Helping those with dementia have a peaceful Christmas

Christmas can be stressful for people with dementia, and for their family members. The extra hubbub and changes in routine can make people feel unsettled. Also, when visiting a person with dementia, family members might notice the changes that have taken place if they haven’t seen them for some time.

There are some simple and practical things you can do to help make Christmas a peaceful and inclusive time for everybody.  DementiaUK have some great advice which you can find by clicking on this link:


Winter Planning – Staffing and Rotas

You are the people that know your business best and this is because of your experience and therefore, you will be aware of what sort of increased pressures and risks you can expect to encounter over winter in relation to staffing in particular.

We have been blogging about the need for you to have a robust Business Continuity Plan in place for this winter period and such a plan should include the mitigation to resolve staffing issues.

We’d encourage you to carefully consider your Business Continuity Plans for the following situations:

  • Staff sickness – what would you do if an epidemic sickness hit your staff?  How would you still manage to cover all of your care calls?
  •  Staff absence – what if a member of staff unexpectedly doesn’t pick up their usual hours over winter? Can you rework the rounds/rotas to cover? Do you have other staff you can call in to cover their shifts? Are you able to build a ‘bank’ of staff prepared to cover additional shifts?
  • Extreme weather – what are your plans should roads get snowy or icy? Do you know where gritting routes are (please see previous posts)? What if a member of staff gets stuck out on a call or can’t come in to work?

Start now by looking at your workload and rounds, can these be made more efficient?  Which calls are time critical and which could be moved if you were short staffed?  Which support workers support people where more travel time needs to be allocated if the roads are icy or wet?

The Norfolk Resilience Forum has a useful flu pandemic scenario you can use to test your business continuity plans to make sure they are up-to-date.  It will help you think about how you could manage your workload and rounds with fewer staff.

            Have a plan; Test it works; keep it up-to-date


Are your staff road ready for winter weather?

As part of recent blog posts we’ve highlighted the need to plan for business continuity over winter.  If any of your staff do break down in their cars, do you know whether they have the right kit to ensure they are safe and they are able to support the people they care for?

The following are considered Year-round essentials:

  • A fully charged mobile phone and in car charger.
  • Hi-viz bib
  • Road map – in case of diversions
  • First aid kit
  • Water & non-perishable food
  • Loose change
  • Umbrella or water proof
  • Breakdown service and insurance company contact details
  • Hazard triangle.

In Winter, it’s worth staff keeping these items in their vehicle too:

  • A coat, hat, scarf, gloves and extra warm clothing
  • A spare pair of shoes or boots
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper and de-icer
  • Torch and batteries
  • Extra snacks (chocolate or cereal bars)
  • Extra screenwash.

When the forecast is for severe weather and your staff still have to be out, then it’s good to consider them packing these items too:

  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • A flask of hot drink

Useful information, which can be shared with your staff can be found via:  Which? How to drive in snow

ROPA – How to drive in snow

Norfolk County Council can also provide assistance to organisations to ensure that you are compliant with H&S legislation and that drivers are operating in the safest possible way. Further details of the support available can be found at:




Winter Planning – Local gritting routes

A couple of weeks ago we let you know about local gritting routes.  The three hour gritting runs cover 2,200 miles of roads in Norfolk, covering commuter and major bus routes and, as far as possible, one route into all villages.  You can find local gritting routes by clicking on this link: Gritting routes for Norfolk.  Gritting plans are also shared via local radio and Facebook.

It is starting to get colder, so to find out about specific weather and road information you can also check out the Council’s latest news section by clicking on this link: Norfolk County Council Twitter feed.

Ensure Business Resilience at winter time by:

  • Having a Continuity Plan
  • Testing it works
  • Keeping it up-to-date
  • Ensuring those who need to know about your plan do, and they know how to use it too.

Winter Planning – Managing Client Expectations

Norfolk County Council have received feedback around how we can support home support providers during inclement weather. As a result, NCC have written the attached letter which is designed to be a joint communication to service users from us and your organisation to manage expectations throughout winter.

To use this communication, you must complete the following:

  • Add your company logo in the top right
  • Complete the text highlighted in red with the appropriate details

No other amendments are to be made to this letter which can by downloaded via this link:  Winter Communications letter template 26.11.18.



A reminder about Flu Vaccinations

Following on from the blog post in September …..

Have your employees had their flu vaccinations? If not, please inform them they can get a free flu vaccination by completing this letter and taking it to a pharmacy or GP surgery that provides the vaccination.

The aim of the campaign is to get as many health and social care staff working with vulnerable older people vaccinated. It is targeted at staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered home support provider,as well as health and care staff employed by a voluntary managed hospice provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients aged 65 and over.

The campaign is underway and we are keen to see as many care workers vaccinated as possible. Please take the letter (as linked above) to your local pharmacist or GP for the free flu vaccination. They may also require some proof they are employed as a support worker, providing care for older people.

Please could you also consider displaying this Public Health England poster on flu out breaks in areas used regularly by your staff?

Winter Planning – ffffreeeezing

We’ve been blogging about your Continuity Plans for this winter and although not particularly cold at the moment, it will be a good idea to prepare for those little or big emergencies that could effect your business.

One thing that can make a difference to whether or not you can support a person in their own home is the weather.  So thinking about how your business will cope in extreme weather if the roads get snowy or icy, will really help your business, staff and the people you support.

So, as we approach winter we are encouraging you, our Home Support providers, as part of your Continuity Planning to ensure you and your staff are regularly updated about the latest weather reports.  Information on the weather can be obtained from the following links:

Met Office Weather Warnings

Environment Agency – Flood Warnings etc.

It is not possible to grit all the roads across Norfolk during icy weather, so it will be useful to find out which ones are.  For information about local gritting routes when you’ve had an alert about cold weather snaps, please click on the following link:  Local gritting routes across Norfolk

Ensure Business Resilience at winter time by:

  • Having a Continuity Plan
  • Testing it works
  • Keeping it up-to-date
  • Ensuring those who need to know about your plan do, and they know how to use it too.