Category Archives: Caring for the Elderly

New white paper ‘Optimising staff resource to improve care for an ageing population’

EVIDENCE from Autotime shows how integrated workforce management solutions can help care homes improve the quality of care for the UK’s ageing population and increase profitability.
In its white paper; ‘Optimising staff resource to improve care for an ageing population’, Auto Time explains how the UK’s growing and ageing population – which is expected to increase 9.6 million to 73.3 million by 2037 – combined with financial constraints and public pressure is placing the care home sector under increased strain to deliver high quality care cost-effectively.
The white paper outlines how replacing paper-based processes with an automated workforce management solution can make a real difference to care delivery and assist care providers to achieve cost savings and efficiencies from their workforce.
It details how care homes can overcome the persistent challenges of administration time, financial pressures, agency costs, increased regulations and staff shortages.
Paski Matarazzo, marketing director at Auto Time Solutions, said: ‘Poor workforce planning together with a chronic staff shortage has led to many care providers relying on expensive agency staff to plug skills gaps.
‘This has left care homes, already operating at fine profit margins and threatened by public spending cuts, facing soaring costs and under huge financial pressure to remain sustainable.
‘With research predicting that over the next decade the UK’s population requiring care will rise from 2.6 million to 3.4 million and people entering care homes requiring greater levels of care, care homes need to take steps to make efficiency gains and cut costs.
‘Workforce management solutions can deliver significant value to care homes by simplifying administrative tasks, automating data capture and streamlining workflows to improve staff productivity.
‘This releases valuable time of highly-qualified staff back into front-line care whilst providing managers with the transparency they need to better calculate staffing levels and deploy the right skills mix to reduce dependency on agency usage and control labour costs.’
On-demand access to real-time workforce analytics empowers managers to make informed business decisions, ensure care is delivered adequately by the right person and calculate the ‘true’ cost of care delivery to meet budgets.
Consolidation of critical HR information means managers can better allocate staff resource according to their qualifications, skills and availability.
This enables managers to create efficient and compliant rotas by ensuring every shift is adequately covered in terms of skills requirement to meet resident demands.
With care homes experiencing one of the highest staff turnovers in any industry, the white paper also discusses how better planning and management of workforce time can help the industry to address its current skills shortage.
Paski added: ‘Introducing flexible working patterns and empowering staff to take more control of their own shifts via Self-Service applications can act as a real incentive to attract people and keep them in the industry.’
The white paper ‘Optimising staff resource to improve care for an ageing population’ is available to download from the Auto Time website at
Alternatively please email
For further information call 0121 773 7222.

Source:New white paper ‘Optimising staff resource to improve care for an ageing population’

Nutritional needs for skeletal health change as you age, says new scientific review

Whether you’re young or old, the right nutrition can make a difference to your bone health and influence your ability to live an independent, mobile, fracture-free life into your more senior years. That’s the key message of a new scientific review by bone and nutrition experts.

Source:Nutritional needs for skeletal health change as you age, says new scientific review

Mobile robots could help the elderly live fuller lives, experts say

Mobile service robots developed by computer scientists could soon be helping elderly people stay independent and active for longer. The project, which includes artificial intelligence and robotics experts, will include a large-scale evaluation where robots will be deployed within the extra-care homes of LACE Housing Association in the UK, to care homes in Greece and to elderly people’s own homes in Poland, for one year.

Source:Mobile robots could help the elderly live fuller lives, experts say

The changing cost of care

The second stage of what the government is calling the ‘most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years’ will come into place in April 2016 and will radically affect the cost of care within the UK.
The Care Act cost cap
The Care Act aims to address the issue of spiralling expenses for users and unpaid bills for care organisations by introducing a cost cap. This follows on from the first stage of reform of the Care Act which came into force in April 2015 and focused on the need for personalising care and promoting wellbeing.
From April next year the cost cap for care will be set at £72,000 for people aged 65 and over, with any needed care expense above this covered by the local authority. People assessed as requiring care will be means tested to decide how much they can pay a care organisation before the local authority would need to step in.
A bidding war
The Care Act has recently been criticised in the media for potentially creating an ‘eBay’ style bidding war where care home organisations compete to give the cheapest prices in order to fill empty spaces. With this level of competition there is the fear that services will be negatively affected as organisations slash prices to gain contracts. But where would these cuts come from? The media has predicted that the standard of care would fall as organisations would not have the extra revenue needed to sustain standards. This is worrying news for those within the care system, and with a media spotlight already on the industry, any further failures would be a disaster for its already damaged reputation.
Embracing change
The majority of care home resident places are currently privately funded, and this trend would potentially continue. However, the care home industry needs to recognise that a proportion of their resident’s care will be funded by their local authority and that monitoring payments and budgets will be vital in order to stay profitable and keep in control of their finances. With the changes being made via the Care Act, the sector needs to consider techniques and strategies that will help them fulfil the new management challenges.
One way of dealing with the complex funding streams would be to implement a software system that would monitor and support financial analysis as well as wider management processes, ensuring financial stability. Current care home software available on the market will vastly improve back office management and enable managers to balance the payment schedules of their residents. This technology has the ability to manage funding sources, monitor payments, expenditure and also residents’ personal budgets.
Future predictions
On paper the cost cap is a good idea to stop mounting costs, but with few people qualifying for local authority support and with many never reaching the cap and having to use their assets to pay, does it really make a major difference to the general public’s care expense? Also, for those who do qualify for help, local authority charges will still be negotiated, it’s difficult to know what impact this will have on care standards?
We are unable to predict how care homes will ultimately be effected when the cost cap comes into place. However it is important for the industry to recognise that these changes are coming and to make sure they are prepared by embracing technology designed to meet these new requirements.
To find out more about the Care Act and how your journey as a care provider or care service user will be effected please visit our website

Source:The changing cost of care

Vitamin D supplements could help reduce falls in homebound elderly

Every year falls affect approximately one in three older adults living at home, with approximately one in 10 falls resulting in serious injury. Even if an injury does not occur, the fear of falling can lead to reduced activity and a loss of independence. Research has shown that vitamin D plays a key role in maintaining muscle integrity and strength and some studies suggest vitamin D may reduce the risk of falls.

Source:Vitamin D supplements could help reduce falls in homebound elderly

Sheffcare wins funding for major European research project

SHEFFCARE, the not for profit organisation that operates a chain of 11 residential care homes across Sheffield, is taking part in a major European research programme.
Sheffcare and the University of Sheffield have been successful in securing funding for research into how people with dementia could be supported with technology.
Sheffcare has been awarded a grant of 180,000 which will released over a three-year period as the research project continues.

Source:Sheffcare wins funding for major European research project

Construction begins on West Oxfordshire retirement village

RICHMOND Villages has started the first stage of construction at its newest village at Coral Springs, Witney, West Oxfordshire.
Set in 9.5 acres, the first residents are due to move into the new retirement village towards the end of 2015, and once fully open will provide homes for approximately 200 people.
Paddy Brice, managing director of Richmond Villages, together with representatives of BAM, the company carrying out the construction, were on hand to oversee the ground breaking at the £30million development which, once completed, will create around 150 jobs.
The site will offer three different levels of accommodation: Village apartments for people aged from 55 with services available as required; one and two bedroom Village suites for those requiring more assistance and care, and a care home providing nursing and dementia care.

Source:Construction begins on West Oxfordshire retirement village