Worcestershire care company Ashwell Home Care Services have been giving a ‘blooming’ helping hand looking after their clients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic thanks to a local garden centre.
The home care agency was founded in 2019 by husband and wife team Philip and Deborah Ashwell and provides state of the art, individually tailored care to people in their own homes within Worcestershire.
They wanted to ensure that all of the people that they provide care for had some treats after Easter to keep their spirits up. They enlisted family members to help them put together special care packages, brightly decorated boxes containing items such as: sanitising gel, tissues, tea and coffee, biscuits, chocolate and other goodies.
St. Peter’s Garden Centre at Norton also kindly donated plants to the home care service so that they could bring a bit of colour to the lives of people that they look after.
Managing Director Philip Ashwell said: “Debbie and I, along with our fabulous care team wanted to do something to brighten up people’s day when we visited them at home. We thought a box of treats would be welcome, so Debbie enlisted her mother to help decorate boxes while she was in lockdown, and our team pulled together to buy treats for each box. We got in touch with St. Peter’s Garden Centre and hoped they might be able to support us somehow. We were overwhelmed when Deputy Manager Neil Domoney called us to say they would love to help, donating stunning home orchid plants for us to give to the people we care for.”
Care Quality Director Debbie Ashwell added: “These are really difficult times and it’s lovely to see so many people pulling together to help one another. Family is very important to us and we want the people that we care for to feel a part of our extended family. Having support from local businesses at this time has certainly lifted our spirits and we hope that people are doing something to support their local community to. We will get thought this tough time working together and we cannot thank Neil and his team at St. Peter’s Garden Centre enough for their kindness.”
During the coronavirus pandemic Ashwell Home Care Services have continued to provide much needed care for people across the county. Their professional team visit people at home to provide much-needed care services and also to carry out essential shopping/errands for them, allowing family members to observe lockdown guidelines set out by the Government.
The Care Quality Commission registered agency, based in Malvern is family run and provides care to individuals in their own homes based on their needs and wishes. For more information visit www.ashwellhomecareservices.co.uk.
Coronavirus and it’s impact on our care provision
The spread of the COVID-19 continues to dominate the news. As you would expect we continue to monitor developments very closely
Coronavirus, or to give its official name COVID-19, is a new strand of flu virus which has previously never been seen in humans. It is believed to have originated from a flu virus which affects bats before making the transfer to humans at a flea market in Wuhan, China. Since then the virus has spread throughout the globe, affecting many countries including the UK.
At Ashwell Home Care Services we are doing everything possible to keep business as usual. We want to reassure you that our major focus is the health and welfare of both our care companions and our clients. We are ensuring that our Care companions and clients are being updated with the latest information.
We therefore want to share with you some of the actions we are taking
- All staff members have gone through infection control training
- All staff members have gone through Food Hygiene training
It is currently understood that people most at risk from the virus are the elderly and those with serious health conditions. As a home care agency who look after many people in the at-risk groups, the way in which we provide care and companionship has also needed to change so that we can best protect the people we care for. This is the advice which we have given to our Care Companions.
If we are also providing care for your loved one as a temporary measure, or to perhaps offer respite care to yourself or the rest of your family, then you may also want to follow as many of these steps as possible to minimise the spread of infection and even if not it is important that the information gets out to as many people as possible so we can best protect the most vulnerable in society.
Tips to minimise spreading infection:
- Wash your hands often – with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available – this is especially important if you use public transport. You should wash your hands:
- Before leaving home
- On arrival at work
- After using the toilet
- After breaks and sporting activities
- Before food preparation
- Before eating any food, including snacks
- Before leaving work
- On arrival at home
- Use disposable gloves where possible.
- Cover up any sneezes or cough with a tissue or your sleeve, then throw the tissue in the bin.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect any frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door knobs, tables and desks, tv remotes, cutlery, cups, plates etc.
- If you are worried about any symptoms please call NHS 111 or 111 online.
This table also summarises what people should do dependent on their age group:
|Group / Action||Wash hands more often||Household isolation for 14 days*||Self – isolation for 14 days**||Social mixing in the community***||Having friends and family to the house||Use remote access to NHS and essential services ****||Vary daily commute and use less public transport||Home working|
|0-69||Yes||Yes||Yes||Advised against||Advised against||Advised||Advised||Advised|
|70+||Yes||Yes||Yes||Strongly advised against||Strongly advised against||Strongly advised||Strongly advised||Strongly advised|
|Any age Member of vulnerable group with an underlying health condition 1||Yes||Yes||Yes||Strongly advised against||Strongly advised against||Strongly advised||Strongly advised||Strongly advised|
|Pregnant women||Yes||Yes||Yes||Strongly advised against||Strongly advised against||Strongly advised||Strongly advised||Strongly advised|
|Those with serious underlying health conditions||As above, but further bespoke guidance will be provided by the NHS next week|
* If one member of your family or household has a new continuous cough or high temperature.
** If you live alone and you have a new continuous cough or high temperature.
*** For example cinema, theatre, pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs.
**** For example via telephone or internet.
1 Such as anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year.
People returning from certain areas of the world are being told to self-isolate depending on where they visited and their symptoms, as well as people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. However, this isn’t just because they pose a risk to others but they are self-monitoring in order to identify early symptoms and enable prompt medical action.
If they are self-isolating then it should be ascertained whether the person is symptomatic (Showing symptoms of infection) or asymptomatic (people who may have the infection but aren’t showing any symptoms – perhaps in the early stages of the condition though it hasn’t been conclusively proven if asymptomatic people can transfer the disease at the time of writing (Wednesday 17th March 2020). If they are self-isolating but a visit is deemed necessary then we will conduct a risk assessment to decide the best cause of action although this may involve calling NHS 111 to arrange a clinical assessment before proceeding.
If the person is symptomatic
- Avoid any further physical contact if possible – the person should remain in a room with the door closed and any belongings or waste they come into contact with should remain in the room also.
- Advise anyone with you not to enter the room. If a travel or clinical history needs to be obtained or completed then do this by telephoning the patient in the room.
- Ask the patient to call 111 from their room.
- Your care companion will inform us so that a full risk assessment can be undertaken with an infection control specialist to decide on the next steps.
If the patient requires urgent medical attention
- Your Care Companion will inform the ambulance call handler of potential links to COVID-19.If you are caring for someone who requires urgent medical attention then you should also do the same.
- Once the patient is transferred to hospital, the room may be closed and quarantined for visitors to prevent further spread of the infection.
If you would like to discuss with us you or your loved one’s care needs than feel free to contact us online or by calling 01684 778 750.
Dementia Matters – It’s important to talk
Ashwell Home Care Services will be presenting a talk on dementia care and why it is important to talk about the condition at Christ Church Hall Coffee Shop on Friday 7th February at 10:30am.
The talk is free for all to attend.
5 fundamentals to caring for someone with Dementia
Dementia can be a very upsetting condition and if it affects a loved one, in the early stages, it can be difficult to comprehend how you will be able to help your loved ones through this time. Here are five fundamentals to consider when you are caring for someone with dementia.
1) Dementia has more symptoms than just memory loss
A very common misconception is that the only symptom of dementia is memory loss and though this is extremely common, there are actually many variations of the condition we call dementia and each have very different symptoms at the beginning. For example, frontotemporal dementia and Pick’s disease is more likely to affect the parts of the brain that control behaviour, personality and emotions so people may become more impulsive, act with more apathy or indifferent, or their behaviour may change completely.
However, towards the later stages of the condition many forms of dementia start to affect patients in the same way, with many people struggling to do many daily tasks independently such as dressing and going to the toilet, and may also struggle to communicate or recognise loved ones.
2) Plan for the future
The only constant that can be guaranteed when caring for someone with dementia is that their needs will change. Remember most types of dementia are irreversible and progressive, meaning over time patients will have worse symptoms and will require more care for their dementia. It is therefore important to consider the future and prepare for a time when professional care may be required, either at home with a home care agency or in a residential care setting. It is also important that a dementia care plan is drawn up and continually reassessed so any changes in your loved ones’ needs can be considered.
3) Actively empathize
One of the main things to do is remain compassionate and empathetic to your loved ones as people with dementia are prone to becoming confused over their whereabouts, their identity and even when they are living. Try to imagine how you would feel and want to be treated if you suddenly found yourself disorientated in an unfamiliar place which is sadly what many dementia patients have to experience every day.
4) Think positively
When you are caring for someone with dementia it can be very easy to become bogged down with feelings of negativity and like your best isn’t good enough, especially with dementia being a degenerative condition but always remember that you are helping them enormously even if you believe what you are doing is relatively minor. Also many experienced dementia carers will say that the person they care for can have good and bad days and it is a great idea to try to remember the good days or moments when you are caring for someone – perhaps a journal or diary may also help you and the person with dementia to remember these times.
5) Accept Support
Sometimes it can be very hard to accept help as we can often feel like we are failing our loved ones in their time of need by admitting we are unable to cope. However, there is no need to feel scared or like you are being judged when asking for help. Many people turn to their own family in the first instance and this can be a great way to help share the burden and the practicalities of caring for your loved one. Many people also find support groups to be very helpful as they can talk to people who are in a similar situation to themselves as well as learning about local dementia resources that can be used.
Many people also would like to keep their loved ones in their home for as long as possible so may look to home care agencies who can help provide dementia care at home. Ashwell Home Care Services is one of these agencies and we can help you to face the challenges that dementia can present in the future and help you and your loved ones to live positively with the condition in the present.
We’re helping to host Perry Manor Care Home’s Senior Showcase
Ashwell Home Care Services are proud to have been asked to help host this event at Perry Manor Care Home in Worcester. The event is open to all and will be a great way to ask all the questions you have about Care, both in your own home and in a residential setting. The police and fire brigade will also be there to assist with any home safety questions you may have. We hope to see you there.
New business aims to transform home care in Worcestershire
A brand new home care provider in Worcestershire is aiming to transform the way that care is delivered locally and to set a benchmark for the future of home care in the county.
Ashwell Home Care Services was founded by husband and wife team Philip and Deborah Ashwell, to provide state of the art, individually tailored care to people in their own homes within Worcestershire.
The agency, based in Malvern and registered with the Care Quality Commission in September, provide bespoke care to individuals in their own homes, based on their needs and wishes. Using high-tech software the agency can ensure personal care and support is delivered in the best way, coupled with a personal and inclusive approach by their Ashwell Home Care Companions.
Managing Director Philip Ashwell said it was ‘personal experience’ that led them to start up their own business: “As a family, we have had loved ones receiving care which, at best could be described as mediocre. Their providers did not recognise the importance that how they received their care could affect their outlook & quality of life. It spurred us on to create a care company that really focuses on that crucial word: care. My wife and I have over 60 years’ experience between us in this and the customer services sector and we want to make a real difference. All care should be delivered in a non-judgmental way regardless of people’s background, race, colour, ethnicity or sexuality.”
The Malvern based care agency also uses state of the art technology to ensure that visits to those they care for are monitored and that they can pinpoint at any time where their Care Companions are. The technology also allows Ashwell Home Care Companions to see at a glance what their clients’ needs are every time they visit so that tasks are completed without the possibility of anything being missed.
Deborah Ashwell, Ashwell Home Care Services Manager added: “Everyone that we have the privilege to look after will be given their own Care Companion. This is more than just someone who calls into your home to prepare meals or remind you to take medication – we want them to be someone they can trust, someone who they know has their wellbeing at heart. Our staff are all handpicked because they have demonstrated to us that their values and beliefs are the same as those of our company and that we are proud for them to deliver our company vision. We want to change people’s views about the standard of care they receive and set a benchmark for other care providers!”
Ashwell Home Care Service provide care to those who wish to remain independent in their own home and respite support to those who care for a loved one. They offer a wide variety of services, which include personal care services, overnight sitting, dementia care, housekeeping services, companionship, medication services, meal services, end of life care.
How do you solve a problem like social care funding?
A really interesting podcast from the The Kings Fund about big ideas in health and care. It is a talk with experts from The King’s Fund and beyond about the NHS, social care, and all things health policy and leadership
LGBTQ and Dementia UK
Phil is a doctoral student and lecturer with an interest/focus in LGBTQ, Dementia care and micro-aggressions in care. He has created a very engaging blog to help share resources, articles and research in this area. it explores topics such as interesting research being conducted in the US exploring the possible increased likelihood of LGBTQ communities experiencing cognitive decline, the need for safe spaces for older LGBTQ individuals for Pride Month, links to a fantastic guide exploring the needs of older LGBTQ individuals and much more.
We were delighted to be a sponsor and to be at the very first Malvern Pride Event on Saturday 27th July meeting people and handing out our leaflets and pens to spread the word about Ashwell Home Care Services.
We were thrilled that Phil Harper who we are consulting with gave us a mention during his speech on dementia care for the older LGBT population and that he wore one of our polo shirts – with great style!
Despite the weather everyone had a really great time and we were really proud to be a part of this momentous occasion and to promote our company name.
Top picture left to right :
Anne-Marie Fletcher, Phil Ashwell, Debbie Ashwell
Bottom Picture back left to right :
Phil Ashwell, Phil Harper
Bottom picture front left to right :
Debbie Ashwell, Anne-Marie Fletcher
Dementia is our Collective Responsibility
We can’t ignore it any longer.
Dementia should be and must be our collective responsibility. A good place to start is in collectively facing up to the fact that it is in our midst and that each year hundreds of thousands of men and women are living with it and dying with it. Dementia does not just happen to old people – around 5% of people with Alzheimer’s are under 65
Nicci Gerrard is the author of What Dementia Teaches Us About Love