Zero and Reduced Hours Contracts – a disgrace

Zero and reduced hours contracts are a national disgrace. Many of our customers at Care100 are carers. They are usually on zero hours contracts. In a tough world where working days are long and usually antisocial, why do agencies not look after their staff?  How can they get mortgages or loans – or plan ahead when they don’t know how many hours they will be working. It simply means that workers will get a phone call with very short notice to ask if they can come into work. If they refuse, they may end up with no work at all next week.

My son was recently offered a job by a large hotel chain. They promised him as many hours as he wanted but would only offer him a 20 hour contract. He was very disappointed as it was a job he would have loved to accept – but how could he move from home and rent a flat in the knowledge that one week he might only get 20 hours work. Business owners should be embarrassed. If the work is available then put it in a contract. If it is not available then be honest and don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

It’s time businesses supported their workers. There is nothing more important to a business than the staff. If a business is saying that you can work as many hours as you would like to, then put it in the contract. Don’t expect people to work on an ad hoc basis. If you value your staff then look after them.

 

Avoiding Scams

scams

We use the word ‘scam’ to indicate a dishonest or fraudulent scheme designed to cheat someone. But fortunately a lot of scams and bad purchases can be avoided if you know what to look for.

A common feature of scams is pressure to commit you to a sale very quickly. So don’t let yourself be rushed. You may be told that an offer is only available for a limited time period, or that you will get a discount if you sign now. A genuine offer will allow you to go away, discuss it with friends and relatives, and then come back when you are sure it’s what you want.

Having a website doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is reliable. Look for one recommended by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) or the local Authority Trader Scheme Network such as “Derbyshire Trusted Traders”. If the offer seems too good to be true then it probably is.

Check out the following points about the seller if you are at all concerned:

  1. Do they have a contact number and does it work? Be wary if the number is a mobile number (e.g. a number beginning with 07-)
  2. Do you have a postal address for the company – be cautious if there is only a P.O.Box number.
  3. Is the company based overseas – your consumer rights may not apply.
  4. Is the company properly regulated or a member of a trade association.

Business cards, stationery and websites can be easily made up. Do not judge on appearance alone.

In your own home, do not invite in or buy from any callers you have not bought from before (and know to be reliable). You could put up a notice to say that you do not buy from the doorstep.

Remember that if you do sign a contract in your own home, you usually have a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period to change your mind, but this only helps if you can trace the person.

But most of all if you don’t feel comfortable with the purchase you are making, then allow yourself to make the decision in your own time, rather than be forced into buying something you may regret.

Gill, Care100 (Director)

Why Carers Should Get a Better Deal

Carers – both paid and unpaid – all seem to have one thing in common. That is the constant fight to get help where and when needed and not to be defeated by lack of finances, overwhelming tiredness and the despair to which all this this can all lead.

Why should paid Carers be on zero hours contracts? Who can relax about bringing up a family, paying a mortgage or putting food on the table when they don’t know in a month how many hours they will work? It is an outrage and zero hours contracts should be banned by the Government immediately…but being cynical..what a coincidence that allowing zero hours contracts brings down the numbers of unemployed!!

Unpaid Carers at home should be fairly recompensed. They work every hour of the day and quite often the night as well, caring for loved ones at home. Think about having a job where the only time you had to yourself was if a friend or helper came round for an hour a day…and during this time you had to rush out to the pharmacy or the supermarket. Exhausting!

I talk regularly to paid carers who are allocated 15 minutes with a client. This is not enough time to even have a conversation, let alone make a cup of tea or help with personal care. The rotas mean that they arrive to get someone out of bed sometimes as late as 11am or arrive to help them back into bed at 6.30pm. This is not the Carers fault and is terrible for the clients. It is the fault of a system that is trying to save money by not employing enough Carers.And what is happening because of the lack of care in the community? – beds in hospital are unavailable because care packages cannot be set up for patients needing to go home. The term ‘bed blocker’ is a disgrace and should be banned from use in the hospitals. I know how this feels as my Mum was labelled a ‘bed blocker’ until we could get her care into place.It is hurtful and demeaning to those involved.

Just as I was writing this blog, a lady came into the shop to buy some bed pads. Whilst chatting to her about this article she said that she was caring for her husband full time. She had applied for the Carers allowance and was told she could have it – but the amount would be deducted from her pension as she has only paid NI for a married person throughout her life. She said that old people were made to feel a burden on society and that because she had a small pot of savings, they got no help at all from the NHS.

Helping people live independently at home should be top priority for any government.After all, it is cheaper to help someone live in their own home than pay for them in a care home, but more help needs to be provided and the whole system needs restructuring. Carers should be trained to highest standards and paid accordingly. If Carers were paid a decent salary for the anti-social hours they have to work, maybe staff turnover would not be so high. Carers Agencies that are set up should be scrutinized and inspected regularly to make sure they are looking after their staff and their clients.

I only have the utmost respect and admiration for Carers. Every day I hear of the difficulties people are having. David Cameron  should spend a couple of days in the shop with me to really get the feel of what is happening in care in the community.

 

Why should I insure my mobility scooter or wheelchair?

insure

Care100 strongly advise that you insure your mobility scooter or wheelchair. With our insurance you will be covered for theft and accidental damage but more importantly you will be covered for 3rd party liability. For instance,if you run someone over or run into a car you will be covered. It also covers you for breakdown and in most cases the insurance company will pay to get you and your vehicle home. However before taking out any insurance you must read the policy carefully as they are all different.

If you would like more information about the comprehensive insurance policy we can provide you with, please contact us on 01246 275767

Do you need a speaker for your meeting?

speaker for your meeting

There are so many products available nowadays to help people live independently for a longer time in their own homes. At Care100, Kate and Gill are always happy to come out during the day or in the evening to talk to groups. In the past we have been invited to speak to patients recovering from chemotherapy, women’s groups in Chesterfield and Buxton and many other groups. We bring many items from the shop but there is no obligation for anyone to buy anything. It is purely about sharing information on items that may make life a little easier for people. There is no charge for the talks, which take about an hour and are quite light hearted.

 

If you are interested, please call either Kate or Gill on 01246 275767

Buying a new mobility scooter

scooter

Before getting a scooter, think about…

Here is a list of things to consider before getting a scooter:

What do you want it for?

  • Decide what size and type you need.
  • Small (Class 2) scooters can go on pavements. Some can be dismantled and put in your car boot. The smaller they are, the easier they are to use indoors, store and transport
  • Class 3 scooters are larger and can go on the road. They’re more robust and better at long distance.

Try before you buy

  • Come and try out different scooters to see what suits you, and don’t buy anything without a test drive.
  • Come and try a scooter at our shop.

Will it suit you?

  •  Look for controls that are easy to see, reach, grip and use for long periods.
  • The seating needs to be comfortable – check back support and legroom.

If you decide to get a scooter, think about…

  • Shop around as prices vary dramatically.We will match any other shop in Chesterfield or surrounding areas
  • We don’t recommend buying online unless you know exactly what you want. It is always better to speak to the people you are buying from and to make sure they are reputable

How to use it safely

  • Remember the speed limits – 4mph on the pavement and 8mph on the road.
  • If you’re going on the road, make sure you know your highway code
  • Slopes, kerbs and rough ground can make your scooter unstable – you need to know what it can handle and how well you can balance.
  • Get insurance so that you’re covered against theft, accidents and third-party claims.

How to choose a rise and recline chair

rise and recline chair

A rise and recline chair is a great help for people finding it hard to get out of a chair by themselves.

The most important thing about buying a new chair is to try it before purchasing. If possible, go to your local mobility shop with a relative or friend and give yourself plenty of time.

All chairs give you some support, but think about the following questions. You may find you need to
look at specialist seating.

• Do you need extra support?
• Do you sit in the same chair for long periods?
• Do you find it difficult to sit down or get up?
If it’s difficult to sit down and stand up, a rise and recline chair might help.  Getting the right chair can help keep you independent. We can give information about riser recliners, and advice to help you choose and get one.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and prices. A simple one can cost as little as £420.If you
want special features you can pay as much as £7,000, so it’s important to know whether you really
need those extra features. It’s important to try any chair out before you buy. Have a good long sit to
make sure it will be comfortable, and try out any special features.

Single motor or Double motor?

A single motor will gently raise your feet whilst reclining you at the same time. With a double motor, the feet and the backrest are independent of each other so there are many more seating positions available. All of these chairs will lift and rise. Single motor chairs have usually only 2 buttons on the control handset whereas dual motor chairs may have 5 buttons and so can be more complicated to use.

Size
To be comfortable, a chair needs to give you support where you need it, and be just the right size for you. It is fairly easy to tell if a chair is the right size, though you might need to sit in it for at least an hour to be really sure.
In the right chair:
• You should be able to sit with your bottom
right at the back of the seat and your feet flat
on the floor.
• Your thighs should be level and your lower
legs straight up and down.
• You should be able to get two fingers between
your knees and the front of the seat.
• The seat should be wide enough to fit you,
but not so wide that it doesn’t give you any
sideways support. If it has arm rests, you
should be able to sit between them with
enough room to get your hand in on each
side.

Support
The back rest should be angled very slightly
backwards and should support the whole length
of your back and your head. Usually this means
it should have padding at the bottom to support
your lower back and at the top for your head

.Arm rests should support your arms below the
elbow, without making you lift your shoulders.
• Cushions should be soft, but not too soft (this
depends on your weight). If you can feel the
frame of the chair through the cushion then it
is too soft, and you should get a firmer one.
• If you are going to be sitting in the chair for
a long time, you can get different pressure relieving
cushions

Take time to buy the right chair. At Care100 we have a large range of chairs in many different colours and sizes and we can make sure your purchase is the right one for you.