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Finding the right home care agency and care workers for your loved ones can be a difficult task. We have put together a useful list of the right questions to ask when searching for home care services, knowing the right questions to ask can make all the difference to ensure you are making the right decision. 

About the care workers the agency provides: 


  • Do you carry out background checks on your care workers?
  • Do you carry out a DBS?
  • What type of qualifications do your caregivers have and do they receive regular training?
  • Do you require your care workers to have a minimum amount of experience?
  • What type of training do they receive and how often is this updated?
  • Are your caregivers insured through your agency?
  • What is your reference policy for your care workers? Are they required to give at least 2 written references?
  • Will my relative have a regular care worker?
  • What if a care worker is unable to make it due to ill health or bad weather conditions?
  • Will records be kept? I.e for the care that has been given and the time spent?
  • Do you provide copies of these records if requested?

About your relative’s needs

  • Will you be conducting your own assessment before offering a care plan? And what will this assessment consist of?
  • Will the needs be matched to the most suitable carer?
  • Will we be able to request a different care worker if the one provided isn’t suitable?
  • What happens in the event of a medical emergency? How is this usually dealt with?
  • If a care worker requires a key to access my relatives home, how will you ensure this is kept safe and secure?

General questions about the agency:

  • How long has your agency been providing home care services? (ask more specifically about the type of care your relative requires)
  • What are your charges for the services required?
  • Can we get a copy of the standard contract of work with private clients?
  • Do you have a standard contract for work with private clients? Can we see a copy?
  • Are your care workers/agency regulated? And by whom?
  • Is there any additional charges on weekends/bank holidays? Is care provided on these days?
  • What type of insurance do you have? Does this just cover your care workers or my relative as well?
  • Are services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Is management available 24/7?
  • Can I talk to references that have used your services recently?
  • Is it possible to have a trial period.

At Sova Healthcare we are passionate about providing the best service possible to you and your relative, if you have any questions regarding our agency, the care workers or any other general questions please do not hesitate to contact us today.
Scientists have made a medical breakthrough by creating a drug that stops the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The drug, which is the first of its kind, has halted deterioration of the brain, which is caused by Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.

Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, and 520,000 of them have Alzheimer's disease, a physical disease that affects the brain. Alzheimer's causes a build-up of proteins in the brain, which then forms structures known as 'tangles' or 'plaques'. These plaques results in no connection between nerve cells, causing them to die, along with a loss of brain tissue. It also limits the production of chemicals in the brain, meaning that important messages are not transmitted.


What is Alzheimer's Disease?

The symptoms of Alzheimer's include memory loss, depression, hallucinations, inability to judge distances and dimensions, inability to concentrate, and becoming easily confused. As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe and patients often end up in need of home care services to help support them in their daily routine and assist with certain tasks.

There are already drugs (such as Donepezil) to control the symptoms of Alzheimer's, as well as therapy to help delay memory loss. However, this drug is the first of its kind to stop the deterioration of the brain, with some patients' deterioration rate stabilising for as long as 18 months. Research has shown that those who have taken the drug have had their fundamental cognitive skills maintained throughout the study.

These results were presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto by Dr Serge Gauthier of McGill University. He said:

"This is the first time it has happened in our field that a drug reduces the rate of brain atrophy. As a practising clinician, I see Alzheimer's patients, their families and caregivers continually share their desperate need for a truly therapeutic product."

If you have a family member who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and would like some advice on how best to care for them, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Telehealth

Care service providers have had to drastically adapt to modern day technology over the past decade, as it is constantly evolving and impacting our lives, one way or another. Not only is it affecting businesses throughout the globe, it's also had a huge impact on a number of healthcare services.

You may not be aware of this, but the breakthroughs in digital healthcare are making a huge difference to everyone's life for the greater good. Healthcare experts are constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas to change and improve healthcare for future generations.

However simple or sophisticated, there has been a truly remarkable change in the way we look at digital health tools and how they are changing the ways in which you interact with your healthcare team and carers.

How have digital advancements improved global healthcare?


The impact of technology on healthcare is simply staggering, although you may be assuming that we are referring to the equipment used in health centres.

Highly accurate data consumption

Online access to personal health information, such as lab results, current medications and other vital data, has helped health professionals to provide safe and effective care, which in turn allows healthcare professionals to track your care, ease your anxiety, and facilitate discussions and secure sharing with your family and home care services providers.

Improved communication

This aspect of healthcare is something that has been improved significantly in recent years. With medical records now available online, the likes of electronic prescriptions and requests for renewals have been upgraded in order to reduce the amount of manual errors, which may occur in this particular sector of healthcare, thereby also making it easier for carers to verify. Indeed, too many have experienced misreading a piece of handwriting, which then resulted in the wrong medication and prescription being provided.

Telehealth, or the process of delivering health-related services via telecommunications technologies, is a prime example of improving communications between patients and their advisors. Telehealth is a huge breakthrough as it not only reduces the need for patients to travel (which can be a major factor, especially for someone who has restricted travel access or a severe disability), it is also fantastic for doctors, who may not be able to access some rural communities, giving them the ability to provide care services through video conferencing and online consultations.

The growing demand for doctors and GPs not always being met, we can't stress enough how important a healthcare professional becomes to a patient. This particular method reduces the need for in-person appointments, giving home care services' clients the option to potentially consult from their homes, with their carers alongside them. With ready access to test results - like blood work - duplication of testing can also be reduced, saving clients time and getting them treatment sooner.

Crucial remote monitoring for emergency situations

We fully appreciate that all clients' medical history is an entirely private matter, which - if accessible remotely and online - could be highly beneficial in the long term. All of your details would of course remain private and confidential, but could make all of the difference. If you were to suffer an accident and you were cared for by an emergency department staff who aren't familiar with your medical history and record, remote online access could then ensure that you our your loved ones receive appropriate and informed care in an emergency situation.

Management of complex or chronic conditions

With the ongoing advancements of digital platforms and smart device technologies, there are hundreds of fantastic applications that have been created to monitor and stimulate your health frequently. For those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, digital health can make day-to-day monitoring and tracking much easier, helping you to track what you eat, the exercise you do, your sleep cycles, etc. Electronic portals are enabling patients to be a more active part of their own care team by actively 'playing' games which help stimulate brain activity and - notably for Dementia and Alzheimer's care services clients - memory.

In 2014, the NHS announced their plans for technological advancements which they aim to have in place within the next 5 years:
  • NHS 'Kitemarks' for trusted smartphone apps, which will help patients access services and take more control of their health and wellbeing in 2015.

  • Patients are to be able to access their own GP record from spring 2015, and will have full access to care records by 2018. Patients will also be able to record their own comments.

  • Patients will only have to tell their story once. With consent, care records will be available electronically across the health system by 2018 for urgent care services, and 2020 for all services - dramatically improving co-ordination of care, particularly for those with complex conditions.

  • Introducing a digital 'red book' - helping parents to manage their child's early health records - in 2016.

  • Ensuring that the NHS remains a leader in the global race to fight disease and a hub for genomics research. Developing innovative personalised medicines will mean the right treatment, first time.
At Sova Healthcare, we are keeping up to date with al the current and future technological advancements within healthcare, always looking out for any advancement which could benefit our clients and the quality of our care services in order to ensure that you get the best care and attention possible, for yourself or for a loved one. If you have any questions regarding any of the home care services that we offer, or if you wish to discuss your needs and requiremetns, call us on 0800 688 8866 or simply get in touch with a member of our friendly team.
Men's Health Week

Men's Health Week 2014 specifically focused on health in relation to work, unemployment and stress, as health issues have been increasingly noticed following hardship brought upon men as a consequence of the recession, and issue which was far too often overlooked.

This year, healthy living for men will be the main focus of Men's Health Week, taking place from the 15th to the 21st June 2015. Promoting a healthier lifestyle and aiming to increase awareness of specific diseases, illnesses, and conditions related to unhealthy habits often showcased by men (such as excessive drinking, eating, smoking, and a reluctance towards routine check-ups and consultations), this week will be challenging men to change their routines for healthier alternatives.

Indeed, smoking, drinking, and food overconsumption are likely to lead to serious diseases, notably heart diseases and strokes which are more prone to developing. Although women are more prone certain illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer's, heart problems in particular are increasingly experienced by men due to the laxer diet that is often permitted due to the common stereotypical belief that it is feminine and 'womanly' to watch your weight, and metrosexual to take care of your body.

Yet most fail to realise that with good life hygiene and a nutritious diet comes a strong immune system, health, and thus stability. The reluctance to consult when ill or injured is also a common behaviour observed in men, most likely due to a social pressure to display what is thought of as 'manliness', fighting diseases and showing strength and endurance as associated with a prehistoric basic hunting instinct that tells us to fight nature and battle the elements whilst striving for survival.

"Men are less aware of their symptoms than women, and are more reluctant to seek help" says Peter Baker, Chief Executive of the Men's Health Forum. In fact, a study by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) showed that men are less likely to seek medical advice or face-to-face treatments from pharmacists when ill, as well as being less willing to access NHS services than women, which can sometimes have devastating consequences.

As a result of this reluctance to seek medical advice or treatment, men are less likely to access disease screening or seek professional advice that will help them to shift towards healthier lifestyle alternatives (such as support plans to stop smoking). Unfortunately, this behaviour can lead to late diagnoses of serious conditions, and prevent adequate treatment from being prescribed as a preventative measure.

Indeed, this also continues through retirement, and notably when it comes to having to make the decision of whether constant care is required or whether home care services would be more appropriate. In light of an inherent need for independence (related to this need to identify with 'hunters'), men are often very reticent to the idea of a nursing home. Whilst we want to make sure that every single one of our clients receives the best and most appropriate care for their condition, we also strive to respect the choices and preferences of our clients, which is why we will always do our very best to provide the most supportive home care services for as long as possible.

This is why we provide a variety of domiciliary care services, from social companionship for emotional support to live-in care services when need be. We want to give men the chance to have their preferences made possible, whilst comprehensively helping them to remain as healthy as possible to enjoy the company of their loved ones.

Men's Health Week is therefore a great opportunity to raise awareness of such behaviours and trends whilst learning about the healthier lifestyles that are available. Father's Day also being almost upon us, remember to take care of your loved ones, and help them to look after their health as a preventative measure by offering them an essentially useful Health Manual.

Working hand in hand, lets make sure that all men realise the importance of their health and increase their sensibility when it comes to attending NHS check-ups and seeking adequate medical help or treatment.

For more information about the home care services that we offer and to discuss your needs and requirements, call us on 0800 688 8866 and get in touch with a member of our friendly team. Together, we can make sure that men get the support they need and deserve.
Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental health is becoming increasingly important, and that's why Mental Health Awareness Week provides such a wonderful opportunity to educate individuals about mental health conditions, including how to deal with them in your own life, and how to help others feeling their effects.

Mental Health Week is an initiative organised by the Mental Health Foundation aimed at raising awareness about mental health, along with looking into possible causes and treatment options. Since the event started in 2000, it has helped to create more engagement around the subject of mental health, and generated public debates on a variety of topic areas. This year's theme is 'Mindfulness', and aims to teach people about how our actions can change our emotional reaction to different events. By using techniques such as meditation, breathing, and yoga, mindfulness can empower individuals to have more control over their emotions, and their impact on their mental health.

Mental health issues are more common than you may think, with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem every year in the UK. Indeed, in early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, symptoms often remain unrecognised for a while, hence preventing people affected from getting adequate care services. This is why awareness of these illnesses is crucial, not only in educating friends and families about spotting the symptoms, but in making sure you or your loved ones receive adequate help and support. According to the Mental Health Foundation, the elderly population are also particularly vulnerable, with 1 in 5 experiencing mental health problems while living in the community, and a staggering 2 in 5 experiencing mental health issues while in a care home.

If you want to get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week, there are lots of events going on all over the country - visit the MentalHealth.org.uk site to sign up, receive updates about the initiative, and find out what's happening in your local area.

Receiving health care can be a difficult transition for those who have always lived independent lives, but at Sova Healthcare, we understand just how important mental health is to wellbeing, and that's why our care plans are tailored around individual customers, in order to give them the best quality of life possible. Our flexible approach means we can provide customers with true companionship and friendly assistance to enable them to live the life they've always known, allowing the best possible care experience.

To find out more about our tailored health care packages, please call us on 0800 688 8866, or contact us for more information.