October 09, 2014 -- Able Newsflash No.444

Care News

New research has shown that the smoking-related social care needs are costing Luton council over £1.8 million.

The figures came from work commissioned by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) from the economist Howard Reed of Landman Economics and it shows for the first time the estimated cost of smoking to local authority care budgets.

It highlights how smokers aged 50+ are far more likely than ‘never smokers’ to have care needs (around nine years earlier than average).

For Luton, the cost to the local authority from increased social care needs is over £1.8 million and the cost to self-funders (people who pay for their own care) from increased social care needs is nearly £1.4 million.

Cllr Mahmood Hussain, portfolio holder for adult social care, said: "Smoking affects the council’s care budget and impacts on care provided by family and friends.

"Reducing the number of smokers means less of the Council’s budget has to be diverted to smoking related illness, and places less of a burden on loved ones to provide self-funded care."

The authority added that number of people receiving local authority social care had gone up by 115 and the number of people receiving care from friends and relatives had risen by 1,325.

The Care Act 2014 requires councils with social care responsibilities to have preventive measures in place to reduce future need for domiciliary care

(Source: Luton on Sunday)


Contact lens wearers are risking their sight by shunning opticians and buying directly over the internet, eye experts are warning. "They might be saving themselves a few pounds, but in ‘cutting corners’ they are also putting themselves at risk of a dangerous eye infection."

Foreign websites that sell lenses without asking to see evidence of a prescription are believed to be largely to blame for the problem.

Cases of eye infection with a type of amoeba called Acanthamoeba – which can irreparably damage the corneas – have doubled since 2010, said Professor John Dart, of Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

He said the trend towards internet purchasing had contributed to the rise, because people do not undergo ‘vital’ eye checks so frequently.

These are essential for spotting early signs of infection and to make sure people know about contact lens hygiene, explained Prof Dart. Optometrist Dr Nigel Best, from Specsavers, said the real threat came from ordering lenses online from foreign-based websites, rather than UK-based firms which required a prescription.

He explained: "Once the prescription expires, you cannot re-order online from a reputable UK website, so you have to go back for a test.

‘However, there are an awful lot of foreign websites [selling to UK customers] and these don’t require a prescription. Because they are based outside the UK, the General Optical Council is powerless to act."

(Source: Daily Mail Online)

Question of the Week

"My aunt has been living in a very nice care home for many years. Unfortunately her funds are now running out and she has had to involve Adult Social Care with respect to paying future fees. However, the financial amount they can give to pay for her care home fees will not cover the weekly cost of the home she is in. We have been advised that unless we are able to contribute to the weekly cost my Aunt may have to move to another care home which is less expensive. Is this right?"

Answer : Yes, if additional funds cannot be found then your Aunt may have to move to a home within Adult Social Care's funding levels.

Autumn Tip of the Week

Many older people fall when in the bathroom. Slippery floors, rugs or a dizzy spell are all reasons why. The problem becomes worse if the bathroom door is locked.

There are however, double sided locks which can be opened easily from either side. If a person is locked in, you can easily open the door to help them.

The locks are widely available form hardware stores and online.

In-House News

A potential client has been visited in Cornwall.

Pop in monitoring visits have been made in Norfolk.

2 potential live-in care workers were interviewed this week and five placed on the Register.

Blog at http://angelaegifford.com "Caring for Older People in the Coming Decades" published in Light Blue Law, Cambridgeshire and District Magazine Autumn edition.


Able Community Care writes for references for each potential live-in care worker and upon receipt we check them by telephone. However there is an increasing trend for references requests to a person’s previous care organisation to be responded to along the lines of; JK worked for this organisation between the dates of X and X only.

Such references to not disclose whether such a person was sacked, honest or dishonest, reliable/unreliable, experienced, liked/not liked, etc. Sometimes the verification phone call will be able to elicit further information but at other times, will not.

Surely this is not an acceptable situation? We have passed on our concerns to Minister Norman Lamb.

Interesting Information/Statistics

The longest human tongue was 3.86 inches and the widest tongue came in at 3.1 inches wide.

Each year in the USA there are over 19 million visits to Doctors surgeries because of knee problems.

Client Profile of the Week

Kevin is in his late 30’s and is quadriplegic. Kevin needs total care and additional support comes in from outside agencies.

Social activity plays an important part of Kevin’s life and it is therefore essential that he has care workers who drive. Currently his care package consists of two regular rotational live-in carers, chosen by Kevin, both of whom can drive.


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Best Wishes,
Angela Gifford, Director
Able Community Care Ltd.
Telephone 01603 764567