Thursday, 25 June 2015

What Ramadan means for our staff and service users

Many people are currently observing Ramadan, but do you know what it means to them.  Take some time to learn more and how we can support our colleagues and friends throughout Ramadan.

Ramadan (Arabic:; رمضان) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was revealed.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. The Quran was sent down to the lowest heaven during this month, thus being prepared for gradual revelation by Jibreel (Gabriel) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Furthermore, Muhammad told his followers that the gates of Heaven would be open for the entire month and the gates of Hell (Jahannam) would be closed.[1] The first day of the next month, Shawwal, is spent in celebration and is observed as the "Festival of Breaking Fast" or Eid al-Fitr 

As Muslims must fast during the day during Ramadan, mosques will host iftar dinners after sunset and the fourth required prayer of the day, maghrib. Wikipedia

For more than a billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time of prayer, fasting, and charity.

Suhoor as the morning meal is matched by Iftar as the evening meal, during Ramadan, replacing the traditional three meals a day . . ., although in some places dinner is also consumed after Iftar later during the night. Wikipedia


Monday, 22 June 2015

Get to know our staff

Fatou Sanneh, Team Leader

“I love the idea that I’m an important part of helping to build up the company and that I’m making a difference to not just current client’s lives but to those who’ll  receive care from us in the future too.”

Since the age of 19 Fatou Sanneh’s life has been geared towards helping others. That’s when she left her native Sweden to study for a degree in Health and Social Care in London. Then followed 14 years in the care industry, much of that time in Bradford, Yorkshire.

She moved to Edinburgh recently, tempted by the idea of working for a care company which offered a number of specialisms for clients.

“As a Team Leader with Social Care Alba I work alongside occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and social workers,” she explains. “It’s great to be able to call in the special skills of colleagues when I need to.

“As you can imagine, the amount I’m adding to my own skills base is huge and, of course, it’s terrific for the clients to know they’re being treated by qualified health staff. “
Fatou’s team of care staff look after service users in the South of Edinburgh. Much of the work involves administering medication and supervising meals. Often that means three or four visits a day.

“It’s mostly a supervisory role that staff carry out,” she says. “Many of my team’s service users are very independent and like to do what they can for themselves and this, of course, is something we encourage.”

Fatou enjoys the responsibility of looking after staff as well as service users and appreciates the help she receives from other team leaders and staff qualified in other disciplines.  She adds: “We’re very much a team here at Social Care Alba - a family, if you like. I love the idea that I’m an important part of helping to build up this company and that I’m making a big difference to not just current service user’s lives but to those who’ll receive care from us in the future too. That makes me feel pretty special.”

Friday, 19 June 2015

Social Care Alba Helping to Shape India’s Health Care Model

It's not every day you get the chance to help reshape the Indian government's health policy.

But that's exactly what's been afforded us here at Social Care Alba - thanks to one of our new members of staff, Vikash Kumar, Professional Advisor in Research.

The qualified social worker is currently studying for a PhD in International Health at Queen Margaret University College here in Edinburgh and his research will be reported back to the team at India's Health Policy Unit. Vikash has already completed previous research for the Department of Health in India where he looked in maternity and new born care. He's currently a recipient of a Scottish Government Saltire scholarship.

His current area of study is integrated care and his work with us gives him an insight into the type of home-based care available here in the UK.

"The provision of care here is very different to that back home in India," he said. "The shift from hospital to home based means there are more people involved in an individual's care. A person with diabetes, for instance, could have a nurse, social worker and doctor caring for them. They have their own team whereas in hospital such a network simply wouldn't exist.

"In India there is very little home-based care with most individuals being cared for by family and relatives such as aunts and cousins. Often the hospital care is either too expensive or too far away for a person to travel to. And even if they do get hospital treatment India is still under-resourced when it comes to nurses, physios, occuational therapists and other health care practitioners. We need the kind of care at home provision in India that I see here on a daily basis in the UK."

Vikash, 30, says he's enjoying his time working as a Professional Advisor in Research as part of the Social Care Alba team in Tollcross and Prestonfield where the majority of his clients are elderly and need dementia care.

"The staff are great and so are the clients," he said. "I was delighted to be offered the job. I'm already fairly well known to some of my clients."

Director of Social Care Alba Stephen Wilson said: “It’s terrific to have someone with Vikash’s experience on the team. We hope he enjoys his time with us and takes away information that will help improve care at home back in India.”

Meanwhile, Vikash's clients will be reassured to know that he’s not leaving for India for some time yet. He intends to stay here until at least 2017 when his PhD is due to be completed and he'll be known as Dr Kumar. 

Social Care Alba Helps Celebrate Local Hero Awards

We were delighted at Social Care Alba to be chosen as one of the sponsors for the recent Lothian Local Heroes Awards.

Held in Edinburgh's George Street Assembly Rooms and sponsored by the Scotsman Publications, the Awards were designed to recognise the amazing - and often untold - caring contributions made by 'ordinary' individuals in our community. More than 300 guests turned up on the night to hear the winners and nominees for the 13 different awards announced by host Portobello actor Scott Hoatson. Categories for the awards included Young Carer, Health Champion, School of the Year and Child of Achievement.

The individual award sponsored by ourselves at Social Care Alba was that of Carer of the Year. It was won by Sharon Duncan, 44, of Fairmilehead. For the past 25 years Sharon has selflessly cared for Stefan, who grew up to be a youngster with a life threatening condition. Stefan was a baby when Sharon first took him and when he became seriously ill she grew to become his nurse as well as his carer. Over the years this has involved administering medication and learning to make lifesaving interventions.

And Sharon's caring contribution doesn't end there. For along with her husband Stewart she is also a foster carer and has opened her home to numerous other youngsters over the years. 

Sharon was delighted to receive the Carer of the Year Award, announcing that it meant the world to her, but that she didn't see caring as a particular trial. She added: "I absolutely love what I do."

Stephen Wilson, Director Social Care Alba said: “Although there were a number of individuals who deserved this award we felt that Heather really stood out. Her selfless nurturing of not just Stefan but all the other youngsters she has looked after over the years, as well as the fact she obviously revels in her role as a carer, made her an outright and obvious winner.

“Sharon has shown that caring isn’t always a one-way street. The carer receives a great deal of pleasure too and, of course, it can be incredibly rewarding.”

Other runners up for this award included Caroline Martin, Nicola Hogg and Pappender Singh.

Meanwhile, we're pleased to say 13 of our own carers enjoyed a well-deserved night out at the awards. As well as the ceremonies and dinner, guests were also give performances by the choir's Edinburgh's Got Soul and Edinburgh's Schools Rock Ensemble.

For more information about the Lothian Local Hero Awards, as well as pictures on the night, see here.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Continence Promotion

If you have incontinence, don't be embarrassed about getting medical help. The symptoms can be improved, and sometimes cured, with simple methods.
Almost half (45%) of all people with incontinence wait at least five years before they get help, according to Karen Logan, a continence nurse at Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust.
"There’s a huge stigma around incontinence, despite it being so common," she says. "I would urge anyone with symptoms to come forward, as it’s more than likely that we can sort out the problem and really improve their quality of life."
Get help if you've had incontinence problems for more than a few weeks, to rule out conditions such as diabetes.
Here’s where you can go for expert help.

Your GP and incontinence

Your GP can assess whether you have incontinence, decide which type of incontinence you have, give general advice on controlling symptoms of incontinence, provide information on pelvic floor exercises and bladder retraining, and provide treatment for incontinence with prescribed medicines.
If lifestyle changes and treatments don't solve the problem, your GP can refer you to a continence adviser or specialist.

Continence clinics

In the UK, there are over 360 NHS continence clinics, with specialist teams providing support and medical advice for people with bowel or bladder incontinence. "If you prefer not to see your GP, these are an excellent alternative first stop for diagnosis and treatment," says Logan. "We can significantly improve life for 75-80% of the people who come to us with incontinence problems."
Continence clinics can be based in a hospital or in the community, often attached to a health centre. You don’t need to be referred by your GP and you can phone them directly to make an appointment. On your first visit, a continence adviser, usually a nurse who specialises in bowel and bladder problems, will assess you and explain yourincontinence treatment options.
Continence advisers, and the incontinence physiotherapists who work alongside them, are particularly good at teaching pelvic floor exercises to women with stress incontinence (sudden leaks) and bladder training to women with urge incontinence (regular urges to use the toilet). They can also issue pelvic-floor-strengthening devices – such as vaginal cones, and continence pads and products – and explain how to use them.
To find details of your local NHS continence clinic:
  • Call the Bladder and Bowel Foundation (B&BF) confidential helpline on 0845 345 0165.
  • Call your local hospital for details of your nearest clinic.

The hospital incontinence specialist

If the help offered by your GP or local continence clinic doesn’t work, you can be referred to a hospital urologist or urogynaecologist for tests and possible incontinence surgery. If you have bowel incontinence, you may be referred to a colorectal surgeon or gastroenterologist.
According to Karen Logan, only 10-15% of patients who attend continence clinics have to be referred for surgery.
If you decide to have surgery, it’s important that your surgeon has the necessary skills and training. Check that they're trained in surgery for incontinence and have done these operations often enough to keep their skills up to date.
Now, read tips on living with incontinence or a pocket guide from the Care Inspectorate.