Top Tips

What to look out for when choosing a care 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 to help if you are worried about coronavirus

The impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is still having on our lives may cause us to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated.

Everyone feels different sometimes. It's important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently – for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass.

There are simple things we can do to help take care of our mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty. Doing so will help us think clearly, and make sure we can look after ourselves and those we care about.

These tips can help improve your mental health and wellbeing if you are worried about the coronavirus outbreak. It is important to always follow the latest official guidance on social distancing to keep everyone safe.

1. Stay connected with people

Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing.

If you can, visit or meet up with friends and family in person, but follow the latest government guidance on social distancing when you do. If you cannot meet up in person, because one of you needs to stay home, stay in touch by phone, video calls or social media.

We all need to feel connected still, so keep in touch – whether it's with people you normally saw often or reconnecting with old friends

2. Talk about your worries

It's normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember: it's OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.

3. Support and help others

Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them, so try to be a little more understanding of other people's concerns, worries or behaviours at this time.

Try to think of things you can do to help those around you. Is there a friend or family member nearby you could now meet up with? If you cannot meet up, you could phone or message them.

Are there any community groups you could join to support others locally? If you do go out to offer support or help to others, always follow social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home.

4. Feel prepared

As the outbreak continues, it can help to work through what changes to government guidelines mean for you so you feel more prepared and less concerned. It can help to think through a typical week: how will you continue to be affected and what will you need to do to solve any problems?

If you have not already, you might want to talk with your employer. Find out about government support for businesses and self-employed people and understand your sick pay and benefits rights.

5. Look after your body

Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse.

Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. Going for a walk, run or bike ride can really help lift your mood and clear your mind – just remember to follow social distancing guidelines. 

6. Stick to the facts

Find a credible source you can trust – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people.

You could also use the GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. This automated chatbot covers the most common questions about coronavirus. Message the coronavirus chatbot to get started.

Think about how possibly inaccurate information could affect others too. Try not to share information without fact-checking against credible sources. You might also want to consider limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone.

You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day.

7. Stay on top of difficult feelings

Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their daily life.

Try to focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, who you speak to, and where and how often you get information.

It's fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about coronavirus are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some ideas to help manage your anxiety or listening to an audio guide.

8. Do things you enjoy

Feeling worried, anxious or low might stop us doing things we usually enjoy. Focusing on your favourite hobby, relaxing or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings.

If some of the things you enjoy doing involve meeting up with others, are there ways you can now do these that follow social distancing guidelines? For instance, playing tennis or football? If you cannot do the things you normally enjoy, perhaps because you are staying home, think about how you could adapt them, or try something new.

There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, or try online pub quizzes and music concerts.

9. Focus on the present

Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people deal with feelings of anxiety, or you could try mindful breathing apps.

10. Look after your sleep

Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough. Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep up good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. 


Healthy Heart Tips


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.

Tips for Preventing Falls (infographic)

We know that looking after your health and wellbeing is vital to maintaining your independence.

Bluebird Care Exeter often provide care and support to people following a fall and over the years we have learnt the things you can do to keep moving, stay safe and avoid the risk of falling.

We want to use our experience to help our customers and their families, so we have created an infographic of the Top 10 Tips for Preventing Falls. We hope you will find this useful.



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