Guest blog – Why is dementia research the elephant in the room?

15 Oct

Age UK Blog

This blog was contributed by Matthew Norton, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, at Alzheimer’s Research UK

With the Care Bill running through parliament, the development of historic reform of the funding system for social care and much political focus on the integration with the health system, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Gordian Knot that is health and social care integration is close to being severed.

Challenges to health and social care integration

There are a number of reasons why there is still a long way to go before it can be claimed that social care has been fundamentally and sustainably reformed:

  1. The challenges associated with funding reform;
  2. A lack of a concrete and proven plan to integrate health and social care with a focus on the individual;
  3. Structural issues relating to the fact that health is free at the point of use and social…

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Paying For Care – The Complete Solution To Care Home Fees

22 Sep

There has been a lot of press surrounding the running and financial viability of care homes in the UK recently.

Online care home directory Key Care Solutions identified that the process of finding the right care facility needed reviewing and should be easier, so in 2010 launched the ONLY directory in the UK that can advise immediately which care homes have vacancies.

Finding care is only half the solution to someone’s care needs, because funding the care is just as important and if it is not tackled and addressed in the right way mistakes can be made, as people have made in the past; and thousands of pounds can be wasted in the process needlessly.

Key Care Solutions has the complete solution to such a problem; not only can it find available beds within minutes but also offers practical help and full support with the funding of care with the help of a new product called CarePod.

CarePod is the first structured support, information and guidance programme for anyone who is responsible for making important financial decisions on behalf of an elderly relative in care.

  • CarePod will Show you how you can protect your estate so that you can leave a legacy for heirs,
  • Save thousands of pounds on your care home fees.
  • Each client has their own dedicated CarePod consultant to guide them through the whole care journey and the funding options available even if you want to remain in your own home.

This complete service from Key Care Solutions will give you complete peace of mind from the maze of information available.

For further information on any of these services, please visit: call 0800 772 0123, or email:

Recognising individuals at The Belvedere

16 Oct

The Great British Care Awards recognises teams, individuals and organisations, providing exceptional care throughout the country. The Family & Friends Forum of The Belvedere Care Home, Alderley Edge in Cheshire nominated several staff for their commitment and dedication to the care they give to residents suffering with dementia.

The nominated staff were Pat Pickford – Care Manager, Tom Davison – Frontline Team Leader, Irene Salgado – Carer, Joe Salgado – Newcomer, Steve Davies – Ancillary Worker and Lukasz Kowalczyk – Dignity Champion.


Steve Davies & Irene Salgado were shortlisted and were invited to attend an interview at the fabulous Blackpool Tower on the 19th September 2012, where they were accompanied by Managers Pat Pickford (The Belvedere) and Kimberley Gordon (Cavendish Court).

The award ceremony was attended on the 12th October 2012 by all those nominated. Celebrity presenters were Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson, known by most of us as Hayley and Roy from Coronation Street. 

Steve Davies won the award for Ancillary Worker for the North West Region. This is a fantastic achievement for the whole team who work so well together at the care home. Staff and relatives were overwhelmed and very pleased with the outcome.

On returning to work the following Monday, Steve was presented with a cake made by the Chef, which he shared with staff and residents. Congratulations to everyone at The Belvedere.

As a winner Steve Davies is automatically entered into the National Finals, where he will compete against all regional winners from all the other 8 regions. We are currently awaiting details regarding the next steps, which are due to be issued in December/January – watch this space!

For further information contact Clare Boitelle, Marketing Department 0113 2382690.

Mari Mallaband Care Group as Featured on


Personalised Support to People with Dementia

10 Oct

For many years, the main approach in hospitals and care homes to people with dementia was institutional and often treated them as if they were no longer human. This was captured by Tony Whitehead in the late 1960s who described what many long stay wards looked like:  


 “Patients were herded together in old, bleak, neglected buildings with large dark wards, closely placed rows of beds, little furniture and frightening inactivity. Multiple regulations curtail the patients’ freedoms and reduce their contact with the outside world.  They

may be confined to the ward and allowed out only in large supervised groups. Privacy, usually valued by the elderly, is often non-existent. Bathing is supervised and may take place in a communal bathroom.  Visiting is restricted to a few hours a week and children are often

prohibited. To visit some wards for the elderly is to visit the annex to the mortuary. Rows of old people lie in bed with legs bent and muscles wasted by lack of use, eyes dull and vacant, waiting to die.


The dominant approach within dementia care is presently person centred care.  This approach was developed by Tom Kitwood and more recently by people like Dawn Brooker.   The central idea here is that within service provision, people with dementia should come first.  In addition there is also the idea that a person’s dementia does not just arise from biomedical causes such as their brain damage and their physical health but also from social and psychological factors such as their personal biography and their day to day interaction with other people – what Kitwood calls ‘social psychology’.  All this Tom Kitwood puts succinctly as an equation

Dementia = brain pathology +physical health+ biography + social psychology 

I very much value the work of Tom Kitwood and I am pleased that it has had an immense impact on people with dementia, not least on the National Strategy for Dementia.  But Kitwood’s work is not without its problems and a number of writers over the years, including myself, have fully described them.  One of these problems is whether Kitwood’s person centred care really offers people the opportunity to makes choices and have control.  This is an important issue as recent developments in social policy have highlighted the need to develop personalised services for people with dementia and the question is whether  personalisation really achieves this. 

Personalisation is part of government approaches towards health and social care that stars ‘ with the person as an individual with strengths, preferences and aspirations and putting them at the centre of the process of identifying their needs and making choices about how and when they are supported to live their lives’(SCIE 2008).


The temptation is to think that person centred care all about personalisation and that dementia care has been doing personalised dementia support for a long time.  But the recent work of Bartlett and O’Connor suggests that this is not the case and that person centred care is not able to deliver personalisation.  They argue that Kitwood sees communication as a one-way process from the paid-for carer to the person with dementia.  This Bartlett and O’Connor say makes any sort of well being the person with dementia may have, dependent upon the paid-for carer; and this makes them passive and dependent.   Ironically in an approach that seeks to put the person with dementia first, person centred care apparently leads to people with dementia being seen and experiencing little self-direction and ability to make their own choices about the sort of life they want to lead.  This goes in the face of personalisation and shows that person centred care in itself, is inadequate to provide personalised support to people with dementia.    

Over the last year I have been working with Helen Sanderson Associates and others in developing new ways in which we can build upon person centred care and so that fully personalised care can be delivered to people with dementia in care homes.  This has really been a creative and exciting time and through this work we have developed a self-assessment tool for care homes seeking to introduce personalisation. 

Personalised Support to People with Dementia

We are particularly pleased that our work has been commended by Alistair Burns, Dementia Tsar, Department of Health and Jeremy Hughes, CEO, Alzheimer’s Society and we look forward to it being used by care homes through the United Kingdom.  A key aspect of this work is that we used ideas and strategies drawn from an approach called ‘person centred practice’ which though having a similar name to ‘person centred care’ is different in that it develops way of helping people make their voices heard, choices made, and have optimal control.  I see person centred practice as something that can be added to person centred care to provide full personalisation, which person centred care alone cannot do.  Thus I am saying that

Personalised support for people with dementia =

person centred care + person centred practice 


To support care homes seeking to develop personalised support to people we dementia, Liz Leach, from Imagineer and myself are running a two day workshop on personalisation and people with dementia in Halifax on 20th and 21st November. The workshop will be exciting and innovative and will introduce participants to different ways in which personalised support may be offered to people with dementia.  


For more details contact

 Liz Leach, Imagineer at


Trevor Adams PhD runs passionate dementia care which offers specialist training, consultancy and policy analysis in dementia care. 

Sample five-star living at The Westbourne Care Home From The Maria Mallaband Care Group

16 Apr

A five-star residence opens its doors for the first time this week – and members of the local community are invited to take a first look. The Holmes Chapel-based Westbourne development offers sumptuous designer styling and a team of staff dedicated to meeting residents’ every demand. But this is no boutique hotel – the Westbourne is a new breed of care home and 12 close-care retirement villas, where having access to extra support does not mean compromising on style or quality of life.

Potential residents and their families are invited to take a VIP tour of Maria Mallaband Care Group’s latest development between Friday April 20 and Sunday April 22. Visitors will be given a fully guided tour, providing them with a behind-the-scenes look at the sumptuous rooms styled by a London-based designer. They will also be able to explore the lush grounds, speak to members of Westbourne’s care team and check out on-site facilities like the hair and beauty salon, restaurant and bar.

Verity Williams, Care Manager at the home, says: “The Open Weekend is an opportunity for anyone who is considering elderly care to come along with their families and learn about the care services we provide, and see for themselves what luxury care homes really have to offer.

“We’re absolutely delighted The Westbourne is complete and we’re excited that its time to show it to the local community. A lot of thought, detail and planning has gone into this five-star care home and it really does show.

“Anyone interested in finding out more about The Westbourne is welcome to come along this weekend – we’re hoping to see plenty of new faces over the three days.”

The first visitors who are first through the door on Friday will receive a special free gift, as there are 20 signed James Martin cook books on offer, on a first-come-first-served basis. There will also be goodie bags available for all those who visit.

The Westbourne caters for all aspects of care for the elderly including nursing, residential, dementia, respite and day care. It is a purpose built luxury care home, catering for the needs of 50 elderly people, in the most outstanding and sumptuous surroundings. Independent living with support on-hand if required is offered by the selection of 12 retirement villas, while the home itself provides a more intensive level of care. The development’s launch has provided a welcome boost to local jobs, by creating around 50 new positions.

To book a tour or for more information, please call: (0113) 2382690, email, or visit

To make an appointment to come and view the one or two bedroom luxury retirement villas, please call: (01477) 533575, or visit the local branch of Reeds Rains Estate Agents.

As Featured on Key Care Solutions

CQC Inspection changes underway

29 Mar

28 March 2012

Next week, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is starting to introduce improvements to the way it inspects health and social care services. The changes follow a consultation by CQC on how it regulates.

The changes, which will be phased in, mean that CQC will inspect most services more often. It will inspect most hospitals, care homes and domiciliary care providers at least once a year. It will inspect dental and other services at least once every two years.

The regulator will continue to re-inspect those services that fail to meet the government standards and will inspect any service at any time if there are concerns about poor care.

Most inspections will continue to be unannounced. To help do this, CQC is recruiting extra inspectors. This means that inspectors will be responsible for a smaller number of services than in the past. They will be able to spend more time getting to know the services, checking the information they have on each, and responding quickly to concerns about the quality of care. Inspectors will be able to spend more time inspecting and less time on paperwork.

Our inspectors have continual oversight of all 16 government standards. Under the new system, inspections for most types of service will focus on a minimum of five, one from each of five ‘chapter headings’ in CQC’s Guidance about Compliance. Which standards they inspect will be tailored to the type of care provided and the information CQC currently has about the service, including the concerns that people have told us about. Inspectors will be able to focus their time and resources on services that are at higher risk of delivering poor care.

We will judge whether or not providers are meeting the standards. We will focus on where providers are not meeting the standards but include positive findings where we see them.

Experts in different aspects of care often join our inspections, including members of the public who have experience of care. We will be making more use of experts in the future.

Health and social care directory update.

26 Mar

Key care solutions the leading real time social care directory today are pleased to announce the additional features and new look of their website.

The one stop shop now incorporates not just care homes and nursing homes but has evolved to include a variety of services to support the individual care needs required, these can be either in their own home or within a supported care location.

These have been recognised as essential components to provide holistic personal individual support to live a fulfilling and rewarding life, these include;

• Adult day care centres

• Respite or Convalescent care

• Learning disabilities

• Mental health Care

• Home care or Domiciliary Care

• Dementia Care

During the last two years, Key Care Solutions has increased its own organic growth to establish greater presence in the care sector, and develop its website to the needs of the searching public and stationary services.

They are exhibiting again at the Bournemouth Care Show this week (27th – 28th March) on stand W182 where they will be please to answer questions, offer advice on how we can help promote your care service or even sign up your care provision with our care show special offers.

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