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Care Behind Closed Doors

The news this week has been focusing on the Care Quality Commission’s plan for increased checks within the home care industry. Following negative reports in the media for the past few months, the watch dog is set to report on 250 companies who provide care for the elderly and help for those in their own homes, hoping to encourage improvements for the industry as a whole.

To read more about it, follow the link to the report on the BBC website. Home Care Providers in England Face Inspection

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You Must Register With the Care Quality Commission

New registration system

From 1 April 2010, the regulation of health and adult social care will change. Legislation is bringing in a new system that applies to all regulated health and adult social care services.

All health and adult social care providers, who provide regulated activities, will be required by law to register with the Care Quality Commission. Subject to legislation, new registration comes into force on 1 April 2010 for NHS trusts (including primary care trusts as providers) and 1 October 2010 for adult social care and independent  providers.

These rules are vital for our clients,  so we have put together a summary FAQ  below to help you get to grips with the changes without wading through mountains of legislation.

Q. Who are the Care Quality Commission?

A.The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and adult social care services in England.  They also protect the interests of people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.  The CQC took over the  Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission which ceased to exist on 31 March 2009.  The  web address is

Q. What is Registration?

A. Registration isn’t just about initial registration of your care provision. You must also be able to show that you are meeting the new essential standards of quality and safety across all of the regulated activities you provide.  Previously these were set by the National Minimum Standards of Quality or Standards for Better Health. For the registration your care provision must be in line with the new ‘Guidance about Compliance with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 PDF.

The Care Quality Commission not only requires the registration but will also:-

  • Monitor whether providers continue to comply with these regulations
  • Use their new enforcement powers to make sure swift action is taken if providers are not compliant

For example in Section 9 of the ‘Guidance about Compliance’,  Regulation 13 offers detailed rules related to bedroom sizes, room temperatures, furnishings, décor. The regulation also offers details related to communal rooms, toilets, baths and showers and issues related to privacy and dignity. It is vital you comply with these regulations.

Q. Why is it Happening?

A. The  Health and Social Care Act 2008 introduced a new, single registration system that applies to both health and adult social care.  The new regulations are set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2009, and were laid before Parliament at the end of October 2009. When the regulations come into force, they will replace:

  • National Minimum Standards
  • Standards for Better Health

Q. How do I Register

A.Until otherwise instructed, adult social care providers who want to register a new service or want to change or vary their current registration under the Care Standards Act 2000 should continue to use existing forms available from the Care Quality Commission.

This article is a brief touch on the subject of the new registration but we recommend that you go to the Care Quality Commission’s website for more details to suit your individual provision and to download relevant forms.

Further guidance will be available in December and we invite you to subscribe blog site source to ensure that you receive this  information immediately it becomes a legal enforcement.

If you have any concerns regarding the design and construction of your future projects  or  maintenance of your current building related to the new CQC registration we warmly invite you to contact the BCP support team  in full confidentiality on: 0800 019 0750

or email:

Building Construction Partnership, Experts in Design, Development and Build within the Health Care Industry

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The Green Papers National Debate

In a recent article on the  Guardian website….it was stated that “Consultation on the green paper represents “a crucial national debate”, according to prime minister Gordon Brown. There are many ways to make your voice  heard.

The Department of Health is staging 36 regional “stakeholder events” and a number of public roadshows all around the country. More details are on the Care Support Independence website (see below), though some events are already full.

The website provides information, videos and updates on the consultation and an opportunity to make a response directly. There is also a toolkit to help groups hold their own consultation events and prepare a response.

Leaflets about the green paper are being distributed through GP surgeries, pharmacies and other public places. The leaflets contain questions that can be answered and returned to the health department.

The consultation also has a Facebook page (Care and Support), with polling and discussion, and is on Twitter. Comments can be sent by email or by post to Green Paper Team, Room 149, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS.

Copies of the green paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together, can be downloaded from the Care Support Independence website or ordered online. Consultation ends on 13 November

Website links:-

Join the Big Care Debate:

Department of Health:

DoH publications:

BCP will be following through the parliament ‘Green Papers’ debate with regular updates on the outcome and the effects on the healthcare and residential care industry. Watch this space.

Why not subscribe to the BCP Care Home Design information source to ensure you don’t miss out on this valuable information?  Click on the RSS link and follow the simple steps.

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Selecting a Care Home – The Options available to YOUR clients

The Alzheimer’s Society website is often the first port of call when relatives finally realise their elderly loved ones have to leave their homes and move into a care home.  So what are they looking for?  What are these types of Charity advising them to do prior to making any commitments?

A factsheet is now available on the Alzheimers website which gives a comprehensive list of what potential clients are considering.

It’s important for Care Home developers to understand what current clients are looking for and what really influences their decisions when choosing a care home. Within this list are several aspects relating to Care Home design. Therefore it’s important to consider these aspects during the construction stage, as these become very difficult and expensive to correct at a later date.  Below is a summary of those aspects, which we will be covering in more detail in future articles.


However pleasant the home itself may be, ask yourself:

  • Will it be easy for visitors to get to the home?
  • Are there facilities such as shops, a pub or a park within walking distance, for residents who enjoy going out?
  • Is there much noise from traffic, or anything else?


If the person with dementia is likely to need equipment or adaptations:

  • Are the corridors and toilets wide enough for a walking frame or wheelchair?
  • Are there suitably adapted toilets and baths?
  • Are there ramps or a lift?


  • Can residents can have a single room?
  • Are residents encouraged to bring in some of their own furniture and possessions?
  • Are the bedrooms are bright and pleasant?
  • Can residents go to their rooms when they wish to be alone?
  • Can residents keep pets in their rooms, or in other areas of the home?
  • Do staff respect people’s right to privacy, and knock on bedroom doors?


Getting to the toilet in time can sometimes be a problem as dementia progresses:

  • Are there enough toilets within easy reach of the bedrooms and living areas?
  • Are staff trained to spot the signs when someone needs to go to the toilet?
  • Are staff cheerful and tactful about helping residents use the toilet and changing them if they are incontinent?

Living areas

  • Are chairs are arranged in groups to encourage talking, rather than placed in a circle around the outside of the room?
  • Is there a TV or radio left on when no one is watching or listening?
  • Is there more than one room where residents can sit or where they can be quiet or see visitors?
  • Are there smoking and non-smoking areas?
  • Is there a garden where residents can walk safely?

Click here to read more about the other areas for consideration

Having read this you may believe there are certain aspects of your home that do need refurbishment to meet these new higher demands. Or perhaps  you are in the early stages of design and realise that  there are specific criteria that you could have missed out, therefore making your home not quite so marketable.

For either of the above concerns or any other relevant us  why not contact us in full confidentiality on the comments section or email our support team on:

or call:0800 019 9750

Building Construction Partnership, Experts in Design, Developement and Build within the Health Care Industry

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1 in 4 Nursing Home Residents Carry MRSA!

The MRSA Bug

The MRSA Bug from Flickr: Simon Goldenberg

The results of a UK study were highlighted on the web ‘Science Daily’ (June 6, 2009)— MRSA is a major problem in nursing homes with one in four residents carrying the bacteria, a study by Queen’s University Belfast and Antrim Area Hospital has found.

Its authors say that the findings, which have been published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, highlight the need for infection control strategies to be given a higher priority in nursing homes.

The study, thought to be the largest of its kind studying MRSA in private nursing homes in the UK, took nose swabs from 1,111 residents and 553 staff in 45 nursing homes in the former Northern Board area of Northern Ireland.

Twenty-four per cent of residents and 7 per cent of staff were found to be colonised with MRSA, meaning they were carrying the bacteria but not necessarily showing signs of infection or illness.

Residents in 42 of the homes were colonised with MRSA, with recorded rates in individual nursing homes ranging from zero to 73 per cent.

Staff in 28 of the homes carried the bacteria with prevalence rates ranging from zero to 28 per cent.

Dr Paddy Kearney, Consultant Medical Microbiologist with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, said:

“We decided to carry out the study after noticing an apparent increase in recent years in the number of patients who had MRSA when they were admitted to hospital from nursing homes.

“In hospitals routine checks are carried out to identify those most at risk of MRSA colonisation (carrying it on their skin and/or nose) and infection control policies are put in place but this is not always feasible in private nursing homes.”

Dr Michael Tunney, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy, from Queen’s University’s School of Pharmacy, said:

“This is the first study which has reported prevalence of MRSA among staff in nursing homes in the UK and found that staff need to be more aware of the potential problem MRSA can be in this setting.”

If you have concerns related to this article please contact Building Construction Partnership’s  support service on: 0800 019 9750

or in full confidentiality.

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Increased Marketability through Caring for Pets

Flickr: Ed Yourdon

Flickr: Ed Yourdon

With rising competition and the proven increase in demand for health care, every residential health care developer, designer, commissioner or director should be considering means to make their home more attractive for the potential resident. Much research has recently taken place regarding the actual benefits of residents being allowed or even encouraged to take their pets into their homes. A recent article on ‘Genealogy Information’ by Raymond Nwambuonwo stated that 40,000 pets a year are put to sleep as their owners are having to go into care homes.  Just imagine suddenly losing your freedom and independence and then your beloved family pet.  Consider at this stage the elderly person and their family would be looking for the most appropriate home…

However, the health benefits of owning a dog are known and for older people it is especially true. As well as lowering blood pressure and promoting exercise they also promote a feeling of well being that comes from loving and being loved in return. Therefore if the health benefits are proven why do residential homes not allow the pets?  The main concerns are:-

  • Disease or illness through animal contact or poor hygiene
  • Legalities related to the above
  • The danger of accidents with the ever increasing personal injury claims
  • Design of the homes to cater for the animals in relation to all of the above, plus ensuring the safety and satisfaction of the other residents and staff

Building Construction Partnership as experts in design, development and build of residential care homes, prides itself on always being ahead of the market place and noted that in many other European Countries such as France, Spain, Greece and even the USA homes have been created to cater for pet ownership. With reflection upon the health benefits to the prospective resident and the raised attractiveness of their care home to the owners, they have researched into what changes or considerations should be taken when ‘opening the doors’ to pet care.  However, the answers turned out to be simple commen sense and many care homes are already running securely, hygienically and safely homing a variety of pets.

Investigating further we discovered ‘The Cinnamon Trust’, the only specialist national charity for elderly and terminally ill people and their pets, offer a fantastic support system to Care Homes and Retirement  Housing.  Speaking to the Chief Executive; Mrs Averil Jarvis MBE, she stated that they have a list of almost a thousand care homes that cater for pets on their register, and this is rapidly increasing due to demand.

“Once a care home registers with us this information is available, free, to potential clients via telephone, email or postal service.  Once registered with us we send a welcome pack to the owners/managers with lots of information, plus we are at the end of phone for them should they require any assistance with pet care or advice.   Our aims are achieved by tasking a national network of over 14,000 volunteers to provide any assistance required including walking dogs and pet fostering”.

“Our ‘Pet Profiling’ is another important aspect for owners/managers to be aware of.  People of any age may profile their pets with The Trust, ensuring that should they predecease their pet we would take their pet into our care. This is particularly reassuring for elderly and infirm people with pets, but of course none of us ever knows what is going to happen. Once a pet is in our care he/she becomes a Cinnamon Trust Pet and we will be responsible for their welfare and happiness for the rest of their lives”.

“We at the Cinnamon Trust recognise hygiene and security can be a concern with exceedingly high standards but the majority is pure common sense and part of the standard procedures that take place in any care home.  We have a Care Home on our register,  that has recently been awarded 5 stars with ourselves and 5 stars with the Environmental Health society. This home has several dogs in residence”.

The Cinnamon Trust would be very happy to hear from potential care homes/retirement homes and discuss any pet issues with them.

Regarding the design and build of the building, if you are wishing to encourage pets such as dogs, then it is preferable to have ground floor rooms with access to secure outside areas.  If you are planning a new build, refurbishment or extension this could be part of the initial consideration for increased marketability.  Another concern could be catering for pets in homes where people have dementia.  Simple solutions such as alarms or even bells on external doors can be implemented for added security.

If you would like more information related to Caring for Pets in your residence whether a new build, extension or refurbishment contact Building Construction Partnership on their FREE support service on: 0800 019 9750

or email: in full confidentiality

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Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 Key Principles

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 applies to everyone involved in the care, treatment and support of people aged 16 and over living in England and Wales who are unable to make all or some decisions for themselves.

A recent report on the informative website for the Social Care Institute for Excellence, (SCIE), offered an at a glance summary presenting an overview of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005, which is vital information to health and social care practice.

“The MCA has been in force since 2007 and applies to England and Wales. The primary purpose of the MCA is to promote and safeguard decision-making within a legal framework. It does this in two ways:

  • by empowering people to make decisions for themselves wherever possible, and by protecting people who lack capacity by providing a flexible framework that places individuals at the heart of the decision-making process
  • by allowing people to plan ahead for a time in the future when they might lack the capacity, for any number “

The MCA is designed to protect and restore power to those vulnerable people who lack capacity.

  • The MCA also supports those who have capacity and choose to plan for their future – this is everyone in the general population who is over the age of 18.
  • All professionals have a duty to comply with the Code of Practice. It also provides support and guidance for less formal carers.
  • The Act’s five statutory principles are the benchmark and must underpin all acts carried out and decisions taken in relation to the Act.
  • Anyone caring for or supporting a person who may lack capacity could be involved in assessing capacity – follow the two-stage test.
  • The MCA is designed to empower those in health and social care to assess capacity themselves, rather than rely on expert testing – good professional training is key
  • If capacity is lacking, follow the checklist described in the Code to work out the best interests of the individual concerned
  • Understanding and using the MCA supports practice – for example, application of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The Social Care Institute for Excellence’s mission is as quoted on their website “to identify and spread knowledge about good practice to the large and diverse social care workforce and support the delivery of transformed, personalised social care services. We aim to reach and influence practitioners, managers and the sector leadership who have responsibility for service delivery in adults’ and children’s services. We recognise the central role of people who use services, children, young people, their families and their carers, and we aim to ensure their experience and expertise is reflected in all aspects of our work”.

We at Building Construction Partnership will be continuing to regularly place articles and links on this site that are essential reading to professionals  in the health care industry, whether at design, development, build, management or ownership level.  This ensures not only the maintenance of good practice but constant ‘keeping in lines’ with frequent new laws and legislations.

If there are any specific areas of concern or interest that you would like us to cover in the near future please offer in the ‘comments’ section in full confidentiality.

Please feel free to call our information support line on:0800 019 9750

or email: in full confidentiality

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“Green Papers” Debate on Future Care Funding

There is much talk regarding the future funding of elderly care and for young people with the current “Green Papers” parliament debate.

Confused about the “Green Papers”?  What are “Green Papers”?  Simply a Green Paper is a consultation document issued by the government which contains policy proposals for debate and discussion before a final decision is taken on the best policy option. And yes they are written on green paper.

So how does this affect you in the healthcare industry?

In brief, the green paper is intended to kick-start a debate on how to provide, and pay for, the care and support of the rapidly growing population of older people and the swelling numbers of younger people with disabilities. One aim is to try to stop people having to sell their homes to fund residential care.

A recent report on the Guardian website stated that the  options believed to be in the paper include a social insurance levy on people in work or a means-tested, one-off payment of perhaps £12,000 – ideas that, as speculation, have already sparked criticism in the rightwing press. However, there is concern as the results were to be produced in Spring, but now we are looking at a serious delay to the parliamentary summer recess.

Another excellent source of information related to the “Green Papers”, which will affect anyone involved in healthcare, whether in residential care or even within the home services, such as ‘meals on wheels'; is the Department of Health article “Shaping the Future of Care Together“. This article gives comprehensive details on the consultation that is going through parliament.  The Goverment have a “vision a reality and to develop a care and support system fit for the 21st century”. The consultation will run from 14 July 2009 to 13 November 2009.

However, as with all new policies, laws and legislations there are various views from different parties involved. Merged older people’s charity Age Concern and Help the Aged said it was also concerned about the plans to “abolish a benefit that helps older people meet the cost of dealing with disability (Attendance Allowance) simply to prop up the system as it is today”.

Parkinson’s Disease Society ‘alarmed’. The Parkinson’s Disease Society said it welcomed the move to establish a national needs assessment, but chief executive Steve Ford said it was “alarmed” about the Attendance Allowance plan, adding: “We know how important this benefit is to maintaining the independence of people with Parkinson’s, and it’s vital that they do not miss out on this with the new system.”

Disability charities Scope and Leonard Cheshire Disability also questioned how far disabled people currently excluded from publicly-funded care by council-set eligibility criteria would be helped by the proposals

All of the above quotes, alongside many other charities for the disabled and elderly views were on the uhad2bethere disability information site under the article entitled Adult Attendance Allowance Plans Sparks Concern

Further feedback from the same site come offers comments from Mike Smith, chair of the National Centre for Independent Living said: “Disabled and older people were hoping for leadership from the government in care reform. This has come now in a new vision for how we support individuals to become full and equal citizens. But the green paper provides few concrete plans. Instead, it is an options paper, requiring further debate and development before any reforms can be implemented.”

We warmly invite you to register on the BCP information source to ensure you are kept up to date with the “Green Papers” as they go through Parliament.  Also we offer regular information related to new laws and legislations vital to any professional in the residential and health care sector. Thank you

For more information contact:

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Massive increase in need for care for elderly predicted

Information is coming from many reliable sources  regarding the rise in demand for provision of care for the elderly.  With life expectancy ever increasing and other attributes, including the current recession, Building Construction Partnership,  have a firm plan in place to ensure maximum support for the health care provider regarding future design, development and build of residential and care homes.

In support of this claim a recent article was published on the Caring Business Magazine website entitled…

One Quarter of Councils Report Surge in Older People’s Care Needs Because of Recession“.

A brief introduction into the article stated that ‘A quarter of councils’ chief financial officers have seen an increase in demand for elderly care in 2008 as a result of the economic downturn, says the Audit Commission.

The Audit Commission’s chair, Michael O’Higgins said its current research also showed that 54% of chief financial officers believed demand for elderly care would increase in 2009-10 as a consequence of the economic change.

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Estimated rise in people aged over 60 by 40%!

In support of the article entitled “Massive increase in need for care for elderly predicted” a recent press release on the BBC News website published the following statements….

  • “According to recent estimates, the number of people over 60 could rise by 40% in the next 30 years, although there is much dispute about the figures.
  • In 1995 there were less than 9 million people over 65 in the UK – by 2030 there may be about 13 million.
  • In 1951, there were 300 people aged 100 and over. By the year 2031, it is estimated that this figure could boom to 36,000.
  • At the same time, fertility is set to fall as women leave childbirth later and later.
  • This means there will be fewer young people supporting a growing elderly population.
  • The ratio of people of working age to people over 65 could fall from 3.7:1 to 2.1:1 in 2040.
  • With people living longer and longer because of medical and other advances, health experts believe the number of people suffering from debilitating conditions such as cancer and heart disease will grow and could mean a rising demand for nursing care”.
This rise in demand for care for the elderly could create huge pressure in the residential and health care industry but also, if prepared, massive opportunities for future care home developments.

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