No there isn’t a typo in the title. And no, you haven’t been living under a rock for 12 months. This is the 2018 year in review, where we look back on what (hopefully) happened in a (hopefully) successfully year for all of us in the care sector.

 

First things first, the winter months are always a worrying and difficult time for care homes. The risk of infection spreading during these cold months poses a great threat to the wellbeing of our elderly residents. However, at the end of 2017 a government announcement circulated to all care providers reminding them that one of the main causes of residents picking up viruses and infections was their lack of exposure to fresh air during the colder months.

“Naturally,” the announcement began, “we all wish to keep warm during the winter, particularly the elderly. However, in our efforts to stay warm, viruses and other bacteria have the opportunity to flourish in the warmer and more enclosed environments, leading the risk of s spread of infections which can present a great threat to the health of residents living in a care home.

Therefore, it is highly recommended and encouraged that all care homes ensure there is a constant flow of fresh air circulating throughout the care home at all times to prevent the spread of these bacteria. 

This can be achieved through the small openings of windows at all times, or a short burst of fresh air through numerous open windows periodically throughout the day. Care providers are also encouraged to explore the option of purchasing heat recovery systems in their home, which can supply a steady stream of clean air while maintaining the core temperature of the home.”

In the immediate aftermath following this announcement, care providers all over the nation heeded the governments advice and began adding to their homes policies to ensure a constant supply of clean, fresh air flowing at all times in their care homes.

Some operators spoke of disgruntled residents complaining of the cold. However through brainstorms were able to appease them by adding extra layers of clothing to combat any cold they may have been feeling.

elderly couple

Other operators demonstrated more innovation by deciding to increase the opportunities for residents to go outdoors over the winter, including trips to the local parks, a walk to the local shop and also to assist with gardening in oder to prepare for the spring bloom.

All in all, these new practices were successful in reducing the number of hospital admissions during the winter period for residents from care homes. In particular, the number of residents admitted with chest infections or the flu (in addition to the flu jab) dramatically decreased by over 50% nationally.

Light bulb

Following the Chancellor’s 2015 Autumn Budget where he announced £66m would be spent in 2016 on research finding a cure for Dementia, scientists have recently stated that they believe a breakthrough is finally imminent as we head into 2019.

They have announced that initial trials of a new discovery have yielded positive results, and that progress towards a cure is moving at a fast pace, with an official announcement set for the start of 2019.

In this years Spring Budget, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced an increase of 25% funding to be made available to care home fees for residents via their Local Authorities. The announcement came after the pressure of the Living Wage introduced in April 2016 posed a grave risk to many providers who were unable to bridge the financial gap.

However the Chancellor’s announcement ensured the survival of these operators and the survival of thousands of residents homes as caregivers across the nation received their new Living Wage in a now more financially secure sector.

For those caregivers, the new Living Wage contributed towards an overall increase of happiness in work of 30% in the sector, with many stating they can now enjoy a brighter outlook in their future as the Living Wage will continue to rise.

young people in careIn addition, the care sector welcomed 6,000 more young people to the sector compared with 2017.

Those who have joined either as apprentices or full-time carers spoke of the real potential and buzz in the sector as the financial instabilities of the past are finally being gradually secured, with a view to flourishing in the not-so-distant future.

Finally, 2018 saw the joint collaboration of the CQC and CSSIW in England and Wales as they created the newly formed Care Board.

The Board, headed up jointly by the Chief Inspector’s of the CQC and CSSIW, welcomes leaders and innovators from various sectors who will assist in re-writing the standards and expectations of care homes.

Those on the board include a former CEO of one of the world’s leading hotel brands, the head of one of the UK’s leading recruitment company’s, a former Chief Exec for a major high street bank, a renowned motivational speaker for Leadership, and, of course, the CEO of one of the UK’s most respected care providers.

It is hoped that these diverse experiences and skills that are now available to care regulators will boost their ability to develop the care sector with innovative practices and modern methods.

the future of care

For a long time the industry has greatly needed a fresh perspective for customer service, leadership, development and training in order to fully achieve its goal of being a global leader in providing care for those members of our society who need it.

It is hoped that this injection of talent who compile the Care Board will raise the bar to heights never before seen in 2019 and beyond. The CQC and CSSIW have stated their excitement for the future of care homes.

2018 has certainly been a successful year for care homes. Not only has this year brought us great joy, it’s also planted the seeds of tomorrow for us. As we enter 2019 we find ourselves step out from the age of uncertainty, and into the unique position of looking ahead with great enthusiasm and earnest.

P.S. Donald Trump is still President.

 

What did you think of our 2018 Year in Review? Does that sound like the kind of year you’d like to see happen? Tell us what else you would want to see happen on your wish list for the year ahead.

Leave us a comment below, or email us your thoughts.