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Help and FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Helper is a online platform that helps carers connect with clients that require care. By showing carer profiles publicly, clients are able to search with a postcode to find carers close by. 

Clients can then book visits with carers and pay for the visits, all through our helper.community platform.

First, you should fill out our online application before we can get you onto the platform. We will then interview you, check your DBS and your qualifications, to make sure that you are as great as you say you are.

We then ask you to write a summary of your care experience and some of your interests in life,  which will appear on your live profile for clients to read.

The photo we take or you send in will be uploaded on the platform (the photo is very important and must be a photo of a professional nature).

We then activate your profile to our site and local clients can then search and browse your profile.

We ask them to get in touch with you directly, to get to know you and discuss what care they need. Once you are both happy to work together we ask that an intro visit is booked, to make sure you get on in person and are happy to deliver the care they need.

We provide a payments platform and we handle the contracting, so that you have peace of mind, knowing that your relationship is properly protected.

At Helper, we hope to help you become a successful independent carer.

We give you access to more clients, we help find clients for you and the client can choose to request your services, so you know each client that gets in touch has actively chosen to do so.

Helper gives you more control, so you can set your own wage, work in your own time and work for the people you want to work for.

Helper.community will be less admin as we handle the contracting and payments, we also provide tools to give you access to your client’s information and communicate. Most importantly it will be better pay, as an independent carer you can charge what you like, we only take 20%, which is significantly better than a traditional agency.

We hope it is, however you should think about it for yourself.

With Helper you get all the upsides of being an independent carer; You earn more, your time is flexible, and you can choose who you work with and decline clients you may not be able to work with successfully.

You don’t face the downsides of being an independent carer: We help connect you to clients, contract and manage payments, and can advise you about being an independent carer.

However, ultimately you own the client relationship, so you have to be prepared for that.

As an online service we have significantly lower administration costs. We also seek to reduce the travel times of your journey by only allowing local clients to get in touch, saving you time and money. By connecting clients to you, we save carers time searching for clients.

To join helper you must complete our three step process.

  1. Fill out our online application form here
  2. Create your profile, fill in as much information as possible. 
  3. Phone and meet. We will phone you and book in a time to meet so we can check your documents such as a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) form. We will also take a photo for your profile to be shown on our platform.

If all steps are complete and we are satisfied with all the requirements met, you will be activated as a live carer on helper.community. 

Once you are live on helper.community, clients will be able to find your profile if you are local to the client. 

Working with Helper means that clients will contact you, saving you time applying for multiple jobs.

To optimise your chances of picking up a client you should:

  • Check your messages regularly: Ensure that opportunities don’t pass you by just because the client has already found someone else.
  • Communicate clearly: Be open and honest in your communication with clients. Make sure that you understand what will probably be required from you before your trial shift and be sure that you have the skills and capabilities they need.
  • Finally make sure that you are able to travel to the client at the time required. Once you have agreed on a visit, have the client book the visit, using the book visit form.

helper.community uses an intregrated online service to charge clients and pay carers.

Our integrated payment system is Stripe. Stripe is a secure payment handling platform used by more than 10'000 businesses globally, including Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Unicef and many more so you can be sure your financial details are in safe hands. To find out more visit Stripe 

We charge the client after 24 - 48 hours once the visit is completed and then transfer the money into your Stripe connect account. 

The reason for the small delay in charging the client is so we can resolve any disputes intiated by either you or the client, should we need to. This will also prevent any fraudulent activity for all parties involved and safeguards the payment process. 

Once the money is in your Stripe connect account, withdrawal to your bank account will take up to 7 days. 

Visit Stripe support here

You can login into your Stripe Connect account to check any payments and activity on your account. Login using the email and password you used to set up Stripe.

Log in here

The first visit is called an intro visit. The intro visit is used as a way for both carer and client to understand the care requirements but more importantly if both are able to work together to achieve the best care. 

Use this first hour to get to know the client, conduct a risk assetment and impress with your professionalism. Get an understanding of what care the client requires.

If you are given specific tasks that need achieving then impress and build trust by showing your experience and skill set.

Below is a guideline of how you conduct your first intro visit

  • Greet with a smile and ask how to address your client by asking what name you should use
  • Offer to make a cup of tea and sit down for a chat with the client
  • Get to know your client by asking questions about their interests and what is important to their care
  • Ask the client about the care they require and their specific conditions
  • Ask if they have any tasks that need completing whilst you are there
  • Ask if the client wants to work with you going forward
  • Get the client to book new visits through helper.community or if their loved ones are able to book on their behalf
  • If your client would prefer not to book anymore visits with you, then you should thank them for their time and wish the client well
  • If you are successful then wait for the new visits to be booked through helper.community and start your new professional care relationship

It is important to note that there will be clients who may not want to book any further visits with you. This is not always a reflection on you or your experience, however people have specific requirements and would like to feel reassured that you are able to meet those requirements. 

If you follow our guide to visits above, then hopefully this will ensure you are able to continue working with the client. 

Helping the older generation and the vulnerable has been around for over 100 years with several different organisations working towards the same goal. Slowly over the years the different organisations have merged bringing all their history and knowledge together to form the organisation known today as Age UK.

It is the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone in later life, supporting more than 7 million people every year with a wide range of issues. Their vision is that everyone should be able to enjoy later life.

Age UK work with independent organisations that can offer and assist with various information from legal matters, care, travel and housing also its friends of Age UK, the friends help to support in the local community and these are often done on a voluntary basis. Or finding a specialist service that a person may require. These are a few things the friends help to arrange, such as:

  • Visiting / Befriending
  • Café / restaurant
  • Social activities
  • Exercise/physical activity
  • IT training
  • Shopping
  • Dementia support
  • Foot care
  • Transport
  • Daycare / centre
  • Products for later life
  • Information and signposting

Their website has plenty of valuable information but also how you can support Age UK through their charity shops by making donations and buying their lottery/raffle tickets. Also Age UK has a list of trusted tradespeople in your local area which can help if an elderly person requires work to be carried out in their home.

 

Visit their website now

 

You can also phone Age UK on 0800 055 6112

Once you are on our platform, there are a few things you can do to improve your prospects.

Check and edit your profile, make sure that it is representative of your skills and experiences, ensure that you are happy with the price you are charging and the language in your profile.

You may want to check out other carers to see how you compare; Are you price competitive at your skill level? Have they mentioned things that you could also mention? Have they written it in a more engaging way?

Finally, once you accept your first visit from a client you will be required to set up your payments details through our stripe system to get paid.

Policies

Helper Safeguarding Policy

Introduction

Helper Community Ltd is committed to supporting the rights of the vulnerable in our society to be protected from abuse and to making sure all staff, caregivers, clients and care recipients work collaboratively, in line with the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults legislation, and act promptly when dealing with allegations or suspicions of abuse.

Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone, to work together to prevent and minimise abuse. If you have concerns that someone is being abused your duty of care to the vulnerable person comes before anything else.

If you know, or suspect, that a vulnerable person is at risk of abuse or exploitation, you will follow the reporting procedures set out. The importance of recording all information in the correct manor will assist in the protection of the person. You must work within the boundaries of the legislation of the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults and Young people. Please see the link below to expand on the government policies in an easy pocket-guide format.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/adult-pocket-guide.pdf

What is a vulnerable person?

A vulnerable person can be any person (though in this case a patient/client) of any age who is, or may be, for any reason unable to take care, or have full control of his/herself, or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or exploitation. This includes persons who fall under the Vulnerable Persons Act.

Safeguarding is designed to protect the rights of persons living with a mental disability who need assistance to meet their basic needs. A vulnerable person may also be someone living with physical impairment, a sensory impairment, diminished cognitive or mental health, people who are substance or alcohol dependent, or family carers who are providing assistance to other vulnerable persons.

What is abuse?

Abuse is a violation of an individual's human and civil rights by any other persons(s) or group of people. Abuse may be single or can be repeated acts, and can be identified as:

  • Physical: for example, hitting, slapping, burning, pushing, restraining or intentionally giving the wrong medication with intent to cause harm.
  • Psychological and emotional: for example, shouting, swearing, frightening, blaming, ignoring or humiliating a person, threats of harm or abandonment, intimidation, verbal abuse.
  • Financial: including the illegal or unauthorised use of a person's property, money, pension book or other valuables, pressure in connection with Wills, property or inheritance.
  • Sexual: such as forcing a person to take part in any sexual activity without his or her informed consent – this can occur in any relationship.
  • Discriminatory: including racist or sexist remarks or comments based on a person's disability, age or illness, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment. This also includes stopping someone from being involved in religious or cultural activity, services or support networks; Institutional: the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to vulnerable people. This includes a failure to ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to protect vulnerable adults and maintain good standards of care in accordance with individual needs, including training of staff, supervision and management, record keeping and liaising with other providers of care.
  • Neglect and acts of omission: including ignoring medical or physical care needs. These can be deliberate or unintentional, amounting to abuse by a carer or self-neglect by the vulnerable person: for example, where a person is deprived of food, heat, clothing, comfort or essential medication, or failing to provide access to appropriate health or social care services.

How Might We Notice Abuse?

Concerns about or evidence of abuse can come to your attention via:

  • A direct disclosure by the vulnerable adult.
  • A complaint or expression of concern by another member of staff, a volunteer, another service user, a carer, or a member of the public or relative.
  • An observation of a personal change of behaviour by the vulnerable person, also a change in behaviour in the interaction between other people this could be relatives, caregivers or associates.

Helper.community Ltd is committed to supporting clients and carers when and by:

  • When abuse of a vulnerable persons has been identified.
  • Responding effectively to any circumstances giving grounds for concern, or where formal complaints or expressions of anxiety are expressed.
  • Raising awareness of the extent of abuse on vulnerable adults and its impact on them. Promoting and supporting training designed to reduce abuse and the fear of abuse as experienced by vulnerable adults.
  • Regularly monitoring and evaluating how our policies, procedures and practices for protecting vulnerable adults are working.
  • Making sure our policies, procedures and practices stay up to date with good practice and the legislations in relation to safeguarding vulnerable adults.
  • Ensuring our procedures is in line with the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults Legislation.

Prevention and Confidentiality

All carers will have Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks before they have direct contact with vulnerable persons. All carers will be requested to read the Helper community Ltds Safeguarding Policy and Procedure and will accept and understand this. Where abuse to a vulnerable person is alleged, suspected, reported or concerns are raised, the Safeguarding Adults Procedure must be followed.

The confidentiality of the vulnerable person will be respected wherever possible and their consent obtained to share information. The vulnerable person should be made aware that carers cannot ignore issues around abuse and that steps will be taken to deal with them in as sensitive a manner as possible. The welfare of the individual is paramount.

Useful Contact: Care Quality Commission - Tel: 03000 616161.

Safeguarding Procedure - The Procedure in Detail

If you think abuse has or may have occurred, act immediately. It is the responsibility of the person first becoming aware of a situation where there may be a vulnerable adult subject to, or at risk of abuse, to deal with the immediate needs of the person. This may mean taking reasonable steps to ensure the person is in no immediate danger and seeking medical treatment if required as a matter of urgency.

Do NOT discuss the allegation of abuse with the alleged perpetrator. Do NOT disturb or destroy articles that could be used in evidence. Where an assault of some kind is suspected do not wash or bathe the person unless this is associated with first aid treatment necessary to prevent further harm.

Contact the police and ambulance service on 999 if it is thought a crime has just been committed or emergency services required.

Record details of the allegation as soon as possible somewhere that can be kept secure.

Make sure you remember the following:

If you think abuse has or may have occurred. Act immediately! Make sure the person is safe. Contact the police/ emergency services immediately if it is thought a crime has just been committed, contact the local council, safeguarding team and record all details of the allegation. Also please inform helper community by incident report log and telephone when in a safe space.

Important to note:

Helper will stand by all carers who feel that their patient is at risk and provide due support in any process going forward.

Helper Privacy Policy

The data that we collect, how we collect it and why.

We collect the data that you share with us whilst using the service and the data that you generate whilst using the service.

We will only process protected data, such as information about your health, if such processing is required to help treat or manage the heath of the patient, or when we specifically obtain consent from you.

Data that you share with us in order to receive value from the service:

  • Contact information including your name, e-mail, telephone number and address
  • Information about the patient including their issues, medications and information reported back via the reporting feature and chat functions, and information you share via these functions
  • Billing information such as amount paid or earnt
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Log-in information such as username and password (Your password will be encrypted, so we will not see it)

The following only applies to carers who use the platform:

  • Information on your profile, such as your picture, bio, skills and capabilities
  • Information generated throughout the application process, including a copy of your DBS (sighted, but not stored, in compliance with all DBS registered body regulations)

Other information that we request in order to better serve you:

  • Feedback and survey information
  • Issues and complaints information
  • Chat logs

Payment information:

  • Although you do enter this information, Helper does not receive it. Payment card information is transmitted directly to a third-party payment card processor, Stripe, through Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology. Stripe then informs Helper whether or not the payment has been processed but does not provide payment information. Stripe's privacy policy is available here.

The information we collect through technology, is collected to better serve you:

  • Some services that we use may collect your Internet Protocol (IP) address (This shows them your ISP or geographic area but on its own, does not identify you, however, could be linked with an IP address you used to access Helper).
  • We may also collect a unique identifier for your computer, mobile device, or other device used to access the Helper ("Device Identifier") which could be used to identify which pages you viewed and be linked to other information you have provided us
  • Cookies used to track you across the web, however, we don’t link this to your profile. These are stored on your browser, so you can delete them at any time.
  • Web Beacons, such as the Facebook Pixel, tell us how you navigate around the platform. We use this data in aggregate, to improve our services.

Information You Provide About A Third Party:

  • We collect data you share with us, such as name and email, via our referral scheme
  • Any information that you provide about someone else, must be done so with their consent

How we use the data we collect

We use the information we collect to serve you, improve that service, recruit carers, ensure safeguarding and promote our services. These uses include but is not limited to:

  • Registering you on the platform
  • Enabling you to send and receive messages
  • Enabling you to schedule, reschedule and cancel services
  • Rating and reviewing the service
  • Reporting on the work that has been done
  • Managing payments for services
  • Recruiting carers
  • Ensuring safeguarding for the benefit of clients/patients
  • Providing carers with patient information where required
  • Providing public profiles of carers
  • Addressing complaints, questions and feedback
  • Investigating disputes and other issues
  • Troubleshooting technical problems
  • Communicating with you by email, telephone, or text messages
  • Improving our services
  • Sending you marketing and promotional materials
  • Marketing and advertising products and services
  • Identifying and preventing privacy breaches
  • Informing you of changes to our privacy policy

If you wish to opt-out of promotional e-mails, text messages, or other communications, you may opt-out by following the unsubscribe link at hte bottom of oyur emails, or by contacting Helper directly.

We delete information about you, where required to by law and on your direct request. We also remove information that we consider inappropriate or no longer relevant, at our sole discretion.

Where we collect and use ‘sensitive’ or ‘special categories’ of personal data, such as details about your health, we will seek specific permissions from you to process such data as part of the services we provide in accordance with this privacy policy and Data Protection Legislation.

Except as expressly set out in this privacy policy we do not share, sell, or lease personal information about you to any third parties for their marketing use.

Your Rights

Your data is just that, it belongs to you. As such, you have a number or rights:

  • To be informed about the processing, transfer, storage and origin of additional data.
  • To be informed of any profiling based on the data you provide
  • To receive a copy of your data on request, or have that transferred to a third party
  • To have it deleted on request
  • To object to how it has been, or is being processed and used and to be able to opt out of such processing and subsequent decision making on the basis of your data
  • To request us to stop contacting you.

Who we share the data with:

We do not share your Personal Information with third parties, other than as disclosed in this Privacy Policy, at the time you provide your information. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Information about clients
  • Informaton about carers

In order to provide you with a high level of service, we share information entered about patients with the carers working for them. Clients can request that this permission be retracted at any time. This can include:

  • Patient information shared in the care plan
  • Medication information shared in the care plan
  • Previous reports, which act as handoffs between carers

Information about carers:

Helper publicly shares information about the carers on the platform including but not limited to:

  • Biography
  • Picture
  • Skills and capabilities
  • Reviews and aggregate rating

Where a review has been shared Helper retains the right to share the review in full, the rating and the first name and initial of the person who provided the rating, as well as their general location

Carers may use this information to promote their services, as will Helper.

Sharing information with Third Parties

Third party companies and individuals provide or facilitate certain aspects of the services offered through the Helper. We may provide these third-party service providers with access to your information, including your Personal Information so that they can perform these services for us. We require these third-party service providers to provide safeguards for your Personal Information similar to the ones that we provide. We may share your information in the following ways:

  • We may contract with third-party service providers to help us improve our services
  • We may disclose your Personal Information when obtaining legal advice
  • We use Stripe, a third-party service provider, to process any billing information, including credit card information you submit
  • 3rd parties you come into contact with whilst using Helper may request information which we will provide with your permission. This information will then fall under their privacy policy
  • We may be required to disclose Personal Information in response to a court order
  • We may disclose account and other Personal Information when we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with the law or to protect the rights, property, or safety of Helper, our users, or others. This includes exchanging Personal Information with other companies and organizations for fraud prevention and credit risk reduction

Cookies:

All Cookies used by this Website are used in accordance with current UK and EU Cookie Law.

How we keep your data safe

Data security is important to us, we have implemented technical, administrative, and physical security measures to protect your Personal Information from unauthorized access or disclosure and improper use.

Only employees who need to access your information to perform their roles are given access to it, this is controlled and access revoked at the earliest opportunity. Employees are made aware of the importance of data privacy and security.

Where password access is required, you are responsible for keeping your password confidential.

Please note that despite our reasonable efforts, no security measure is ever perfect or impenetrable, so we cannot guarantee the security of your Personal Information. 

General

Helper reserves the right to change this privacy policy at its sole discretion or where required to by law. We will share those changes with you as they occur.

We do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age, as anyone younger than 13 is not authorised to use Helper.

In the event of any sale of Helper, we reserve the right to disclose and transfer your information, including your Personal Information to the subsequent owner:

Where any part of this privacy policy is found to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable, that part will be deleted, however, this does not affect any other part of the policy

This Agreement will be governed by and interpreted according to the law of England and Wales. All disputes arising under the Agreement will be subject to the jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts. 

Contact information & Complaints

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact helper at Admin@helper.community.

If you have any concerns about our use of your information, you also have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office, which regulates and supervises the use of personal data in the UK, via their helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Helper DBS Policy

DBS stands for Disclosure & Barring Service.

Helper follows all policies regarding DBS certificates as outlined in the code of practice published under section 122 of the Police Act, 1997. Helper supports the notion that all persons be treated fairly and in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, helper therefore acknowledges spent convictions and cautions for what they are, and will not use any information issued within the DBS certificate in any way than to ensure the direct safety of clients and patients. Helper stands against discrimination for any reason, our revision of DBS certificates is only for the prevention of those who have committed recent and/or violent, sexual or safeguarding related crimes from working with vulnerable persons.

Helper will make use of the update system as best possible. We expect most checks to return messages indicating that the DBS is clear, and that there has been no recent issues, however in the event of these messages appearing:

* “This DBS certificate remains current as no further information has been identified since its issue.”   

* “This DBS certificate is no longer current. Please apply for a new DBS check to get the most up-to-date information.”

Helper will request to view the applicants original certificate. 

In order to undertake checks Helper requires, permissions from the individual applying, valid photographic identification and all the details required to check the update service and/or to view the original certificate.

The DBS code of practice guides the practice of Helper in regards to checking and Helper maintains that they remain within the following, whereby Helper is referred to as ‘Registered Body’:

The DBS Code of Practice

Introduction

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was established in December 2012 under Part V of the Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) to undertake disclosure and barring functions. There are specific legal requirements around these checks. Disclosure functions are set out in Part V of the Police Act 1997, which requires Registered Bodies to adhere to this Code of Practice.

Who does this Code apply to?

The Code of Practice applies to all Registered Bodies with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) under section 120 of the Police Act 1997 (Registered Bodies) and recipients of Update Service information under section 116A of the Police Act 1997. This includes those Registered Bodies that provide an umbrella function to non registered organisations. The Code refers to any information exchanged between DBS and the Registered Body.

The Code of Practice does not apply to other third parties. The DBS will seek to ensure compliance with the Code through the full range of DBS assurance management processes.

All applicants for a DBS check should be made aware of this Code of Practice and provided with a copy on request.

Disclosure Offences: Sections 123 and 124 of the Police Act 1997

Although certificates are now provided directly to the applicant, registered bodies will receive personal information related to applications and, where registered bodies are also employers, voluntary sector organisations or licensing authorities, will receive disclosure information when certificates are provided to them by their employees or applicants for posts, including volunteers.

Recipients of disclosure information, through electronic means or via the applicant’s copy of the disclosure, must note that it is an offence to disclose information contained within a DBS Certificate to any person who is not a member, officer or employee of the Registered Body or their client, unless a relevant legal exception applies. Furthermore, it is also an offence to:

1. Disclose information to any member, officer or employee where it is not related to that employee’s duties.

2. Knowingly make a false statement for the purpose of obtaining, or enabling another person to obtain, a Certificate.

3. Revised Code of Practice for Disclosure and Barring Service Registered Persons.

Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service information believed to have committed an offence will be liable to prosecution, suspension or de-registration.

What happens if the Code is breached?

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006 sets out Conditions of Registration. Regulation 7(h) is for compliance with the Code of Practice issued under section 122 of the Act.

Failure to comply with Conditions of Registration can result in the suspension or cancellation of registration. This follows a set legislative process with clear timescales.

Failure to comply with requirements set out in the Data Protection Act may also result in enforcement action from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The Obligations

Registration Details

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006 sets out the obligations a Registered Body must meet in order to retain its registration.

Registered Bodies must:

1. Provide up-to-date information to the DBS in respect of their registration information and counter signatories in line with current procedures.

2. Maintain all accounts, online or otherwise, for all DBS products and delete when no longer required.

3. Ensure any electronic system used complies with specifications set out in the above regulations.

Application Process

Registered Bodies must:

1. Submit applications for a DBS product in the format determined by DBS.

2. Ensure that applications for a DBS product are completed accurately and that all data fields determined by DBS as mandatory are completed in full.

3. Ensure that any application submitted electronically complies with DBS specifications as stipulated in line with current requirements.

4. Ensure that, where evidence checkers complete any part of the administration of the application process, sufficient training has been provided to enable same degree of accuracy required by DBS of the counter signatory.

Identity Verification

Registered Bodies must:

1. Verify the identity of the applicant prior to the submission of an application for a DBS product by following the current guidelines issued by DBS.

2. Ensure that any person undertaking identity verification checks on their behalf follows the current guidelines issued by DBS.

3. Make sure lead or counter signatories do not validate their own applications for any DBS products.

Data Handling

Failure to comply with DPA requirements could result in enforcement action from the ICO.

In line with the Data Protection Act 1998 Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service information must:

1. Have a written policy on the secure handling of information provided by DBS, electronically or otherwise, and make it available to individuals at the point of requesting them to complete a DBS application form or asking consent to use their information to access any service DBS provides.

2. Handle all information provided to them by DBS, as a consequence of applying for a DBS product, in line with the obligations under Data protection Act 1998.

3. Handle all DBS related information provided to them by their employee or potential employee in line with the obligations under Data Protection Act 1998.

4. Ensure that a result received as part of an application submitted electronically is not reproduced in such a way that it infers that it is a certificate issued by DBS.

5. Ensure any third parties are aware of the Data Protection Principles and provide them with guidance on secure handling and storage of information. For Data Protection purposes, information passed to a Registered Body by DBS remains the responsibility of the Registered Body even if passed to a third party.

6. Ensure business continuity and disaster recovery measures are in place and comply with Data Protection requirements.

7. Must comply with security requirements under principle 7 of the Data Protection Act.

Suitability Policy

Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service information must:

1. Have a written policy on the suitability of ex-offenders for employment in relevant positions. This should be available upon request to potential applicants and, in the case of those carrying out an umbrella function, should be made available to their clients. Clients of Registered Bodies should make this policy available to their potential or existing employees.

2. Ensure that all applicants for relevant positions or employment are notified in advance of the requirement for a Disclosure.

3. Notify all potential applicants of the potential effect of a criminal record history on the recruitment and selection process and any recruitment decision.

4. Discuss the content of the Disclosure with the applicant before withdrawing any offer of employment.

Payment of Fees

Registered Bodies must:

* Pay all registration fees in line with time periods set out in current procedures.

* Pay all fees relating to DBS products in line with time periods set out in current procedures.

* Pay all fees related to criminal records check applications submitted after any decision by the DBS to suspend registration or deregister the organisation.

* Correctly apply the Police Act definition of a volunteer to each criminal records check application to assert eligibility that no fee should be charged for that application.

* Publish all fees, in relevant documentation, associated with the processing of criminal records check applications when you do so on behalf of others.

* Notify the DBS in writing of any change to the fees associated with the processing of Criminal records check applications when you do so on behalf of others.

Eligibility

Eligibility for DBS checks is set out in the following legislation:

* Standard checks – to be eligible for a standard level DBS certificate, the position must be included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

* Enhanced checks – to be eligible for an enhanced level DBS certificate, the position must be included in both the ROA Exceptions Order and in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations.

* Enhanced checks with children’s and/or adults’ barred list check(s) – to be eligible to request a check of the barred lists, the position must be eligible for an enhanced level DBS certificate and be specifically listed in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations as being eligible to check the appropriate barred list(s).

Registered Bodies must:

1. Use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that they only submit Criminal Records check applications in accordance with the legislative provisions which provide eligibility criteria for relevant positions or employment.

2. Ensure that before allowing a DBS check application to be submitted they have assessed the role to be eligible under current legislation, correctly applied the right level of check, and correctly requested the appropriate barring list information.

3. Ensure they are legally entitled to request any DBS product being applied for.

Compliance Requests

Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service Information must cooperate in full and in line with the timescales in current procedures, when DBS enquiries are made in relation to:

1. Ongoing compliance of Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service information with the obligations under this Code.

2. Implementing the suspension or de-registration of a Registered Body where non-compliance is established in line with current procedures.

Helpers Smoking policy

In the interest of occupational Health & Safety as a professional independent worker we advise:

  • A tobacco-free environment helps create a safer, healthier workplace. Research also suggests that employers are less likely to miss work due to tobacco-related illnesses
  • Helper Community recognizes the hazards caused by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, as well as the life-threatening diseases linked to the use of all forms of tobacco
  • Independent carers are advised to refrain from smoking while in the client’s home, and are advised to refrain from smoking within grounds of the client’s home as this can create an unprofessional image. It is also recommended that Carers attempt to reduce the noticeable traces of tobacco before entering a client’s property/home 
  • Independent carers may discuss the integration of a designated smoking area for use by the client if needed during the duration of the visit or can gently ask the client to refrain from smoking inside the premises. However if this is refused then it is up to the carer to identfy whether it remains a workable contract. 

If your client wishes to give up smoking, you could offer information on where they can receive support:

Via phone;

  • Contact the NHS Smokefree National Helpline Mon - Fri 9am-8pm or Weekends 11am-4pm on:

03001231044

Or via the Internet;

Not smoking lowers the risk of multiple, often severe illnesses, reduces the risk of fires in homes, dustbins/general bins and physical burns, and also improves overall living environment, health & wellbeing.

Lone Working Policy

A lone worker is defined as someone who works by themselves without direct supervision. This includes private/independent carers who work unaccompanied out, on their own, with people in the community who use their services.

To reduce the risk of incidents occurring, Helper provides an advisory risk assessment for the independent carer to carry out on first meeting with the clients to ensure any safety concerns. For any safety concerns identified the independent carer should speak with the client or next of kin firstly, or use our contact form to raise any concerns. You can find the risk assessment forms in this carer resource section.

Independent carers must protect their own safety, and not intentionally place themselves in danger. Independent carers are advised by Helper to take all necessary precautions to reduce the risks to themselves, when travelling between clients. They should have an awareness of their surroundings and any possible threats to their personal safety, especially in quiet areas and during the hours of darkness. Helper advises carers to leave immediately if there is an imminent danger to their safety. Helper is aware of where carers are supposed to be working, however we also advise to let another person/family member know when you are working.

Helper also advises that independent carer keeps their car in road worthy condition with the vehicle being serviced and maintained also belonging to a breakdown service just in case. Also advises that you are aware of petrol stations and the opening hours in the area you will be working late at night.

Helper advises that before leaving from any visit, carers should have you car keys to hand so that you can get into the car quickly and that they lock their doors while driving between visits. These suggestions are especially important when travelling at night or in quiet rural areas or high risk urban areas. Parking under a street light or well, lit place or in the driveway is a good option.

If driving in hazardous weather conditions alone, Helper advises carers should not put their own safety at risk. When driving through a storm or torrential rain, it may be safer to stop and let the worst of the storm pass by or find and alternative form of transport if deep snow.

If you do have a breakdown or an accident please contact your client to let them know you are running late or message helper and we can do this for you.

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy

 

Helper.community recognises modern slavery and human trafficking is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights in line with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This is an Act of Parliament of the UK which consolidates previous offenses relating to trafficking and slavery.  It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person's liberty by another in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.

 

Helper.community takes a zero-tolerance to Modern Slavery and human tracking and will not tolerate any slavery or human trafficking in any part of its business or in connection with any part of its business

 

The policy statement applies to all directors, independent, permanent or temporary workers in contact or connected to Helper.community’s business.

 

Helper.community’s policies and procedures demonstrate our commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships.

 

Helper.community is committed to confronting this crime through effective due diligence and risk assessment, raising awareness of modern slavery and collaborating to protect the most vulnerable groups of people. To encourage the reporting to the appreciate authorities, and understanding the Governments Whistleblowing policy www.gov.uk/whistleblowing,  which provides an open, transparent and confidential opportunity for individuals to raise any concerns where slavery or human trafficking might be suspected.

 

If you have any concerns, or suspect that this crime has taken/is taking place, please use the whistleblowing tool provided by the government, above.

 

 

Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy

 

Helper.community is committed to ensuring that all business is conducted accordingly to ethical, professional and legal standards in a fair, honest and open manner. We endeavour to ensure that this is reflected in every aspect of the business that we undertake, and bring integrity to the forefront of all our dealings.

 

The purpose of this policy is to set out the responsibilities of company functions and business units in observing and upholding our position on Bribery and Corruption in accordance with the Bribery Act 2010

 

www.gov.uk/government/publications/bribery-act-2010-guidance

www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/legislation/bribery-act-2010-guidance.pdf

www.business-anti-corruption.com/anti-corruption-legislation/uk-bribery-act/

Bribery is the offer, promise, giving, demanding or acceptance of an advantage in monetary or another form as a reward for the improper performance of a function or activity which is expected to be performed in good faith, service or by a position of trust.

Bribery is a criminal act.

 

Corruption is the misuse of power for gain.

 

Bribery and corruption can take many forms and can be made both directly and indirectly. Some examples include:

  • The direct or indirect promise, offering or authorisation of anything of value

  • The offer or receipt of any ‘kick back’, loan, fee, reward or other advantage

  • Payments for lavish or inappropriate entertainment or travel

  • Inflated commissions

  • Fake consultancy agreements

 

The term ‘kickbacks’ refers to a particular form of bribery and typically involves the return of a percentage of a sum of money already requested or received, typically as a result of pressure, coercion or a secret agreement. It can be initiated and received by corrupt individuals, usually simultaneously with or after the completion of a business transaction.

 

Our company business principles set out our commitment to operate responsibly wherever we work and to consider and engage the social, environment and ethical impact of our activities in the markets we operate within.

 

Helper.community prohibits the offer, gifting or acceptance of a bribe in any form, including kickbacks on any portion of a contract payment, facilitation payment or the use of other routes or channels to provide improper benefits to customers, agents, contractors, clients, suppliers or employees of any such party or government officials Whether extorted or not, facilitation payments are bribes and as such are also prohibited.

 

Failure to comply with this policy can result in civil or criminal charges. All our independent workers are encouraged to raise concerns about any instances or malpractice at the earliest possible stage in total confidence, or to contract the appropriate authorities with the full support and backing of Helper.community in doing so.

 

Departments to be contacted include:

  • www.sfo.gov.uk Serious Fraud Office

  • www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-a-fraud/how-to-report-a-fraud

Resources

Welcome to helper

We hope that you will enjoy the process of working for yourself, with us supporting you. We provide a safety net and handle the admin, so that you can get on with doing what you do best, being a professional independent carer or home assistant.

As an independent carer, you can get paid more and have more freedom to shape the work schedule around your life, however, with greater rewards, comes greater responsibility. The patient and their family are now your client, so it is your responsibility to ensure that you are doing your best by them and are managing your relationship with them effectively.

See our FAQ for more information on what working with Helper is like, if you have any additional questions, please contact the Helper team at Team@helper.community.

Click here to see our FAQ

Helper Policies:

At helper we have a number of policies that we ask carers to follow and observe. Keeping patients safe and their data private is part and parcel of any care job today. Please have a read through, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at admin@helper.community

Find the following policies online below to review them:

  • Helper Safeguarding Policy
  • Helper Privacy Policy
  • Helper DBS policy
  • Helper No Smoking Policy

Carer Resources

We have also included a few of the more central resources you will need to help your clients. This is by no means a complete set, nor is any of the information conveyed here to be taken as advice, however, we hope that you will find it helpful, see our resources section for the following;

  • Helper Risk Assessment
  • How to upskill yourself
  • Care planning guidance
  • Infection Control
  • Falls Prevention
  • How to manage Medication
  • MAR (Medicine Adminstration Record) Sheet
  • Fluid Intake/Expulsion

Why being an Independent Carer is the best

There are lots of reasons people become independent carers or decide to pick up a few private clients around their other work and family commitments, here are just a few:

  • You earn more: You get to take home everything you earn because as agencies are not taking their share (Up to 70% of the amount charged to the client)
  • Being paid fully for your time: Rather than working overtime for free, when you are independent, you get paid for this
  • Work when you want: You can work around family & life commitments, so if you just want to do mornings after dropping the kids off, you can
  • Decide who you wish to work for and where: You can pick your clients a stick with them, rather than constantly being shifted between clients across the city
  • Greater work satisfaction: You can get to know your clients, build a relationship with them and see the impact of the work you do

 There are a few downsides that come with the job, however we have resources and guidance to help you overcome each obstacle:

  • Responsibility: Independent carers are responsible for more than just getting the job done
    • You must make sure that the care plan is appropriate, see here for high level guidance on how to make sure you are doing this
    • You must ensure that the the patient is safe. We have provided the following risk assessment guid to help you meet this requirement, as well as a few resources to ensure that you are tracking what needs to be tracked
    • You will also have to manage the relationship you have with the patient and the client much more closely to ensure that they want to keep you on. Here i some guidance on how you might do that from for first meeting to your last.
  • Finding clients: Accessing a steady stream of clients of paramount to your success. However there are a few business out there to help you do this, not least Helper:
  • Care.com is a subscription service that gives you access to clients
  • Independentcarers.co.uk is is similar in that they help you find clients
  • Classified ads in the local paper and on sites like craigslist and gumtree
  • Insurance: You will need insurance to ensure that both you and the client are covered in the event that anything goes wrong. However there are some great insurers that provide specialised and affordable cover. Many can be bought on a monthly basis, so there is no need to pay all of it upfront:
    • SimplyBusiness — Provides your with a range of quotes to choose from
    • Fish Insurance —£89
    • Mark Baites — £69 to £85
    • SureWise — £75
  • Contracting: You will need a contract to be put in place between yourself and your clients, to ensure that you are both working towards the same goal and that your liability is kept to a minimum. You can use ours, by clicking on this link to download it
  • Getting paid: Getting paid on time and in full can be very difficult. Be sure to set up a direct debit on a weekly basis to cover any planned hours and record additional time to be paid for in the following week. Keep all receips and submit them in full with an invoice at the end of the week. You can use this template invoice to help you structure this properly
  • Paying Tax: You will have to register with HMRC to pay your taxes. This can be confusing at first, see this article for guidance on how to get this done.
  • Personal safety: Working alone in other people's houses, without any oversight is dangerous. To ensure your safety you must be sure to let someone else know where you plan to be and when each week.

So being an independent carer is great and the hurdles are not insurmountable, however there are alot of them. 

The alternative is to to work with Helper

We want to help you to see all of the benefits of being an independent carer, part time around your existing job, or even full time. We do our best to help you to achieve all these things taking out the stresses, as it is working as an independent carer not using our platform for your business.

With HELPER:

  • Access to clients: You can find clients via the Helper platform
  • Care planning and Safety: We provide you and the client with tools to help yu work effectively together
  • We give you access the the client’s care plan 
  • As well as other resources to help ensure the safety of your client
  • We supply the safety net with mediation, support and advice
  • We offer resources to help you do your job and ensure your clients safety We offer resources to assist you with your business
  • We monitor visits on a health & Safety basis so know where your appointments are
  • All appointments are on your online calendar as each appointment is accepted
  • We insure you: We provide insurance to all those that work through helper on jobs arranged over the Helper platform
  • We handle the contracting: We put the contracts in place between you & your clients
  • You get paid on-time and in full: We deal with all payments via direct to your bank account

Professional Development within the Care Environment (Training)

Introduction

Being a great carer is all about care, compassion and consideration as well as the ability to communicate effectively. Helper expects good observational skills and the ability to deliver care of a high standard in a safe and dignified manner.

Policies, regulations and guidelines for best practice in the care industry are constantly being updated with recommendations for improvement in the way care is delivered. Delivering care is not always the easiest profession but it can be one of the most rewarding

What is a Carer and their role?

A carer is someone who provides care professionally or voluntarily within an organisation. They work alongside vulnerable people who are often anxious, worried, ill and in need of support. The relationship between the carer and the service user will have a significant impact on the ability of the service user to receive effective care and support.

A good bond between service user & client is essential in maintaining a good quality of life, providing as much independence as is required and where safe to do so. A carer will show respect at all times and form a good relationship which can only be developed through effective communication and developing an understanding and awareness of their needs. It is imperative that all carers work to their own capability following all policies and procedures whilst understanding the need for confidentiality and safeguarding.

The means of this article is about ensuring you are delivering a high standard of care. In this we cover:

  • How to get started as a Carer: We will guide you through how you can achieve the skills and ability to deliver a high standard of care.
  • How to grow your skill base: We will lay out for you some additional training programmes and certifications you can acquire which will give you the knowledge to care for clients who may have more complex requirements
  • How to maintain your standards: We identify where you can read and keep up with the latest in best practice thoughts and procedures in the industry

How to get started as a Carer?

It is important that as a carer you are accredited with the appropriate training certificates. But please be careful who you sign up with and make sure that they are a recognised training body, eg; City & Guilds. Do not hand over any monies until you are sure you are dealing with a reputable learning provider.

The Care Certificate:

Alternatively, the new Care Certificate legislation which came in to force in April 2015 guides carers who are new to the industry through all of the most current standards.

It recommends that new health and social care workers be inducted according to the Care Certificate framework, working as a Paid Private Carer this is not a legal requirement. But in the interest of health & safety for both yourself and the client we do recommend that you sign up to the training course.

How to get Started:

You must first register as a Health Care worker and complete the self-assessment resource which will give you an idea of how much you already know in-depth, what you feel competent to do, and what you need to learn and do. This allows you to focus on areas in which you are weakest and acts as a bit of a refresher, so is a fantastic way to start.

To access these resources, go to www.skillsforcare.org.uk. In the search box enter “Care certificate” then click on “care certificate workbook”.  Alternatively, www.skillsplatform.org or www.social-care.tv have good questions and answers just enter one of these sites and search “care certificate”. 

Complete the course by selecting one of the workbooks, and working through the modules. The e-learning is free and easy to use and can be accessed through the account you registered at skillsforcare.org.uk. The e-learning should take you about 40 hrs to complete, however, it is often much less time if you are already experienced and can be worked on at your own pace.

You can choose to work through the e-learning independently and seek an independent assessor/moderator who is accredited with an assessor’s award who can use the progress, mapping and signing off guidelines. Alternatively, you can pay Skills For Care a small fee upon registration which will enable you to have your work moderated upon completion. Do remember the care certificate is not a qualification it is a learning platform.

Helper is in partnership with a qualified assessor who will give advice, inform you when training sessions are available, and come out to your place of work to assess as needed. When she feels you are competent, you have filled in the work books and understand fully the responsibilities of a carer, the assessor will sign you off. This means then you can look forward to receiving more offers from clients who need care, and can be confident that you have undergone the relevant training.

Qualified assessor Delmorine Mckoy can be reached at

Email: Delmorine McKoy at noyank@sky.com 

Quote: Helper Community when contacting her. There is a small fee which will need to be paid but can be claimed back via your end of tax year expenses.  

NVQs and Diplomas:

The NVQ 2 ‘Health and Social Care’ is a nationally recognised qualification that you could opt to work towards, you may even choose to progress to Level 3.

How to get started:

To begin your learning you can go to any of the following web sites and using the search bar enter “Social Care NVQ”

 

Alternatively,  you could call your local college to book an external course or attend evening classes.

NCFE & QCF:

For new carers or people looking to enter the care industry the NCFE course “Preparing to work in Adult Social Care, Level 2” gives solid foundational knowledge of what is involved and required before you progress to the Care Certificate induction, then work your way up to NVQ2 & NVQ3. You then may decide to continue with the exciting world of gaining knowledge from the courses these organisations can provide, eg; Dementia care, End of life, Mental Health Issues, Care Planning and many more.

You can advance your training/ qualification to a QCF Diploma level 4 in ‘Health & Social Care for Adults’. This can then be adapted with options for specific roles but the course will cover 12 mandatory units.

How to get started:

There are plenty of NCFE & QCF online and home study courses that are free which can be put towards the completion of your NVQ’s. Just search free courses or elearning, a list of some options are below; click on the course you wish to undertake and then apply. Once you have entered and submitted your details the chosen college will email or call you to explain how their particular service will work going forward.   

How to grow your skill base

Even if you are happy with your technical ability and know that you are delivering a high technical standard of care in a safe manner, you may still want to grow your skill base so that you can take on a wider range of clients with more complex care needs or simply continue to update your skills to ensure you are meeting the latest in evidence based standards of care.

How to get started?

There are a wide range of resources that you can freely access out there either through Google searches or by accessing the web sites previously listed. Also feel comfortable at any time to reach out and speak with your local college, take evening classes or even contact the local library all services will be pleased to assist you in sourcing information needed or making your choice/s.  

Another brilliant site you can go to is Social Care TV (SCTV).

Once again, simply go to http://www.social-care.tv/home/homepage and register an account with them. Once you complete the free registration, you can access courses that are fully accredited and upon completion, you can print your certificate. Registration is free; however, there is a small fee when you start a course.

There are also other sites, providing similar levels of advice and training:

How to maintain your technical standards

Keeping up to date with the latest in thinking and evidence-based best practice is absolutely essential and gives you peace of mind to know that you are providing the very best care to your clients.

While keeping up with standards and policy changes can be challenging, given there are a large number of bodies and agencies putting out new standards and research every day, there are tools to help you keep up.

The CQC provide an ultimate source of truth in the care industry, almost all resources flow from them. You can sign up for their free newsletter here. We suggest you request “Announcements about new publications” so that you are alerted when new standards are published.  This way you can then read up on the latest between appointments or even at home.

In addition, you can sign up to THE HUB, to read and learn about recent surveys and best practice. You can gain access to their newsletter by clicking here.

As a responsible carer you can be a responsible taxpayer

 

Working through Helper’s platform means you have agreed to be an Independent Self-employed carer. You need to inform the HMRC of how you are working with helper.community.

 

Therefore you will need to register for for Self Assessment if you earn more than £1,000 from self-employment during the tax year.

 

You may have other jobs that you are paid by an employer through PAYE, which is fine, as when you do your self-assessment at the end of the tax year (April 6th) everything is grouped together of what you have earned and how much tax and national insurance you have paid over the year.

 

Helper.community uses a payment system called STRIPE which records all payment made to you Gross {this is without paying any taxes}. You will be able to check your earnings and download the information needed to fill out your end of year self-assessment.

 

Any self-employed monies paid to you should be accounted for within your STRIPE connect account so you can keep tabs on this easier, remembering to leave some monies in the Stripe connect account to pay any taxes and insurances due at the end of the year.

 

As self-employed any expenses you pay out for, or materials you purchase, all receipts should be kept. This can include travel, petrol, lunch, PPE, shoe’s, mobile use etc as you can offset certain expenses against the tax.

 

To help you understand this further the HMRC has a lot of advice on their website, you can also phone for assistance and advice on 0300 200 3300

 

Please use the following website links for self-employed pay & tax as further advice

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs

 

https://www.gov.uk/working-for-yourself

 

https://www.gov.uk/self-assessment-tax-returns

 

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/tax-and-national-insurance-when-youre-self-employed#keep-good-records

 

https://support.stripe.com 

 

 

 

 

 

We will soon be able to access our Risk Assessment form. Get in touch if you require this urgently. 

Care Planning

A ‘care plan’ is a legal document outlining in an easy accessible way the services and support to be provided to the client/patient. It will contain all personal details that may be required in an emergency. This document should be assembled and agreed upon with all parties concerned.

  • A care plan should include the following:
  • Times when the care is required
  • Any nutritional needs
  • Any personal hygiene needs
  • Any allergies
  • And specific conditions or health problems to be monitored as well as actions to mediate these.

The Human Rights Act, 1998 and The Equality Act, 2010 are UK legislations that set out the rights for every individual. Also there is the Care Act, 2014 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk)  which was introduced to educate on support and planning for the care of vulnerable individuals.

To create a care plan you first need to understand person-centred care (thinking and planning). This means acknowledging a person in their entirety, allowing for all aspects of their life and wellbeing, as well as all external parties involved in their care to be accounted for, but above all allowing for the individual (where they have the capacity) to make their own health care choices.

For those who are unable to exercise this decision making, (eg; has dementia or other degenerative/ mental health disorders) a different process should be followed (seek guidance from The Mental capacity Act, 2005    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/mental-capacity-act-making-decisions www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2005/9/contents .) At this time it is important to still work with person-centered care in mind, working with individuals involved in care who take the persons history and best interests into consideration.

Person–centred thinking: Involves viewing the person as a whole, accounting for their mental health needs, physical needs and family/social needs. You must personalise the care plan to fit them. This involves listening to the client, acknowledging their beliefs and needs, thinking together, working cohesively alongside other health professionals and caregivers as needed, sharing ideas and regularly getting and implementing feedback. This is about the client having total agency and as much control as possible. This mode of care gets patients involved in their care and is proven to result in much improved health outcomes.

Person–centred planning: Similarly to the way you think planning involves,  looking at how the person wants to and circumstances that the person currently does live as well as their goals for the future and for their health. Acknowledge and accommodate for their values, beliefs and interests. Know what is important to them and what support they feel they require. Once all information has been gathered the planning process can begin, allowing for input from all parties needed or wanted in the patients care, when everyone in their care team is in agreement, the plan can be implemented.

Evaluations, reviews & monitoring: This should take place on a regular basis to check that all needs are still being met, and the care plan is up to date with patient needs. If there are any immediate changes to the patient's condition the care plan will need to be adjusted to accommodate for their new needs.

There are many resources online to assist you with better understanding the process of planning care. There is also a great free course if you search Google for NCFE certificate ‘Principles of Care Planning’ the NCFE courses are full of beneficial information to carers.www.mbro.ac.uk www.distance-learning-courses.co.uk Also feel free to peruse the following guidance tools: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance

http://www.corecarestandards.co.uk/core-care-standards/care-planning/

What is Infection?

Infection refers to harmful microorganisms (often known as Pathogens) which invade and multiply in the ideal environment that our bodies provide. Infection can result in serious immunological responses with earliest symptoms being fever, pain & discomfort, pallor, loss of mental clarity, noticeable symptoms at the site of infection (eg; respiratory distress if chest infection, burning of genitalia and odd smell if urinary tract ‘UTI’, visible pus oozing at a wound site...etc;) and can lead to more severe multisystem illnesses, respiratory, cardiovascular or brain infections and/or can even lead to death. Harmless microorganisms are known as non-pathogenic.

Pathogenic organisms come in 3 forms:

  • Bacteria :   eg; streptococcus
  • Viruses:  eg; influenza
  • Fungi: eg; athlete's foot or thrush

When a body is under stress or is already coping with other illnesses or is immunosuppressed for any reason these pathogens become harder to fight off, and can become more serious.

What are main sources of infection ?

Microorganisms can live naturally in the skin, urine, mouth and gut. They are transferred around the body and then can leave via any bodily exit point, this can include:

  • Urine/ faeces
  • Vomit,
  • Sweat or skin oils.
  • Tears,
  • Saliva 

Discharge from wounds etc

There are 4 main contact sources to keep aware of:

  • Human contact of any kind: can transfer any microorganisms, even if this does not prove harmful to yourself this can be incredibly harmful to the next person you come into contact with, to reduce transfer of dangerous microorganisms, put aseptic hygiene practices into place as you work. 
  • Animals: As with humans even the coat of any animal (including insects) can be a carrier of many different potentially dangerous organisms.
  • Soil, water and even air: are known to be hubs of organisms of all kinds.
  • Inanimate Objects: such as cutlery, taps, sinks, baths, showers, clothes, linen etc; anything that also has contact with any of the aforementioned sources can now be invariably a source of dangerous organisms. The exception to this would be equipment that has been sterilised and placed in sterile packaging until the point of use (using aseptic technique) 

How can you minimise the risk and prevent the spread of infections?

Carers come into direct contact with many of these infection sources on an almost minute by minute basis, and so can easily spread infections from one client to the next, with this in mind it is clear that infection control is very important!

Simple processes to reduce cross-contamination are:

  • HAND WASHING
  • Good personal Hygiene: such as tying hair back, hand washing, clean clothes, long trousers, a full shoe and jewellery to a minimum
  • Using protective equipment PPE: this acts as a barrier such as gloves, aprons, masks and show coverings.
  • Removing PPE in the correct manner and disposing in correct waste bags 
  • Be sure to cover all cuts or abrasions for yourself and the patient as required
  • Ensure safe disposal of waste including used aprons and gloves etc
  • Maintain cautious and vigilant around any potential sharps
  • Destroy the organisms: by heat or drugs, ensure all disinfectants are not out of date, spillages especially biological spills should be cleaned up using disinfectants
  • Ensuring safe handling of soiled linen and washing at a temperature 60C or above

Why is handwashing so important?

The hands are the utmost cause of cross contamination, by ensuring you maintain hand hygiene not only between patients, but also between tasks, you can prevent many potential risks to the patients health, but also to your own. Hand washing is such a simple task with such a significant benefit to all! 

Be mindful when washing hands at work and ensure you follow correct procedure for best effect. Often there can be  areas missed during handwashing such as: the wrists, back of hands, creases, thumbs, fingertips and under fingernails.

Correct hand washing should be performed as follows:

  • Wet hands up to wrist before applying hand wash/soap
  • Apply the cleanser/ soap
  • Smooth cleanser/soap evenly all over the hands, including the thumbs and in between the fingers, back of hands, under fingernails if possible and the wrists
  • Lather well, rubbing vigorously
  • Rinse off every trace of lather with running water
  • Dry thoroughly by air or with clean paper towel taking special care between the fingers
  • Wash hands after removing and before putting on your gloves

 

Use disposable paper towels where possible for drying hands.

***The process is similar but with absence of water or drying for the use of Alcohol based cleansers.***

YOU MUST ALWAYS wash your hands:

  • Before preparing food
  • Before and after Meals
  • After using the toilet
  • After handling bedpans, commodes, toilets, incontinence products or soiled linen
  • Before and after attending to any dressings
  • Before and after providing care
  • After handling animals
  • After handling rubbish / rubbish bins

Before and after your work shift  

What are some potential signs of infection?

  • Raised Temperature,
  • Inflammation, 
  • Localised swelling, 
  • Redness
  • Pain,
  • Any Unusual Discharge,
  • Reduced appetite,
  • Restlessness,
  • Chills,
  • Feeling tired or weak, 
  • Irritability, 
  • Change in behaviour or cognition,

Falls prevention

Falls and fall related injuries are very common and are a leading cause of serious injury in older people. In the UK, once over the age of 65 there is believed to be a 30% risk of falls, which rises to 50% amongst those over 80.  

Most falls result in minor injuries, small cuts and bruising, however around 5% of falls do lead to hospital admission with severe and life threatening breaks and fractures. The outcome of a fall is the leading cause of disability or mortality in the aged community. 

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE)  brought in and regularly updates a quality standards plan to assist and support both the prevention and reoccurrence of falls. Not only do falls give rise to significant  human cost, with people suffering  

  • pain, 
  • discomfort, 
  • Stress (for the patient and surrounding family and carers), 
  • loss of confidence, 
  • often independence,
  • and sometimes even long term loss of function and death.

The cost of falls to the NHS is also an estimated 2.5 billion per year. 

Many falls / accidents could be reduced with the introduction of early interventions such as falls risk assessments (refer to the falls risk assessment in the forms section for a simple assessment tool). In the process of standard care planning, when implementing a person-centred approach a carer should ensure they account for the risk of falls for that patient. Ensure that all involved in the care of the patient are aware and attempt to ensure safety and falls prevention. 

Good training and knowledge is essential, also ensuring you share education and awareness with others. As a team assess what may put a patient at a higher risk of falls and what prevention methods can or should be put in place. 

The causes for falls can vary from patient to patient, so to promotion of awareness events in any care setting is vital, share videos, booklets etc with your patients, and their friends and families to educate on how to reduce the risk.

Some personal risk factors can be attributed to falls and have simple solutions to reduce the risk and some are more difficult:

  • Ensure the patient has a healthy diet with sufficient fluid intake.
  • Ensure the patient has regular eye tests as needed so that any glasses have correct lenses, for accurate sight and depth perception
  • Ensure the patient wears well fitted foot wear with a functioning grip sole and no long loose flowing clothing
  • Ensure the patient has regular hearing tests if needed and wears and prescribed  hearing apparatus
  • Ensure everything the patient requires is in easy reach to prevent excessive bending or stretching
  • Ensure the patient has everything required to reach the toilet in time so they do not feel rushed (supply a commode if needed or investigate incontinence aids if this is possibly the best approach)

Likewise, some environmental risk factors can be attributed and might be managed:

  • In the Home: Poor lighting, or lack of night lights, uneven surfaces, rugs and frayed carpets, clutter, or perhaps install signage to help direct to which room
  • Insufficient equipment: grab rails, non slip mats, poorly fitted walking frames, need for hoists/mobility aids, unstable chairs, beds (accounting for movement high to low). 
  • Medication: some have side effects, patients and their friends/family should be made aware of increased risk if the patient is taking any analgesia, anaesthetics, antihistamines, anti seizure, antihypertensives, narcotics, diuretics, sedatives, psychotropics,  or anti-depressants.
  • Medical conditions: Many medical conditions can lead to increased risk of falls, some of these include: Strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Osteoporosis, Arthritis, restricted mobility, muscle weakness and muscular disorders, and dementia. There are many others to review on a case by case basis. 

As you can see it is very important to assess look out for and monitor any possible falls risks. But it is also vitally important not to discourage or take away the persons independence, or prematurely restrict their mobility, movement or freedom. Socialising is good for patient wellbeing and regular exercise is good for muscle strength and over cardiovascular health and longevity of life. 

Good information and advice can be read from sites like:

www.nice.org.uk

www.ageuk.org.uk 

www.nhs.uk › Health A-Z › Falls

www.independentliving.co.uk › Advice

You can also find free NCFE Falls Prevention Level 2 courses from: 

www.distance-learning-courses.co.uk

www.vision2learn.com

*** You can also find in forms an optional Falls Risk Assessment Form that may help to guide you in assessing and preventing falls for your patients. ***

As a carer, regardless of the setting you work within, checking and handling of medication will be an everyday issue. The patients we care for are often vulnerable and elderly and may have many conditions they are treating and medications they are taking. The use of multiple medicines at varied times of the day can lead to confusion and potentially could lead to medication being taken incorrectly, missed or accidentally overused which can directly affect their health and well being, or even lead to serious illness or death. 

As carer you are unable to handle or give medication to any patient unless you hold the appropriate training certificate: ‘Safe Handling of medication’ or ‘Medication awareness’.

You can source access to these trainings from:

  • www.ncfe.org.uk look for level 2 and 3 of ‘Safe Handling of Medication’.

 OR

As an independent carer in the community Helper advises that you discuss all aspects of medication with your client. We advise you get written consent from the client, and have all information charted correctly if you are to administer any medication, this includes basic analgesic such as paracetamol. A MARS sheet is available in the resources section of the Helper website, while regularly administered medications will appear on the patient profile in their care plan.

Be sure to inform all parties how medicines are to be recorded and ensure everyone is aware on how to access information regarding refused medicine or any incidents that may occur as well as logging it all throughout your care plan and reporting.

Legally, as long as medication is provided by an appropriate practitioner, it can be administered by anyone appointed by the person taking it. Helper still advises that medication courses give great benefit in the understanding of medication, this reassures yourself and the client you are aware of the issues and serious consequences surrounding medication. 

No Carer should ever take an active role in administering medications against the will of the person. Patient consent is crucial, and any refusal must be reported on the medication chart and care plan as well as reported to medical professionals /family. It is not acceptable at anytime to crush and hide medication in food this can be classed as abuse. However there are circumstances where crushing of medicines and mixing in thickened fluids may be appropriate as the patient may have dysphagia (a condition that restricts their ability to swallow). This would need to be approved and charted correctly.

When discussing medication with the client/patient, Helper advises recommending storage of medicines in metered dosette boxes or other measured dosage devices for safety and to reduce the risk of medication errors. This still gives the person independence to take their own medication if safe to do so and only prompting may be required by the carer.  

Dosette boxes are storage devices made up by pharmacists holding the patient’s medications in individual doses. This helps to remind the person to take their medication, and can also ensure they have the correct dosages at the right time. Many modern devices have safety locks to prevent overmedicating. Alerts can can also be sent to the next of kin when the medication has not been taken. Helper has a traffic light system in place on the medication administration section of the care plan that can help to easily and quickly highlight any issues that may have taken place in the process of encouraging your patient to take their medicines. 

These are really good for people who take medication regularly and especially for those who may forget to take their medication at the right time. Personal devices like these which can be filled at home on a weekly basis can be purchased at plenty of outlets.

  • Specialist health and care product providers (incl. online retailers/marketplaces)
  • Other online retailers/marketplaces
  • Independent product providers
  • Pharmacies

Please click here for further tips and information on handling medicines.

Regulations around the handling of medicines are there to protect you and anyone involved with medication must adhere to all rules and guidelines.

It is your duty of care to demonstrate good practice when handling and supporting clients with medication. 

Before giving or prompting medication you must:

  • Check the name on the medicine container is your client
  • Check the dates
  • Check the right route for taking
  • Check the time of day the medicines are prescribed for
  • Check the medicine container has not been tampered with
  • Check the dates expiry and date the patient is expected to take medicine
  • Be aware if someone is taking herbal remedies or other natural remedies as they can have side effects when taking prescribed drugs, mention this to all parties required and recommend discussion with health practitioner
  • Be aware that some medication can be harmful if mixed with a medication for another condition
  • Be aware that medicines can also react with certain foods and ensure you understand all these potential risk factors
  • Be aware that drinking alcohol while taking medicines can be extremely dangerous

If in doubt seek advice from a medical person or ring NHS 111.

Also be aware that some medicines can be harmful for yourself to come into direct contact with. Substances such as methotrexate (a common immune system medicine) can be carcinogenic and are advised to be avoided by pregnant women. Be aware of any potential risks with the substances you may come into contact with. 

The following acts and guidelines are there to protect you, and anyone involved with medication must adhere to them. 

Please follow these links for more information:

www.drugwise.org.uk/what-are-the-uk-drug-laws

The Medicines Act 1968

This is an act that was passed indicating that the local pharmacist or dispensing doctor is responsible for the supplying of any medication. They are only allowed to do this if they have received a prescription signed by a doctor:

 

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

This act was passed to control medicines that may cause harm if taken. This is to prevent the misuse of controlled drugs:

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This act looks at the ways that the risk are when handling medicines and hazardous substances. This is a regulation to reduce the risks involved when dealing with dangerous materials:

You will soon be able to access our MAR sheet. Get in touch if you require this urgently.

A pressure sore or ulcer is an injury that can appear on a body part that occurs in an area with frequent or constant pressure. An area with less frequent pressure occuring more often on the extremities is likely another  condition such as a skin tear. Deep tissue injury like pressure ulcers are often misdiagnosed as superficial skin injuries, such as skin tears.

Pressure ulcers — also known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers — are injuries to skin resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. These ulcers most often develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone/sacral area.

Pressure ulcers in subdermal tissues under bony prominences very likely occur between the first hour through  4 - 6 hours after sustained loading. However, research examining these timeframes in sitting patients has not yet been completely founded.

Shearing friction / skin tears — can happen when delicate skin is dragged across a surface, this can be something as seemingly harmless as sheets, or more obvious such as a wall or hard edge. This may cause skin to tear or a blister to form. Sliding up or down in bed or moving from the bed to a chair may tear fragile skin. even something as uncontrollable as muscle spasms may cause arms or legs to jerk and rub the sheets, causing tears in elderly or fragile skin.

Helper advises that all carers should always be on the lookout for pressures sores and skin tears and advise the client/ next of kin or district nurse  accordingly, so they can be treated immediately. Also take careful care in considering how you move the client.  

Pressure injuries are described in four stages:   

Stage 1 — This pressure injury is not an open wound. The skin is likely to be painful, and the area very red but it has no breaks or tears.

Stage 2 — At this stage the skin breaks open, wears away, or forms an ulcer, which is usually tender and painful. The sore expands into deeper layers of the skin (epidermis). Injuries at the epidermal level can be some of the most painful as often at this depth the nerves are still in tact and firing off pain signals at an alarming rate.This wound can look like a scrape (abrasion), blister, or a shallow crater in the skin. Sometimes this stage looks like a blister filled with clear fluid.

Stage 3 — Now the sore starts to become worse and extends into the tissue                    beneath the skin, forming a small crater. Fat may show in the sore, but not muscle, tendon, or bone, at this point with a deep open wound and decreased circulation to the area, infection can become a serious issue and extra precaution should be put in place to protect the client (and yourself if MRSA is potentially present.

Stage 4 — This tissue damage is deep or cannot even be seen in as a whole. It can extend far beyond view of the open wound, and there can be actually dead and damaged tissues laying beneath seemingly healthy skin surrounding the bedsore wound.otherwise the would will appear as a deep crater directly into the tissue through to tendons and or bone. This is a significant infection risk and must be handled and worked around with extreme care.

What increases the risk for a pressure ulcer?

  • Long periods of time without moving
  • Short periods of increased pressure, such as sitting in a wheelchair
  • Not being able to control your urine or bowel movements
  • Dehydration or poor nutrition
  • Numbness
  • Poor blood flow  (circulation) to your limbs or at all
  • Age over 65 years
  • Previous pressure ulcer

What can you do to help prevent a pressure ulcer?

Ask your district nurse or GP for more information on any of the following:

  • Checking skin several times each day. Check for red skin, or other colour changes, over bony areas. if checking for yourself, use a mirror if there is difficulty seeing certain areas, or ask another person for assistance.
  • Change wet bedding and clothes right away. The wet material may rub against  skin and cause damage.
  • Changing position often is essential. Where possible reposition every 2 hours if bed bound and every hour if in a wheelchair/ seated all day. Set an alarm to help remind when it is time to turn, or keep a written turning schedule to help remember to turn. If you are helping a person move in bed, avoid sliding across the sheets. make use of slide sheet tools and/ or roll the client as needed. Keep the head of the bed as low as possible. This may help prevent damage to the skin from sliding down in bed.
  • Protect the skin over bony areas. Pillows or foam wedges can be used to keep bony areas from touching, and to relieve pressure. For example, pillows or foam wedge can be put between the knees to keep them from pressing on one another. A pillow or foam wedge can be put under one side to keep your hip raised when laying on one side. Avoid resting directly on a hip bone. Put a foam pad or pillow under  legs from calf to ankle when lying supine (on a person’s back). The pad or pillow should raise heels so that they are not directly touching the bed.
  • Use medical equipment and pads. A draw sheet or large pad under a client may help to move them up or side to side in bed. An overhead trapeze can help changing positions in bed. Mattresses and overlays made to provide more cushioning may help decrease the risk of pressure ulcers. Examples include a foam mattress pad and air or water mattresses. Ask about equipment that may be right for your client and ensure education on how to use it.
  • Keep skin clean, dry, and moisturized. Use a mild soap and warm water to clean skin. Do not rub or scrub when washing. Do not use products that contain alcohol, because they can dry out the skin. Gently pat skin dry. Do not rub the skin with a towel. Apply lotion / barrier creams or a moisturizer onto fragile or dry skin often.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods and stay hydrated. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, and fish. Foods that are high in protein and healthy fats are believed to help pressure ulcers to heal. This includes lean meats, beans, milk, yogurt, and cheese. Nutrition shakes may also give extra calories and protein if the client has difficulty eating or is underweight.
  • Be aware of medications and the side effects these may have on client skin, or on bleeding and injury risk as well as potential infection risks. If extra caution is required ensure that action plans are put into place to protect the client.

You can find out more at the following:

https://www.dlf.org.uk/factsheets/pressure-relief

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg179

https://nhs.stopthepressure.co.uk/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pressure-sores/

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000740.htm

https://www.advancedtissue.com/5-tips-for-preventing-bed-sores-in-bedridden-patients/

https://www.careshop.co.uk/furniture-equipment/pressure-care

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, was amended in 2002 (MHOR) The Regulations apply to a wide range of manual handling activities, including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying. The load may be either animate, such as a person or animal, or inanimate, such as a box or a trolley.

The responsibility for safe handling lies with the individual themselves who must work within policies and procedures. Helper advises all carers seek formal practical manual handling training from an organisation such as www.sja.org.uk  St Johns Ambulance Service or another recognised registered trainers or provider. 

Safe manual handling techniques are put into place because they are incredibly important, the right technique can significantly reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others. DO NOT wait for an injury to occur before taking action. Learn the correct lifting and carrying techniques, and understand the risks and precautions to consider when handling loads.

Potential injuries to caregivers when not lifting and moving correctly could be slipped discs, joint dislocation, fractures, breaks, bruises and scrapes. Remember that poorly supported clients can also suffer the same serious injuries.

 Objectives: 

  • The objective of this policy is to reduce the level of risk of injury to persons who may be involved in manual handling so far as reasonably practicable in compliance with all health and safety guidelines and legislation

Policy Statement :

  • Helper recognises the importance of managing the risks associated with moving and handling. Statistics show that incorrect manual handling is one of the most common causes of injury at the workplace. More than one third of lost time accidents are caused by poor manual handling practices.  
  • These injuries can often have long term effects. Helper, therefore intends to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries to independent carers and provide guidance, and information within this policy, on the measures that are advised be taken to ensure safety in the workplace. 
  • Helper advises that independent carers are NEVER to manually lift any person; this refers to lifting the whole, or any significant part of the weight of a person.

** This may only be excused in the case of a serious emergency whereby leaving a patient in a location puts them at serious threat of worse injury or death, in which case the risks to both client & carer need to be assessed to find a balance where one party’s benefit does not significantly increase the other party’s risk. If this is the case it would be following a call to 999 and adhering to their advice.**

  • Helper advises before any moving and handling of people or objects, commences which might cause such injury, to ensure you have read and understood what reasonable steps can be taken to prevent or control exposure to risk from those activities.   

Independent carers who undertake manual handling operations are required: 

  • To ensure that health and safety  of oneself or others is not put at risk when carrying out manual handling activities; 
  • To learn techniques and use equipment which has been provided to aid manual handling activities and minimise threat of injury; 
  • To report any problems or incidents related to the activity to the client or next of kin immediately;   
  • Helper advises that all independent carers share responsibility for participating in risk reduction exercises, such as risk assessments, and to report any concerns or problems as they arise.  

Assessment of risk :  

  • An assessment of manual handling activities will be carried out by the independent carers. Tasks in which risks are identified should be avoided or the risk be mediated and reduced to the lowest level 
  • The following factors should be considered during the risk assessment: 

Task considerations:

  • Bending and stooping to lift a load significantly increases the risk of back injury
  • Items should ideally be lifted from no lower than knee height to no higher than shoulder height; 
  • Outside this range, lifting capacity is reduced and the risk of injury is increased; 
  • Where items are required to be lifted from above shoulder height, a stand or suitable means of access should be used; 
  • Items which are pushed or pulled should be as near to waist level as possible. Pushing is preferable particularly where the back can rest against a fixed object to give leverage;
  • Carrying distances should be minimised, especially if the task is repeated regularly. Repetitive tasks should be avoided wherever possible; 
  • Avoid tasks which require twisting the body wherever possible, and consider;

The Individual:      

  • Consideration must be given to the age, body weight, physical fitness and frailty of both the person undertaking the manual handling task and the person to be assisted. 
  • Regard must be given to personal limitation of all parties and must not attempt to handle loads which are beyond their individual capability. Assistance must be sought where necessary;

The load:    

  • The load should be kept as near as possible to the body trunk to reduce strain and should not be of such size as to obscure sight.
  • An indication of the weight of the load and the centre of gravity should be provided where appropriate; 
  • Where individuals can weight bear, contact should only be to steady the individual and support their balance.  
  • If an individual falls to the ground, they must be encouraged to lift themselves back to a sitting position and then standing position ---unless there is a danger to them if they are not moved immediately; in which case assistance should be sought.

The Environment:

  • Sufficient knowledge and understanding of the task is an important factor in reducing the risk of injury.  
  • There must be adequate space within the working environment to enable the activity to be conducted in safety and any route that needs to be moved through must be free from obstruction. 
  • Floors and other working surfaces must be in a safe condition, and adequate ventilation is required, particularly where there is no natural ventilation. 

Remember ‘TILE’ (T-I-L-E) to keep you safe: TASK, INDIVIDUAL, LOAD, ENVIRONMENT

Helper advises that you should read further information from the useful links below

This a free answer & question test to assess your knowledge

https://www.test-questions.com/manual-handling-test-02.php

This a free workbook that can with questions & answers

https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/movingand handlingworkbook 

www.ncfe.org.uk/ principles and practice of safe manual handling

https://alison.com/course/back-care-and-manual-handling-theory-revised-2017

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/moving-and-manual-handling-training-for-carers--care-workers-4756-p.asp

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support/mobility-problems-carers/

http://www.stroke4carers.org/?p=402

http://www.hse.gov.uk/healthservices/moving-handling.htm

https://www.clinicalskills.net/buy-the-book

https://www.peoplefirstinfo.org.uk/looking-after-someone/looking-after-someone-safely/lifting-and-handling

Considering emotions:

Helping your friend, family member or client to use the toilet or a bedpan can be an embarrassing or difficult issue for the client and may even be for all involved. So it is vital to consider dignity and privacy at all times. Talk and reassure the client asking for permission each step of the process when assisting. When visiting clients Helper advises that carers prompt or ask if the client needs to go to the toilet just like medication they might sometimes forget, especially if they are suffering with dementia. 

Helping someone go to the toilet:

If the person is not bedridden, they may be able to use a commode or the toilet. They may still, however need some support from you, to help the person to stand, sit and walk. If the client is bedridden or cannot stand easily, don’t try to pressure them, instead speak to the district nurse or GP as they may be able to advise an alternative method or option for them to use such as:

  • a bedpan or urinal container
  • a removable raised toilet seat
  • handrails near to the toilet
  • bed or chair raisers
  • hoist, or
  • commode 

When assisting the person to the toilet or commode (ensure the breaks are on when utilising a commode), make sure they have something to hold on to as you may need your hands to help with undoing buttons and removing items of clothing before they lower themselves them down.

While the person is in the process of using the toilet or commode, give them some privacy. Close the curtains and/ or close the door a little so no one can see in. Ask them to tell you when they have finished and are ready for your help again. 

They may be able to or prefer to attempt cleaning themselves, but they also may need assistance, for example needing you to pass the toilet paper. If they are unable to clean themselves you may need to help more directly. 

  • First help them to stand up, or lean into an accessible position. 
  • Clean them with toilet paper, followed by wet wipes if needed. (not putting wet wipes down the toilet) 
  • If the person is female, wiping from the front towards the back will help to prevent infection. 
  • Once they are finish assist back to the chair or bed  (remembering to wash out the commode if used)

Making it easier to use the toilet:

Here are some tips that may help:

  • Some people with dementia have difficulty making out objects or if they have poor eyesight. So having a bright coloured toilet seat or even lights that go into the toilet can make it easier for them to use
  • Some people like a regular routine for going to the toilet. Allow plenty of time and do not let them feel rushed.
  • If there’s a long hallway to get to the toilet, you could place a chair halfway, so they can have a rest.
  • Keep the path to the toilet free from clutter to prevent trip/ fall hazards.
  • Keep a light on at night so they can safely reach the toilet.
  • If there are communication difficulties, you could put up pictures or arrows on the doors with written or picture information showing them where to go and what to do.  

Helping someone use a bedpan:

If the person can’t get out of bed, they may want assistance to use a bedpan. Talk them through what you are doing and ALWAYS ask permission. Ask your person to sit up in bed if possible. Support them with lots of pillows so their back is in an upright position. If they have an adjustable bed, adjust it so that their head and back are raised.

  • If the person can lift their back and bottom off the bed (sometimes called making a bridge), ask them to do this. Slide a waterproof pad underneath them in case there are any spills.
  • Supporting their lower back with one hand, place the curved edge of the bedpan underneath their buttocks. Then ask them to rest their weight on the pan. Cover them with a towel to maintain their dignity.
  • If person can not lift their back, you will need to roll them on to their side. With the bedpan and waterproof pad in place, roll them back onto the bedpan.
  • Once they are finished, ask them to raise their buttocks again and slide the pan out gently while supporting their lower back. Once again if they are not able to do this, you will need to roll the patient.
  • Cover the bedpan with a towel, or paper towel and put it aside on a chair or table while you clean the person.

Cleaning the person requires you to:

  • Wipe your person with toilet paper first, then wet wipes if required. Dry the area gently.
  • Roll them into a comfortable position and cover them with a sheet so they are not exposed.
  • Give them some wet wipes and antibacterial gel to wash their hands, or soap, water and a warm flannel.
  • Replace their clothing and duvet. Empty the bedpan in the toilet. Wash it in hot water and dry it ready to be used again. or dispose correctly if they are using a disposable pan. 

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/daily-living/toilet-accidents-support-advice

https://www.completecareshop.co.uk/toileting-aids/ 

https://www.caregiver.org/toileting-dementia

https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/being-there/caring/helping-someone-use-the-toilet

http://dailycaring.com/safety-tips-elderly-toilet-use/

http://www.agedcarehub.nz/caregivers/caregivers-how-to-s/toileting-continence-care

Incontinence can be an extremely personal and delicate subject to approach with a client and even more-so with your clients family members. Incontinence can affect both men and women at any point in their lives, it is a common problem and can ruin the person's quality of life in many ways. 

Upon discussing continence issues, you may get mixed reactions. The client may be aware of the problems but has just been too embarrassed to talk about it, they may even be relieved you have brought up the subject, however they may also respond in quite a threatened and/or aggressive manor. This could still be that they are embarrassed or feeling ashamed this could ever happen to them, so don’t pressure them to talk maybe leave some leaflets for them to read and approach the subject again on a different day, or perhaps brooch the subject with their next of kin as they may be struggling to approach the subject, and support may be beneficial for all. You could also mention involving the GP who is able to arrange for the person to be referred to the incontinence team or district nurse to help.

Depending on its physical cause, incontinence can be experienced in different ways. It can be successfully managed with the right products. The most common types are Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence, and it can also quite often be a combination of the two. 

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) occurs when the bladder unexpectedly leaks due to pressure from physical exertion such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, heavy lifting or exercising. Amounts of leakage tend to be small, (often referred to as light bladder leakage), but there can be larger urine leakages. This is the most common type of incontinence women experience. There are exercises that can be done to try and encourage bladder and urinary tract muscle strength. Known as pelvic floor or even as kegel exercises these are recommended for both men and women and are as simple as drawing up the lower pelvic muscle toward the abdomen and holding for 5-10 seconds before releasing. These are simple exercises that can be done at any time, anywhere. By strengthening these muscles there can be improvement in bladder control as well as reduction in prolapses and even improved sexual health outcomes.  

Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI). Urge incontinence occurs when the bladder tries to empty despite best efforts to restrain leaking. There is a lack of coordination between impulses the brain gives to the bladder and what the bladder does. This can result in quite large losses of urine and increased frequency of urination. This is the most common type of incontinence for men and is commonly linked to an enlarged prostate or prostate surgery. However it can be quite common for women as well, particularly if they have suffered nerve damage.

There is also functional incontinence this is the inability to reach the toilet in time due to lack of mobility or mental illness such as dementia or alzheimer's. Certain medical conditions such as alzheimer's, parkinson's, stroke, diabetes or multiple sclerosis can result in neurological bladder disorders. This is when the brain fails to recognize the signals to urinate, often due to nerve damage caused by injury or illnesses.

Bowel incontinence, often referred to as fecal incontinence, is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum. This can range from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas, to a complete loss of bowel control. 

This can be caused by nerve damage, or physical damage sometimes though childbirth, constant straining during bowel movements, after suffering injury of the the spinal cord, or after suffering a stroke. Some diseases, such as diabetes, parkinson's and multiple sclerosis may also affect these nerves and lead to fecal incontinence. 

Certain foods / drinks can make the situation worse so you could try avoiding:

  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Drinks and foods containing caffeine.
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and ice cream.
  • Fatty and greasy foods.
  • Drinks and foods containing added fructose.
  • Spicy foods.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-incontinence

https://www.bladderandbowel.org/bowel/bowel-problems/faecal-incontinence/

Whatever the problem might be, you need to try and assist the client to access good support, advice and education from NHS health professionals, ie GP or incontinence nurse. Sometimes, with the right support, these are temporary conditions that can be rectified in a short time allowing the person to regain their independence and confidence to get on with their lives

https://www.whentheygetolder.co.uk/helping-your-parents-with-toilet-problems-and-incontinence/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-incontinence/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-incontinence/

https://www.ageukincontinence.co.uk/

There is plenty of information and advice out there, alongside the many researched products that can be used to protect you against these issues. 

Incontinence products are expensive so it’s important you find the right ones that you feel confident and comfortable in and do the correct job. You need then to shop around for the best prices. In some cases, though this can be a difficult process, these can be obtained free through your local social services. These products are not only for personal use, there is a wide range of products that can be put on beds and chairs for protection such as water proof sheets, seat covers and mattress protectors. 

https://www.ageukincontinence.co.uk

https://www.amazon.co.uk

https://www.depend.co.uk

Also you can obtain a lot of free samples from several sites to try

https://www.depend.co.uk/sample

https://www.coloplast.co.uk

https://www.tena.co.uk

https://www.allaboutincontinence.co.uk/sample-packs

https://www.bladderandbowel.org/bowel/bowel-problems/faecal-incontinence/

To keep your body hydrated is vitally important to health and wellbeing.

 

Dehydration is the state in which your body is losing more water than you are able to bring in. Your body depends on this water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work and function properly. Your body also uses water to regulate temperature as well as to remove waste and any toxic substances.

 

Water also helps your cells to renew and assists the body in absorbing essential vitamins, minerals and natural sugars that feed the entire system, water also aids the transportation of nutrients, gases and blood around your body. In return for this it helps to give you energy and keep you generally healthy.

 

If you are not hydrated, your body cannot perform at its highest level and function correctly. Without good hydration you can suffer from health problems some of the key symptoms to look out for when considering poor hydration are:

 

  • Increased thirst.
  • Dry mouth. (this can also be a side effect of some medicines, many of which suggest extra water to prevent)
  • Tired or sleepy.
  • Decreased urine output.
  • Urine is low volume and more yellow-orange-brown than normal.
  • Headache.
  • Dry skin.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fever
  • Lack of sweat
  • Poor concentration
  • Constipation
  • Confusion/delirium/agitation
  • Falling

There are other causes of dehydration which can  include:

 

  • Diarrhoea - the most common cause of dehydration, often directly related to death
  • Vomiting - leads to a loss of fluids and makes it difficult to replace water by drinking, can require hospital/ medical IV intervention
  • Sweating - the body's cooling mechanism releases a significant amount of water. It is important to ensure your client drinks more on humid and warm days when they are losing fluid by sweating.
  • Sodium - When you eat salty foods, your cells tell your brain that you are thirsty.
  • Sugary drinks also contribute.
  • Some other foods also tend to increase thirst eg; Blueberries, Oily fish,  Calcium-rich foods.

Drinking at a relatively slow pace is recommended to avoid stomach upset. Drinking a lot of water quickly can also cause your body to expel a large amount of it as urine, which will slow the rehydration process.

Drinking excessive fluid can lead to hyponatremia, which is when sodium in the blood becomes too diluted  this can be confused with dehydration. Symptoms can include

  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Nausea  
  • Bloating
  • In severe cases, hyponatremia can lead to seizures, organ failure and even death.

As a nutrition guideline adult males need 3.7 liters of fluid intake per day, while adult women need 2.7 liters per day, water is obviously preferable, however other beverages can be measured and counted toward the daily total.

For interest's sake,  pregnant women should aim for 3 liters per day. And for those under 18 years the daily amount of fluids is: 5 glasses (1 litre) for 5 to 8 year olds, 7 glasses (1.5 litres) for 9 to 12 year olds and 8 to 10 glasses (2 litres) for 13+ years.

There are foods that you can eat that hold particularly high water content which aid with your hydration eg:

  • Strawberries. Water content: 91% ...
  • Cantaloupe. Water content: 90% ...
  • Peaches. Water content: 89% ...
  • Oranges. Water content: 88% ...
  • Skim Milk. Water content: 91% ...
  • Watermelon. Water content: 92%...
  • Cucumber. Water content: 95% ...
  • Lettuce. Water content: 96%...

Please see below links to information regarding hydration

You will soon be able to access our Fluids & Solids logging chart. Get in touch if you require this urgently. 

A healthy diet is made up of nutrient-rich foods. By eating a variety of foods to you get different vitamins and minerals. Foods that naturally are nutrient-rich include fruits and vegetables. Lean meats, fish, whole grains, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds also are high in nutrients. The health benefits you can get from, eating a healthy diet which includes a lot of vegetables are really positive. Research shows it helps to lower risks for heart disease, stroke, obesity, kidney stones, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and bone loss disorders.

Helper advises that their independent carers encourage their client to eat a healthy balance diet. Any concerns on nutrient for the clients that are not eating or show signs of weight loss or gain should be referred to GP for the dietician to visit.

It’s not always easy to cook from fresh, but you can still get nutrients and minerals frozen vegetables. There are food produces/ retailers that can deliver fresh and frozen meals, in different portion sizes. They also come in different textures and thickness depending on how the person is able to eat or swallow.  

https://www.oakhousefoods.co.uk

https://www.wiltshirefarmfoods.com/

https://icarecuisine.co.uk/meals

https://www.parsleybox.com/

Please see below information on foods

  • Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the brain. Foods include fruits, breads and grains, starchy vegetables and sugars. Make at least half of the grains you consume whole grains. Whole grains and fruit are full of fiber, which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and helps maintain normal blood glucose levels.
  • Protein is major structural component of cells and is responsible for the building and repair of body tissues. 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from lean protein sources such as low-fat meat, dairy, beans or eggs.
  • Fat is an energy source that when consumed, increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K. 20 to 35 percent of your daily intake should come from fat. Choose healthy options such as omega-3-rich foods like fish, walnuts and vegetable-based oils. Omega-3s help with development and growth. Limit your intake of saturated fats such as high-fat meats and full-fat dairy.
  • Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which provides structure to blood vessels, bone and ligaments. Rich sources include citrus fruits, strawberries and peppers.
  • Vitamin D helps to maintain calcium homeostasis. It can be found in food sources or synthesized by the sun Minerals
  • Sodium helps to maintain fluid volume outside of the cells and helps cells to function normally. Keeping to a low level intake is important as you can risk other health problems.
  • Potassium maintains fluid volume inside and outside of cells and can help prevents the excess rise of blood pressure Rich sources include bananas, potatoes and tomatoes.
  • Calcium helps to maintain and build strong bones and teeth. Calcium rich foods are found in milk, low-fat cheese and yogurt.


https://www.qualhub.co.uk/qualification-search/qualification-detail/level-2-certificate-in-nutrition-and-health-519

https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/life/older-adults.html

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide

 

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/

 

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/lifestyle-and-wellbeing/diet--nutrition-and-obesity

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/food-nutrition-lifestyle/evidence-based-nutrition-guidelines-for-the-prevention-and-management-of-diabetes

The Food Safety Act 1990 (FSA) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It covers the statutory obligation to treat food and food products intended for human consumption in a controlled and managed way. The FSA, 1990 outlines regulations regarding the safety, quality, storage, preparation and labelling of foods. It is an offence to not comply with these regulations when in a business capacity and you can be prosecuted if you break the laws

 There are a number of simple steps you can implement to ensure food safety practice, if you follow these the risk of getting ill will be significantly reduced. Hundreds of people each year report getting sick from food poisoning either in the home or eating out, the number of unreported gastric illnesses is likely far more vast. Much of the time recovery is quick with severe gastric disruption vomiting and diarrhea clearing out the bacteria, however food poisoning can lead to medium - long term health conditions or even death.

Keeping cooking areas clean

  • Always wash any possible foods, hands, counters and cooking utensils.
  • Wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds according to the hand hygiene code of practice. Always do this BOTH before and after touching food.
  • Wash your chopping boards, dishes, forks, spoons, knives and worktops with hot soapy water. Do this after working with each food group, ensure no meat or animal product cross contamination with produce.
  • Rinse fruits, salads and vegetables.
  • Wipe clean the tops of canned goods before opening.

Separate Foods

  • Keep raw foods separate from one another, as bacteria can easily cross-contaminate.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from all other foods.
  • Ensure this separation even in storage, incorporate this in shopping bags, and fridge.
  • Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.
  • Use a special cutting board or plate for raw meats only. And a separate boards for vegetable and other products

Cooking Times

 

Foods need to get hot and stay hot. Heat kills germs. Cook meat products to safe temperatures:

 

  • Beef, Pork & Lamb over 145 °F, 60 °C
  • Fish- over 145 °F, 60 °C
  • Ground Beef, Pork, Lamb - over 160 °F, 70°C
  • Turkey, Chicken, Duck- over 165 °F, 75°C
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that food is done. You can’t always tell by looking.

Chilling Foods

 

  • Put intended cold storage food products in the refrigerator right away.
  • 2-Hour Rule: Put foods in the fridge or freezer within 2 hours after cooking or buying from the store. Do this within 1 hour if it is 90 °F, 30°C or hotter outside.
  • Never thaw food by simply leaving it out of the freezer, best practice is to defrost in the refrigerator in advance.
  • Marinate foods in the fridge.

 Defrosting Foods

Defrosting must never be done at room temperature. This means no defrosting of food on kitchen workbenches or other surfaces.

  • In the refrigerator: This is the safest way to defrost food. When food is defrosted in the refrigerator, the food doesn’t pass through the temperature ‘danger zone’ (between 40-140°F or 6-60°C). The danger zone is a name given to the temperature window above and below which bacteria can comfortably grow and multiply This is why this is the safest of all defrosting methods. This should be on the lower shelves and should ideally be placed on a plate
  • *This can be a long process depending on the size of the food, and should be used with advanced planning in mind, moving food from freezer to refrigerator the day prior to its intended use.
  • In the microwave ovens: this can be useful and quick, this is really only recommended for foods that are going to be cooked immediately following. (Be aware that this can change the evenness of the cooking process as well)
  • Defrost while cooking: Some food items have been designed to be cooked from frozen such as hamburger patties, frozen vegetables and frozen pastry. Always check the internal temperature of the food before serving.
  • Under cold running water or by changing the water every 30 minute to conserve water: is the least safe but acceptable method. If this method is used a clean and sanitized sink is required, ensure food is completely submerged under running potable water of 20°C (60°F) or lower or colder water can be exchanged every 30 minutes. The food should be held in leak-proof, waterproof packaging, this method is only acceptable if the food can be defrosted within 2 hours.

 

Storage of foods in the refrigerator

 

  • Ensure the refrigerator is kept below 5C
  • Ready-to-eat foods should be stored at the top of the fridge
  • Raw meat, poultry and fish should be stored in sealed containers to stop them touching or dripping onto other foods on lower shelves.
  • Some foods have ‘use by’ dates, these foods are generally dangerous to eat after this date.
  • Some foods have ‘best before’ dates, this means the quality may not be as good but the food may still be safe to eat.
  • Cool down leftovers as quickly as possible (eat within two days if not frozen) keep in sealed container or covered
  • Avoid putting open tin cans with leftover food in the refrigerator, it is better to transfer this food into a separate sealed container.

Freezing food

 

You can freeze many different foods, However, be aware that the textures can change once defrosted. Foods with a high water content eg; strawberries and tomatoes, will go squishy or have a very different texture, these are generally still fine to cook with. Place food in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in freezer bags or cling film before placing in the freezer otherwise the cold air will dry it out this is referred to as freezer burn.

 

Refreezing meat and fish

  • Never refreeze raw meat (of any kind) or fish that has been defrosted.

 You can refreeze cooked meat and fish once, as long as they have been cooled before going into the freezer. If in doubt, do not refreeze.

Reusing bags

 

With more people reusing single-use plastic carrier bags or using a reusable bag for life, you can help prevent bacteria spreading to ready-to-eat food by:

  • Packing raw foods separately from ready-to-eat foods, in separate bags.
  • Keeping one or two reusable bags just for raw foods only – don't use the same bags for ready-to-eat foods.
  • Checking your bags for spillages, such as raw meat juices or soil, after every use
  • Wiping out and/or washing the bags after each trip with warm salty water or disposing
  • Do Not reuse ziplock or freezer bags.

If there has been any spillage, soiling or damage, plastic bags for life or single-use plastic carrier bags should ideally be disposed of.

 

Cotton and fabric-based bags for life can be put in the washing machine.

 Please see links below for more information

Information on the Mental Capacity {DOLS} Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

This aims to provide a brief insight into and about mental capacity, the full and detailed versions can be found and read at:

If you are ever in doubt that an individual’s capacity has changed you should immediately report to an NHS professional, district nurse and/or the patients next of kin to ensure their personal safety and wellbeing. If at any time you believe that a person is being deprived or held in a restrictive manner and has clear mental capacity, this MUST be brought to the attention of authorities.

What is mental Capacity?

This describes when a person has the ability to safely make their own decisions. The Mental Capacity Act {MCA} advises that if a person is not able to do one or more or the below they may be lacking in mental capacity to make their own decisions.

  • Unable to understand the information given to them
  • Retain information long enough to make a decision
  • Weight up the information available to make a decision
  • Communicate their decision

 

This Act is designed to protect the individuals that are unable to make decisions as their minds and brains may not be able to act or think in a rational way. This can be due

  • Medicines that may cause confusion, drowsiness or unconsciousness
  • disability
  • use of alcohol and drugs
  • stroke or brain injury
  • dementia
  • learning disability
  • mental health problems

The decisions made by the MCA can be part of a person’s life and wellbeing to the full accountability of how the 24-hour care. So, the welfare decisions can be from how they manage their money, who can help with everyday tasks, to complex serious life and death decisions.

The Mental Capacity Act 5 key principles are

  • A presumption of capacity, everyone has a right unless proved otherwise, so do not assume they do or do not have capacity just because they are suffering medical condition or a disability
  • Be supported, all effects and encouragement must be given to include and support the person to make decisions
  • The less understandable decision, just because individuals make preferences and decisions that you don’t agree with {unless safeguarding issue} you cannot assume a lack of capacity
  • Best Interest, all decisions must be made with the person best interest if lacking in capacity
  • Less Restrictive Option, a person making the decisions must decide if they are interfering with the personal rights and freedom, and the intervention should be proportional to the circumstances  

When a person Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard {DOLS} is put in place, it is placed by the Court of protection if they live in their own home or supported living. If a person is in a hospital or a care home they will have to make an application to the local authority for DOLS to be put in place. If a person is in the hospital they can also be detained under the mental health Act.   

This all involves assessments, independent assessors, family, friends and NHS professionals to all contribute to the consultations. The code of practice for the Deprivation of liberty Safeguards gives guidelines for all concerned to follow.

Once a person’s lack of capacity has been proven different restriction and restraints can be included depending on any challenging behavior, medical needs or psychological issues.

 

www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/factsheets/fs62_deprivation_of_liberty_safeguards_fcs.pdf

webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk

www.cqc.org.uk/file/156026

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2005/9/pdfs/ukpgacop_20050009_en.pdf

 

It is an offense that anyone caring for a person who lacks capacity or making decisions for themselves, wilfully neglects, or ill-treats the person, deliberately fails to carry out the duty of care and following the support plan can face a fine and imprisonment.

 

Many people may have difficulty getting to shops and services and have to rely on the assistance of family, friends and carers. The 80 to 84 year old age group seem to have great difficulty shopping for groceries, while those over 90 normally find it impossible. These age groups face many barriers alongside those who are disabled or otherwise vulnerable when out alone.

This could be that they live in rural areas, and can no longer drive or manage public transport alone. This also could be due to an inability to carry heavy shopping or reach the high and even low shelves safely. Also if they are suffering from any impairments like sight, speak, hearing this can lead to a lack in confidence, a general safety risk or even societal pressures of others they need to communicate with.   

As an independent carer you maybe asked to assist your client in completing their shopping or services tasks. This could mean accompanying your client to the shops or assisting them to use the internet to complete tasks or order online. Your client may even ask you to buy something for them on your way that they have run out of or is not on the usual shopping list.

This is when the carers trust comes into play and this can often mean handling cash from your clients or even being entrusted with debit/credit card numbers and passwords/pins. These details must not be saved or written anywhere for further reference. Cards and money/change should be returned immediately to the client, alongside receipts. 

Remember you must always keep receipts take a copy for yourself and attach a copy to the shopping expenses form, make a written log. You may also be required  to contact next of kin if the values of purchases are high or different than normal. It’s always best to avoid cash where possible as it is a lot safer and easier to protect yourselves as well as the client.  Also remember it is also advised that carers never take cash gifts from the client.  

The different ways you can assist your client in maintaining their independance and security when shopping or accessing services is to either escort them to the shops (remember to arrange a wheelchair if needed before going), help the client to arrange telephone orders for home deliveries via careplace.org.uk/services/11112/Sainsbury-s-Telephone, or encourage the client to look online with you and order direct. 

There is also the option of a carers shopping card, which is a very valuable and useful tool for protecting everyone's best interests and security. The sites below can offer plenty of useful information about the safety and protection of clients money 

www.moneycarer.org.uk

www.moneycarer.org.uk/services/carers-shopping-card

The Carers Shopping Card provides a convenient, safe and secure way for carers to access smaller amounts of money that they may need to assist with shopping and other money related tasks for the person they are caring for. 

Carers Shopping Card services have been designed to protect vulnerable people who have a need for their carers to access some of their money for shopping needs. There are 4 different carer card application options depending on the circumstances of the vulnerable person, how they are supported, and their mental capacity. The application form can be found on the sites above.

Updating your Training certificates

 

As an independent carer it is your own responsibility to keep your training certificates up to date. This also includes the practical side of your training which is necessary in some courses. It is to your advantage and your clients to keep yourselves updated with the latest methods, techniques and knowledge so you can look after your clients to the best possible standard which they expect and deserve.

 

On the helper.community platform your profile there is a facility to upload all your qualification and relevant documents. Prospective clients may want to review these first, so helper advises that all mandatory training units are kept up to date. This will give prospective clients even more confidence in you to care for them and that you are professional in all aspects of care

 

If you work for an agency these are normally carried out in house on a yearly basis as well as some being carried out on line, the company or agency then usually cover the cost. As an independent private carer this will be down to yourself to organise but do remember you can offset on your tax return each year as expense outlay.

 

Helper.community has looked at some value for money, UK based, with UK telephone numbers, online training providers that offer training at low cost. They also have plenty of material and information for you to read before you take the test. These tests are multiple choice so you will need to tick the correct box after reading the question. The test can be taken again until you achieve the pass grade or up your first time grade, the learning material can also be assessed continually.

 

Once you have reached the pass grade a certificate can be printed out digital. These online exams cover all the mandatory training plus certificate and plenty more, examples below.

  • Understanding Your Role
  • Your Personal Development
  • Duty of Care
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Work in a Person-centred Way
  • Communication
  • Compassion, Dignity and Privacy
  • Fluids and Nutrition
  • Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability
  • Safeguarding Adults
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Basic Life Support
  • Health and Safety
  • Handling Information
  • Infection Prevention and Control

You can chat online, phone or email the companies to get the right plans for the doing the online training

  

lowcoste-learning.co.uk have packages for the individual private person that allow you to take as many online training courses as you want. Once you are set up they email you and you can access all the courses.

 

http://www.lowcoste-learning.co.uk/cqc-essentials/online-care-certificate-training-courses.php

 

03339 205782  or info@lowcoste-learning.co.uk

 

With Social-care.tv you set up an account and purchase credits as you go so only paying for the courses you wish to take; the course prices start at £1.49 (as at 2018). There is a discount in place if you purchase several credits at a time once you receive the email and your set up you add the courses to take.

 

www.social-care.tv

 

01953 853070

 

The St john Ambulance service offer several practical courses to run alongside your online theory, plus many more you may find useful to attend. Some of the courses maybe offered at no charge but do ask for a donation, others you will have to pay for. On passing the assessment and training you will receive a certificate by them. So, by visiting their site you are supporting them as well as looking after yourself and other people.

 

http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/training-courses/health-and-safety-courses.aspx  

 

0844 770 4800

 

Fire Alarms systems save lives

The best advice is to get some training to make you aware of fire safety.  The London fire brigade site has lots of very useful information.

www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/

Helper.community advises independent carers to visit the site and formalise yourself with their advice and information on offer. They have a special section for carers and social workers which cover the difficulties that may arise and how to cope.

There is also a downloaded booklet ‘Fire safety in the Home’ &’ Home fire essentials’ plus a  ‘person-centered fire risk assessment checklist’ which you will also find in the resources page which may assist you.

Helper.community advises as an independent carer you should never put yourself in danger. It can be a very difficult decision to make to get yourself to safety and leave your patient/ client if you are unable to move the person from the dangerous situation. But you cannot help the person if you are trapped also. The fire brigade will want to know all the information you have on the person and the room they are in, the entrances and exits etc.

Please remember to dial 999 immediately in the advent of a fire.

https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/carers-and-support-workers/

As an independent carer on visits to your client you are advised to check the smoke alarms regularly also they are fitted in the places that are at high risk that fire may start, with any concerns reported to your client of next kin immediately.

If the concerns are immediate safety issues you can contact the Home fire safety team at your local council to visit the client to advise or contact the local fire brigade from www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety you find contact forms online or you can book a visit by ringing 0800 028 4428 or texting 07860 021 319.

There are the normal basic smoke alarms fitted to ceiling but also there are special alarms adapted to protect people with different needs to keep them safe and to raise the alarm.

Heat Alarms: are best for kitchens and smoke alarms can be fitted in most other rooms except for the bathroom, as steam from the hot water could cause false alarms.

Make sure alarms are interlinked:– so that when one alarm detects a fire they all go off together, giving the person an early warning.

Make sure Telecare systems are always linked to fire alarms. This is an alarm system that can help people to continue to live independently by allowing someone else – typically a call centre or a relative who lives elsewhere – to make sure a person is safe.

Specialist strobe light and vibrating pad alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing

Automatic water systems such as sprinklers could be needed for people who may not be able to escape easily.

Other Important things covered on the site to be aware of if you care for someone vulnerable

  • Mobility issues
  • Mental health issues
  • Caring for smokers
  • Escape plans
  • Bedtime checks
  • Candles
  • Portable heaters / open fires
  • Free smoke alarms
  • Property management ( if in rented home)
  • Cooking
  • Carbon monoxide alarms
  • Electrical items
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Emollient creams( moistures that reduce water loss)

This is the best site to gain information and knowledge www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/ all the information and content included is so valuable to keeping everyone safe.

 

Also there are plenty of training courses out there and online courses which you can gain knowledge and understanding about fire awareness and fire safety.

https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/contact-us/

Telecare Services Association (TSA) training tools

https://www.qualhub.co.uk/qualification-search/qualification-detail/ncfe-level-2-award-in-principles-of-fire-safety-for-the-workplace-4370

https://www.firesafetytrainingatwork.co.uk/elearning-training/?course_id=888

https://www.fireaction.co.uk/fire-safety-training/

First aid and the role of a first aider, is to give assistance to any person suffering a sudden illness or injury, to keep them safe, to preserve life and prevent the condition worsening until they can get more advanced medical treatment by seeing a doctor, health professional or go to hospital, or by phone 999.

First aid saves lives and knowing what to do in an emergency can make all the difference. First aid can be a simple skill, but it can have an incredible impact on people’s lives. But you must remember do not attempt anything unless you have had training.

There are numerous places and sites to gain basic first aid knowledge and to take courses some are free others can have a charge. Just learning how to put someone in the recovery position could save a life. If you have no training just dial 999 and just comfort and reassure that help is on its way, and keep them warm.

If you phone the emergency services on 999 the operators will ask you questions about the situation and any personal information you may have on the person, name, date of birth, address or visual injuries. They will also talk you through anything you are able to assist to help the person until the paramedics arrive to take over.

 

Helper.community does advise that in the interest of health & safety  all independent carers should take a course and learn basic first aid, this is an advantage to themselves as to their clients

 

www.sja.org.uk

www.redcrossfirstaidtraining.co.uk/Courses.aspx

www.redcross.org.uk/first-aid/book-a-first-aid-course

www.reed.co.uk/courses/free/first-aid/online

www.nhs.uk/conditions/first-aid/

www.firstaidforfree.com/free-first-aid-course/

 

Some events or situations that you may come across or have to deal with on your own or with others ie severely injured people or people who have died may leave you feeling distressed or traumatised. There is always help out there with someone to speak to don’t keep it bottled up inside. See below some information sites that can help

www.nhs.uk/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/

www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsanddisorders/copingafteratraumaticevent.aspx

www.counselling-directory.org.uk/trauma.html

www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/impact-traumatic-events-mental-health

Looking after your skin and protecting it is very important from a young age as it has a lot of different functions, it helps to control body temperature, the sebaceous glands produce oils to help kill microbes and it's outer coat to protect your bodies insides.

 

As you age, the skin becomes thin and dry, it may need special moisturisers to assist in the protection. If it becomes too dry, it is prone to cracking, tears and dermatitis, which can allow for bacteria to grow and this can result in infection. Sun exposure and genetics all play a role in thinning skin, as do certain medications.

 

Long-term use of oral or topical corticosteroids can also weaken the skin and blood vessels in the skin. So you must be very careful and gentle when washing the skin and what you use, on the skin.

 

Mild soaps or moisturisers are recommended with warm water, do not scrub the skin, always pat dry and then moisturise before the skin has completely dried out. The basic function of a moisturiser is to help hold the water in the skin so therefore not letting it dry out.

 

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/fashion-beauty/skincare-advice/

 

Remember the most expensive moisturisers are not always the best, the most important thing is to keep protecting the skin and there are plenty of reasonable priced moisturisers/sun creams out there that will do a reasonable job.

 

Dementia is a progressive illness and will get worse over time. Alzheimer disease will develop steadily while vascular dementia has a stepped deterioration. This is when a person overnight can lose an ability to do something or say something they could do the day before.

 

Any person that shows a sudden significant change should be referred to the GP / health worker immediately. Dementia can affect any age or a person but is most common in the over 65s even though they may not be diagnosed until other problems arise.

 

To be diagnosed can be a lengthy process as it's not always obvious to start, you just know there might be something changing but you may just think its the ageing process. As you go through the stages the symptoms of the person will change, they become more reliant on other people to keep them safe and look after their wellbeing. So a good understanding of the patient and care can still help with the quality of life.

 

Some other illness and conditions can be mistaken for dementia as the symptoms can be similar or the same. A person may have an infection, sensory problems, delirium or depression that can make a person appear confused and have the lack of understanding.

Alzheimer’s disease

This is normally divided into 3 stages

Early stages for people may consist of

  • Forgetting things like recent events
  • Repeat themselves
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Becoming confused
  • Lack of motivation

The second stage people can start

  • To get lost while out
  • Experience hallucinations and problems understanding their environment
  • Do odd things without realising
  • Create risks through forgetfulness ie forgetting to lock doors, leaving the cooking unattended

The third stage has more serious symptoms and can create a quality of life

  • Eating and swallowing problems
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Loss of mobility
  • incontinence

Vascular dementia

This occurs when a person has suffered a stroke or mini-strokes as these causes irreversible damage to the person's brain. So, depending on whereabouts in the brain the damage has occurred will depend on how serious the outcome will be on their ability to function or what functions they may lose. Deterioration is unpredictable depending on the frequency of the mini-strokes know as { TIA  Transient Ischaemic attack }

Symptoms can include and associated with are

  • Poor contraction
  • Loss of ability to reason
  • Visual and perception problems
  • The anxiety of physical strength or ability
  • forgetfulness

Looking after people with dementia

You must remember these sufferers still need to be treated with the dignity and respect, just because they are suffering from dementia they are still the same person, just with new challenges to face for themselves, friends and family.

By understanding dementia, a little more you can have a positive view and focus on centred care so on things the person can still be able to do or offer new experiences like arts, music, films, walking and crafts. By being ignored, receiving poor care or being treated like a child a dementia sufferer can react by

  • Shouting or screaming
  • Calling for help
  • Lashing out when not used to attention
  • Wondering looking for a friendly face
  • Anxiety
  • Being withdrawn

When speaking with a sufferer minus the background noise so they can just focus on what you are saying

Challenging behaviours

Some forms of dementia can present different forms of behaviour that can be quite alarming and scary. Challenging behaviour can cause harm or the potential to harm themselves or others. You must remember to leave the situation quickly if you feel unsafe. Then you should record & report to an NHS professional or a Manager, but remember these people are very vulnerable so don’t provoke or respond stay calm.

The sort of behaviour that a person can display can have a very distressing, and upsetting effect on everyone involved including the general public. 

If a person becomes too extreme with their challenging behaviour they may be referred to the mental health team under the Mental Health Act 2005 where a different body of NHS professionals takes over to protect them.

  • Hitting, kicking, biting
  • Aggressive
  • Shouting swearing & verbal insults
  • Wandering
  • Repetitive questioning
  • Inappropriate sexual expression and behaviour
  • Self- harming
  • Hoarding
  • Urinating in inappropriate places
  • Smearing or collecting faeces
  • Non- compliance with care {refusing meds, washing, eating}

Medication

There are medications that may be prescribed to deal with the symptoms but these can have service side effects. All involved must ensure these are prescribed in the best interest of the person and will not complicate the managing of their care further.

These medicines may be

  • Anti-psychotics { e.g haloperidol, risperidone}
  • Sedatives/benzodiazepines {e.g diazepam}
  • Anti-depressants {e.g citalopram}
  • Anti-convulsants {e.g. sodium valproate}
  • Anti-dementia drugs {donepezil}  

A whole new way of communication, an adaption of the home assessing the risks may need to be put in place to assist the wellbeing and independence of the person to stay living safety in their own home. You may find these below useful

  • Sensory Aids
  • Picture cards on cupboards and doors
  • Write down instructions on cupboards doors fridges
  • Disconnect the cooker{ by a professional }
  • Experienced carers
  • Camera connected to your phone
  • Commodes
  • Sensor lights
  • Pre-programmed telephones
  • Good facial expressions
  • Use hands gestures
  • Keep eye contact
  • Plenty of their life events around them
  • Sensory alarms {if wonder }

There is a lot of professional help out there that may be able to help you and the person

  • Speech & language therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Audiologist
  • Social worker
  • GP
  • Websites
  • Dementia nurse
  • Advocacy service
  • Dementia support
  • Dietitian
  • Carers

Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but treatments and specialists can help you to manage the condition and its symptoms. The MS symptoms and disabilities can be different for each person depending on the part of the nervous system that is damaged. The cause is still not known so no cure has been found yet but there is plenty of research taking place.

So, the management and medication for MS depend on the person and their symptoms. More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS. People are most likely to be diagnosed with MS in their 40s and 50s, but MS can affect any age. But many people notice their first symptoms years before they get their diagnosis. MS affects almost three times as many women as men.

This is a condition that affects your brain and spinal cord. In MS, the coating that protects your nerves (myelin) is damaged, and this causes a range of symptoms. This happens because the central nervous system which sends messages from the brain to the rest of the body cannot do this in the normal way. The messages can become slower, distorted or completely blocked.

With MS your body attacks itself the immune system which normally helps to fight off infections thinks that the protective coating {myelin} around the nerves is a foreign body so attacks it. This leaves the nerves and nerve fibre without the protected layer damaged, so exposed damage over time increases the disability of a person. The damaged areas are known as scars or lesions so the more or these a person has the fewer signals are being sent and received through the nervous system.  

The symptoms are unpredictable, MS suffer may have periods known as relapses when the symptoms are worse and then days when they are in remissions when the symptoms seem to disappear.

 

Some of the most common symptoms may include

 

Living with MS can be challenging as with many illnesses and disabilities. You may have to adapt your daily life or your home if you're diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), but with the right care and support you can still lead an independent, active life.

Looking after yourself and taking responsibility for your own health and wellbeing is essential. Healthy eating assessing your own risk to prevent accidents, keeping as fit as you can, maintaining good physical and mental health. Also, keeping in touch with your care team and support network so they can review your MS and gives you opportunities to ask questions, and about any new treatments that may be available.

Suggested foods to eat plenty of are

  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Low-fat protein
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Foods rich in vitamin D
  • Plant-based oils
  • Turmeric
  • Fatty fish – omega 3
  • Avocado
  • Ginger

Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle if you are an MS sufferer you should not smoke and be careful with drinking alcohol. Alcohol may exacerbate symptoms or MS, also excess alcohol can cause liver damage, stomach ulcers dementia and cancer. It has been suggested that smoking can put you at a higher risk of relapses and progressive symptoms as well as the other cancers and breathing problems.

Foods that have been suggested you could avoid to see if it helps with your symptoms are

  • Trans fats –animal-based foods and full dairy products
  • Cows milk
  • Sodium
  • Sugar
  • Refined grains
  • Gluten
  • Diet drinks
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine
  • Monosodium glutamate { MSG}

Learning more information about MS can be found from the Web Sites below

Parkinson’s Disease

This a very complex neurological brain condition with many potential symptoms. People with Parkinson's do not have enough of the chemical dopamine, this happens when some of the nerve cells that produce the dopamine die. Most people will be around 50 to 60 years of age when diagnosed but there are people a lot younger who have Parkinson’s.

Researchers still don’t know why it happens but research has suggested combination of genetic and environmental factors, but, organisations continue in their research to look for the cure with charities and trusts funding clinical trials in medicines and genetics.

www.cureparkinsons.org.uk  

 

The symptoms and the progression of the illness differ for each person. Not everyone will experience every symptom and in the same way or order. Symptoms can be referred to as non-motor symptoms {this about symptoms affecting your movement} or non- motor {symptoms affecting other parts of your body}

Different medications are used to treat the different symptoms caused by the disease, they also use a drug called Levodopa which is absorbed by the cells and turned into the missing Dopamine, but like all medication there can be side effects.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s can be

  • Tremors
  • Slowness of movement
  • rigidity
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Dental health
  • Eating, swallowing and salvia control
  • Eye problems
  • Falls dizziness
  • Freezing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Muscle cramps, dystonia
  • Restless legs
  • Footcare
  • Skin and sweating
  • sleep
  • speech and communication
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • hallucinations
  • memory
  • dementia
  • loss of smell

As Parkinson is a progressive illness it is rated in stages once diagnosed. The first stage is usually very mild symptoms that do not interfere with your daily life, by the time you are at stage five which is classed as severe the person is incapacitated and will need to be cared for and assisted in all basic tasks.

Over the years as Parkinson’s progresses it can cause life-threatening complications, this can be though fractures from falls are swallowing problems which can cause choking, pneumonia or other pulmonary conditions.

Pneumonia is a breathing condition in which there is swelling or an infection of the lungs or large airways. This happens when food, saliva, liquids or vomit are breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs, instead of being swallowed into the esophagus and stomach.

Michael J Fox is a current celebrity film star who is suffering from the illness, born in 1961 and diagnosed in 1991 at a young age of 29, he carried on working until he was 39. The Michael J Fox Foundation has been set up in America to try to find a cure.

www.michaeljfox.org

Billy Connolly the Scottish Comedian also suffers from the disease he was diagnosed in 2013 but had been living with the disease a lot longer but because the symptoms were mild he never thought there was a problem.

The problem of blindness can affect one or both eyes in a person, they can be born blind or have a disease or condition that can cause the loss of sight, loss of sight can happen to any person at any age. Blindness is not always just seeing darkness, people who are registered blind can normally see light or shadows. It can be very difficult for someone to adjust who has been sighted and then starts to go blind, they can get very emotional or even angry.

Glaucoma refers to four different eye conditions that can damage your optic nerve, which carries visual information from your eyes to your brain. Macular degeneration destroys the part of your eye that enables you to see details. It so important that you have your eye tested and any discomfort, visual changes or injury you visit the optician straight away.

When dealing or speaking with a blind person you must try to put yourself in how they might feel so here’s some information that may help for you both to feel comfortable chatting.

  • Talk directly to the person who is blind in a normal tone of voice. The fact that he cannot see is no indication that he cannot hear well.
  • Do not bring attention to a person who is blind or visually impaired when they are performing typical activities such as using a telephone, checking their watch, or writing his name in longhand.
  • Never assume that a blind person needs or even wants assistance. Ask, “May I be of help?” or “There’s water in the centre of the table, would you like me to pour a glass for you?” Speak in a normal, friendly tone.
  • Never grab a blind person’s arm when offering assistance. Instead, permit her to take your arm so that your moves can be anticipated.
  • When walking with someone who is blind or visually impaired, proceed at a normal pace. Hesitate slightly before stepping up or down.
  • Be explicit in giving directions. Pointing does not help, and avoid using words such as “over there,” or “that way.” Use “right” or “left” according to the way he is facing, compass directions or the position of the hands on a clock, i.e., “the doorway is at 3 o’clock.”
  • Do not avoid using descriptive words that refer to sight such as “Nice to see you” or “You look lovely today.”
  • Identify yourself to a blind person so she knows of your presence. “Hello Sam, it’s Pam.” Never ask a blind person to guess who you are by your voice or touch.
  • Shake hands when you meet or leave a blind person. A cordial handshake substitutes for a friendly smile.
  • Never leave a person who is blind in an open area. Before leaving, ask if you may guide them to the side of a room or to a chair or other landmark.
  • When you leave the presence of someone who is blind or visually impaired, either quietly inform them that you are leaving or say “Tom, it was nice speaking with you, I’m leaving now.” This prevents the person who is blind or visually impaired from speaking to an empty chair.
  • When dining in a restaurant with someone who is blind or visually impaired, ask if they would like you to read the menu. When you do read the menu, always include the price of each item. When dining, offer to identify the items being served, and once again, identify their placement using the face of a clock, “The wine glass is at one o’clock.”

You are automatically eligible to apply for a Blue Badge without further assessment if you are registered blind (severely sight impaired). You eligible to apply if you are registered as partially sighted (sight impaired) but this is not automatically without an assessment.

There is also colour blindness, this is when you have difficulty distinguishing certain colours such as blue, yellow red or green. Colour blindness is an inherited condition which affects more males than females. People can function in the normal way they just have to learn how to work out the colours differently. Colour blindness is still classed as a disability

Cures are being researched and studied and trails being carried out using gene therapy for some visual diseases. Some result has shown to be very positive.  

There are plenty of different aids to assist with blind or partly sighted people if you go to shop.rnib.org.uk you can see all sorts of aids to help with your everyday life for all ages from mobility aids to talking clocks.

We also have the guide dogs who are an essential part of some people’s lives and there are also assistance dogs both always have a long waiting list for them. The pages also cover the laws and the equality Act 2010 covering the acceptance of the guide dog. So much information and help on their website also a shop with gifts and ways in which you can help to support the charity.