of how they operate and the services they offer are available with ratings of Outstanding, Good or Requires Improvement

4. Look at websites. It is generally useful to have a look through their website to learn more about the company, if they specialise in any particular aspect such as Dementia care or specific conditions and if they have achieved any other accreditations or awards for the service they deliver. Also check their reviews on Google or

5. Speak with the Care Management team. Call the number and talk to the care management team directly and ask any questions you have. Check that they are informative, responsive, professional and genuinely interested to learn about the needs of you or your loved one. Also check how they will assess the needs of the client and establish a plan of care with your family.

6. How and when can you contact them? Explore the ways in which you can effectively contact them; Phone, email or other technology. Make sure the care and support will be responsive as needs change with passage of time. There should be in place an on-call facility after office hours to cover evenings, holidays and weekends to respond to emergencies or changes.

7. Is there effective staff recruitment and training? Enquire about their recruitment process. Ask about DBS checks and how staff members are chosen. What kind of training is given and whether it is in-house or external. How are they assessed as competent before they begin work and going forwards? Do they receive regular support and supervision?

8. Introductions. Care staff should be introduced to clients and the family before care begins and there should be a way to express concern with a carer if required.

9. Does the company perform regular quality assurance checks? Homecare companies should monitor the service they provide. There should be periodic reviews of the service directly with the client and family. They should check their staff are doing what they are supposed to every time by carrying out spot-checks .Do they work alongside health professionals and the local authority. Do they send satisfaction surveys regularly?

10. Initial Assessment. A manager or supervisor should assess the needs of the person requiring care  in their home.  This will be a time to iron out any wrinkles of the service and get the final questions answered and get a better feel for them being the right team to support your family. Do not hesitate to stop the process and take time to reconsider your options if you feel pressured or unhappy with the proceedings.

10 tips on a healthy heart, healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle = a healthier heart. Take a look at these 10 things you can do to look after your heart
1.  Give up smoking
If you're a smoker, quit. It's the single best thing you can do for your heart health. Smoking is known to be one of the main causes of CHD.

Just one year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
2. Get active
Staying active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Aim to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week or about 30 minutes of activity five days a week.
3. Manage your weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and sugar, with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
4. Eat more fibre
Eat at least 30g of fibre a day to help lower your risk of heart disease. Fibre can be found in a variety of sources, from wholemeal bread, to oats and wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and of course, plenty of fruit and vegetables.
5. Cut down on saturated fat
The level of cholesterol in your blood is raised when your diet contains too many foods that are high in saturated fat. Choose leaner cuts of meat and lower-fat dairy products like 1% fat milk.
6. Get your 5 A DAY
Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. They're a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
7. Cut down on salt
To maintain healthy blood pressure, avoid using too much salt when cooking or at the table. Also, don’t forget to watch out for those ready-made foods which have really high salt levels. You can be more salt aware by checking food labels – a food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g.
Aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day in total – that's about one teaspoon.
8. Eat fish
Eat fish at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish (such as mackerel, fresh tuna, sardines and salmon). They are also a good source of omega-3 fats, which can help protect against heart disease.
9. Drink less alcohol
Don't forget alcohol contains calories! If you are regularly drinking more than the NHS guidelines you will notice the impact on your waistline. Try to keep to the recommended daily alcohol limits to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart health.
10. Snack on nuts and seeds
By eating a mixture of unsalted nuts and seeds for snacks (in small amounts) you are adding good unsaturated fats into your diet, helping you to stay fuller for longer but also helping to lower your cholesterol level.

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