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Pat (72) and Tracy (48) celebrate their 18th and 12th Birthdays at Howdon Care Home

2 Mar 2016

Joint celebrations were held at Howdon Care Home in Wallsend Tyneside, on Monday 29th Februrary, as two people celebrated their birthdays.

Resident Pat McIlvenney celebrated turning 18, whilst carer Tracy turned 12.

“I’m older than my son, Ryan, who is 18,” laughed Tracy, who was born in 1968.

“I remember when he was 10, I was 10 too, and he said you can’t be mam, look at the size of us. It took a bit of explaining.”

A big party was held for Pat – who is actually 72 -, from North Shields, which was attended by her family, many of her 70 fellow residents and staff members at the home.

“Pat is very excited about it,” said Tracy. “We have a good chat about it and a joke. After all, you’re not 18 every day.

“I get on well with Pat, we all do. I’ve got her a little present.”

Pat and Tracy belong to a select group. The chance of being born on a leap day is one in 1,461 and as such there are five million leaplings around the world.

The poet Lord Byron was born on a leap day, as were rapper Ja Rule and former Newcastle United Darren Ambrose.

Tracy added: “Obviously you celebrate your birthday in non Leap years, but what date you choose can be different.

“Pat celebrates hers on February 28 and I celebrate mine on March 1.

“When it is my official birthday I tend to do something a bit special.”

Abigail Lodge Men's Group - gardening

1 Mar 2016

Here at Four Seasons Health Care we’re committed to providing positive experiences for our residents. This could be something we do alone or in partnership with other organisations.

Abigail Lodge Care Home in Consett, have run a men’s group with Beamish, the Living Museum of the North. The pilot scheme allowed the men to socialise with one another and take part in activities based on their interests at Orchard Cottage.

The power of positive partnership working was highlighted in a recent case study, written by Beamish which is based on the group.

The case study can be read below:

“An example of a partnership with a Care home is our development of a ‘Men’s Group’ for men living in Four Season’s Care Homes. This originated from our original Men’s Group, which was set up in 2014 in partnership with an Occupational therapist at a hospital near to the Museum. It was for a group of men all living independently at home, with a range of cognitive impairments, with the aim of providing opportunities for them to socialise with other men and take part in group activities based on their interests and skills, e.g. woodwork, painting, DIY. One of the members of this group later moved into a care home as his dementia was advancing quite rapidly. This gentleman was so keen to continue to come to the Museum, and most importantly to water his leeks in the garden, as were his family, that we contacted the Activities Coordinator at his care home to see if we could arrange for him to still visit regularly as part of a group, and importantly, as part of a group of men.

“Through speaking to colleagues within the Four Seasons Group there was great enthusiasm for this unique opportunity for some of their male residents, especially given the very common high ratio of women to men in care homes and the common difficulty in trying to find activities that men will enjoy engaging with. 3 Care Homes, all near to each other, share the transport and regularly bring a group of men to Orchard Cottage. As well as gardening and tending to our prize winning vegetables (the gentleman won 1st & 3rd for the onions and leeks in our Agricultural Show!) we do all sorts of things together, whatever the group like to do. One of the participants ran a bakery for years and so taught everyone how to make bread and, weather permitting, we always try to go for a short walk somewhere too. As well the evident benefits for the men, with comments from them such as “the one good thing about having this dementia is that I get to come here”, the care home staff have also said they feel they are more confident in thinking of different activities they could do at the care home and they also feel they have got to know these residents much better and have discovered lots of things from their life story that they otherwise wouldn’t have found out.”

More information about Beamish, the Living Museum of the North and the service they provide is available on their website. Information regarding Orchard Cottage and the sessions there is available here.

nursing care home flowers

1 Mar 2016

The NHS is going to waste £3.3 billion caring for patients who don’t need medical treatment but the money would be better spent on a Fast Track Discharge Fund to move vulnerable older people into care homes, according to a report from the independent think tank ResPublica.

In Care after cure: creating a fast track pathway from hospitals to homes, ResPublica says thousands of hospital beds would be freed up for medical cases and residential care homes could look after recuperating patients who currently block wards because they have no safe place to go.

ResPublica has found caring for all delayed transfer patients in a residential care setting would cost £835 million over five years to 2020/21, compared to £3.3 billion in an acute bed. The report argues the remaining £2.4 billion should be invested in bed capacity, skills, training and facilities in residential care to allow the sector to step up to this more substantial role.

Director of ResPublica, Phillip Blond, said: “The way health and social care work together needs to improve dramatically.

“The bed blocking crisis in the NHS is only getting worse – clogging up wards and leaving newly arrived patients on trolleys in hospital corridors. Meanwhile, as ResPublica showed last year, a staggering 37,000 beds could be lost in residential care homes over the next five years because the sector is losing money for every publicly funded resident.

“To redress both of these awful situations care homes should be given the necessary financial resources as an appropriate alternate care setting to alleviate the problem of bed blocking.”

A Fast Track Discharge Fund would also address the crisis which is seeing care homes closing because of the low amount they currently receive for funded residents, and the impact of the National Living Wage.

Out-of-hospital services - largely in residential care homes - for patients fit to leave wards but in need of extra support would improve under the fund, which would be used by Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The report found that as well as healthcare needs being met by nursing staff in care homes, pressure would be reduced on accident and emergency departments, where there has been a sharp decline in meeting the 4 hour target to conduct an initial assessment on 95% of patients.

Report author Emily Crawford said: “The gap between social care and hospitals needs to be bridged. Residential homes can provide good quality care for people who are currently being left in hospital beds. These patients, often frail and elderly, stand a much better chance of recovering in the community than in a hospital.

“As we confront the task of caring for an ageing population with finite budgets, this would also free up the much needed beds on our NHS wards.”

  • Over the past five years (2011/12-2015/16), the health service spent £2bn caring for patients who are medically fit to leave. Over the next five years to 2020/2021, £3.3 billion will be spent by hospitals on acute care for patients who have no medical requirement to be there.
  • The equivalent of 3,575 hospital beds were continually taken up by patients who had no medical need for them in 2011/12. This will rise by 21% to 4, 282 beds by the end of this financial year (2015/16).
  • By 2020/21, ResPublica estimates that the equivalent number of hospital beds continually ‘blocked’ will reach over 5,300. This means that for every two ‘bed blocking’ patients in hospitals in 2011/12, there will be three such patients in 2020/21.

The report authors highlighted a human, as well as financial, cost to bed blocking with frail older people unnecessarily in a hospital bed being much better served by expert care in the community. On a ward they are at risk of hospital acquired infection, emotional ill health and a loss of independence.

Ian Smith, Chairman of Four Seasons Healthcare, said: “Discharging medically stable patients from hospital to a recovery period of care in a nursing home is a good idea that works in practice. We know because is already happening in our homes, although so far it is on a relatively small scale. We currently have around 375 people who are recuperating in our homes while their longer term care needs are assessed and arrangements made for their on-going care. It is freeing up hospital beds and saving NHS budgets. We recently launched a 24-7 rapid response assessment and admissions service that helps hospital discharge teams to locate care services in appropriate homes.”

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