Shears - Home Support & Relocation

Shears' News: 2012

Public confused by care system [2nd November 2012]

In launching their ‘Find Me Good Care’ website last month, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) revealed the results of their recent research and concluded that the public are still mystified by the care system. Even taking the survey’s methodology and sample in to account (it was conducted on-line and only 27% of the 2075 respondents had ever arranged any care and support), the results are alarming - yet no surprise. For example, 59% of respondents said they did not know what types of care and support were available, 66% had no idea of the costs involved, 23% (of the 27%) said they found it a challenge to organise care and ended up with inappropriate services and only 18% were planning ahead for the future. While we applaud anything that provides information and advice to help people navigate the care sector, we would caution using it in isolation to make such important decisions. It is though a great first step. Find Me Good Care can be found at:

Why I set up Shears  [19th October 2012]

I’m Diane Pope, founder of Shears in 2010, - and I’m often asked why I set it up and even why it’s called SHEARS! Regarding the name ... the letters stand for Expert ‘Home Support’ And ‘Relocation Services’, i.e. what we offer. There’s also a nice etymological story - but that can wait. More important is why I set it up. After personal experience taught me that there must be a better way, I did 2 years of research into how the care system in England was meant to work and who played a role within it ...and realised it was in crisis. ‘Self-funders’ (those paying the full cost of care) in particular struggled to navigate it, piece the various bits of the jigsaw together and source and monitor quality services. Also, often from a long distance away, at a difficult and emotional time and with huge consequences. So Shears was set up to take away the stress and time involved, move away from the ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to care and provide families with a ‘one-stop shop’ where everything (across the private, statutory and voluntary sectors) is in one place. My aim is simple - to help create ‘a better life for older people’.

Resident Satisfaction Survey  [11th September 2012]

Following a spate of negative publicity surrounding individual care homes, a group of 13 companies have got together to this week launch ‘Your Care Rating’ - “the first annual, independent, care home resident satisfaction survey”. Conducted by leading market researcher Ipsos Mori, the 2012 survey will shortly be canvassing the views of 46,000 residents in 850 care homes, with results due to be published in 2013. This is good news: for residents seeking a voice; for families looking for an independent assessment of standards and quality mark; for care homes wanting to improve and benchmark their performance and for the sector aiming to repair its reputation. It’s a bold endeavour, which we hope will be supported over time by all care providers, to truly provide a national picture and to drive up standards. To see which homes near you are participating, go to ...


Have you, or a loved one, been wrongly charged care fees?  [1st August 2012]

When a person has ongoing care needs which are ‘primarily health’ related, the NHS should pay for any care required, including ‘social’ or ‘personal’ - irrespective of where it is provided. This is called ‘NHS Continuing Healthcare’ (NHS CHC) and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) hold the budget for it. However despite the introduction of a National Framework in 2007, the assessment process can still be flawed - with proper assessments often not being conducted. In such cases, people have been able to request retrospective assessments and reclaim thousands of pounds in wrongly paid care fees. However this is now coming to an end with cut-off dates for new cases looming fast. So if you know of a loved one who received and paid for full-time (primarily health) care between 1st April 2004 and 31st March 2011, the deadline for contacting your PCT for an eligibility assessment is 30th September 2012. And for care received between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012, the deadline is 31st March 2013. If you’re in this situation, you need to take action now. For some FAQ’s ...

The Social Care White Paper  [13th July 2012]

This week has seen the Coalition Government’s long-awaited ‘Caring for our Future’ White Paper – setting out their vision for a reformed care and support system. Coupled with a Draft Care and Support Bill (creating the legislative framework) and a Progress Report on Funding Reform, there’s over 250 pages to digest. While all the words (transparency, consistency, access etc) and the tactics - national eligibility framework, deferred payment system, social insurance scheme – seem plausible, once again the devil is in the detail – namely the implementation or the HOW. Questions about this and the WHEN are already being asked – but even more important is the WHY was anything more concrete on funding absent? The Dilnot Commission’s proposal last year to cap care costs at £35,000 has been spectacularly ducked – leaving older people still facing the prospect of losing their savings and / or their house to pay for care. After so much hype, this is hugely disappointing and efforts must continue to be made to find a consensus and a resolution. For the full policy documents...

Changing our attitude towards the elderly [10th July 2012]

Much has already been written about our ageing population, particularly that older groups are growing the fastest. By 2030 it’s estimated that a quarter of the population will be over 65. Interesting then that the BBC have recently launched their “When I’m 65” series to tackle the subject of ageing. As part of this, last week we saw four famous pensioners following four people leading very different lives to their own. And following his experience, Tony Robinson has called for attitudes towards older people to change - ‘we have so much to learn from them but at the moment we’re not benefitting from their insight or wisdom’. Also last night we saw what life is like for some centenarians – and how they continue to keep active and mentally stimulated. So if you’ve got elderly family members, we encourage you to do everything you can to keep them interested in life and involve them in local activities. Here we see the difference it can make. For more on the BBC series...

£5.5bn of unclaimed benefits [30th May 2012]

According to research conducted by TNS for Age UK released this month, the number of older people in debt has risen sharply, with 1 in 5 over 60 (of the 1000 questioned) owing money in some form. Yet up to 1.6 million people are not claiming their Pension Credit entitlement. Age UK says there are a number of reasons for this – but lack of knowledge and fear of the “complicated and intrusive system” are key factors. But being awarded Pension Credit can sometimes also mean an underlying entitlement to other benefits, so it’s worth the effort. If you think you might be entitled to benefits, we suggest you seek professional advice or to start with take a look at Age UK’s booklet called ‘More money in your pocket: a guide to claiming benefits for people over pension age,’ available here...

Abuse in Care Homes:  [24th April 2012]

Last night’s Panorama programme once again highlighted the horrific treatment that only undercover filming in a care home can reveal - at Ash Court in Camden. Again the programme was hard to watch, and the suffering endured by Maria Worroll hard to imagine. But while many in the sector will be quick to incriminate Forest Healthcare and the Care Quality Commission, our thoughts are with the other 378,000 residents in registered care home beds in England. Of these, the Institute of Public Care estimated (Jan.2011) that c. 170,000 (44.9%) are self-funders. As such, many may have chosen their home without any independent advice - from Social Services or an advocate. As care homes aren't easy to assess, Shears recommends families undertake as much research as possible - and include unannounced visits at different times of the day, as well as a trial period. There are a lot of very good care homes around - and thorough due diligence will be time well spent.

Find Me Good Care [4th April 2012]

Following the launch of the ‘Good Care Guide' in February, SCIE (the Social Care Institute for Excellence) has announced that it too wants to help people make choices about care and will soon be launching "Find Me Good Care". Good news for consumers perhaps but how might the sites differ? Like the Good Care Guide, SCIE will offer three types of information on services - from CQC, the providers themselves and users, though no mention of star ratings. In addition SCIE will cover care and support for all adults (not just older people) including “unregulated services". With the swirling debate around the increasing number of unregulated personal assistants and the corresponding potential risk to vulnerable people, this looks like good news, but how realistic is it? Similarly they will provide links to useful organisations but also “specialist and independent financial advisers”, recognising that funding care is a real concern for many. Shears will provide a more detailed comparison once the new site goes live in the summer. For registering your interest ...

Classic Cases - Finding Care for Mum and Dad [23rd March 2012]

I’m often asked how Shears helps families - so here is a classic case: When Mr E.’s health deteriorated and Mrs E. could no longer care for him, their children, who both lived busy lives away from home, asked Shears to help. After an initial ‘Care Overview’ session, in which we identified the issues and options available, we then supported them through the various Local Authority assessments and in particular helped clarify the financial position. When Mr E. was discharged from hospital, we made sure the correct assessments were conducted and that appropriate home care was put in place. When his condition worsened further, we worked with the family and the Local Authority to find a care home that met everyone’s needs. Finally, we helped Mrs E. claim some benefits to which she was now entitled and outlined her options so that she could plan for her own future. On working with Shears, ‘it was the relief of having someone to turn to, who could give timely impartial advice - which saved us hours of phone calls and stress - that we really appreciated'.

TripAdvisor comes to the care sector [6th March 2012]

After many calls for such a service, hats off to the social enterprise United for All Ages and an enlightened company called My Family Care for last month launching the - enabling families to find, rate and comment on care homes and home care providers. A lot of work has gone into the project to ensure that TripAdvisor concerns have as far as possible been eliminated, and Shears fully supports anything that brings greater transparency and communication between provider and user in to the sector. We wish them well and look forward to the site helping to drive an improvement in standards.

Shears on Radio Verulam. [16th February 2012]

When I met Ashlyn Kaye at a meeting in Harpenden on 2nd February, I didn't expect to be doing a live radio interview with her on Radio Verulam two days later. Ashlyn has a really engaging easy-listening style and you can hear how it went by listening below:

Interview Shears uk by TalentLifeCoach


The plight of self-funders and care home fees - it's a scandal [23rd January 2012]

While Local Authorities have been gradually reducing the money they pay for care home beds, self-funders are being exploited and expected to make up the shortfall. A recent visit to one care home in Manchester confirmed that while the LA was paying £380 per bed, self-funders were being asked to pay £625 for exactly the same bed, meals, care etc. Even worse, for a Nursing care bed, the LA was paying the same £380, plus the Registered Nursing Care Contribution (RNCC) of £108.70 (paid for by the NHS not the LA) yet self-funders were being charged £925, albeit 'open to negotiation'! How can this be fair? Shears recommends that families must negotiate, by finding out the LA rate and using that as the starting point. And ensure that if the fees include nursing, the RNNC is deducted, once the NHS starts paying.

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