Care Homes – keeping in touch with loved ones

Care home lockdown: how are you keeping in touch with your loved one?

People are telling us they are worried about care homes continuing to be closed to nearly all visits.

They understand it is safer for residents and staff and the extra efforts made to maintain the quality of life in the homes, but after six months, people say they can see the effect on their loved ones, and their own, health and wellbeing.

It seems the situation may go on for some time yet.

Sharing good practice could help make this difficult time a bit better. If your relative, loved one or friend lives in a care home we would like to know what is being done to keep you in touch day to day and on special occasions like birthdays.

We would like to know your experience of:

  • Using video calls (FaceTime, Zoom etc.) or telephone calls – does the home support these? How many times a week and how long? Does a member of staff help your loved one with the call?
  • Socially distanced visits – does the home support ‘window’ visits.  How many times a week and how for long?
  • How does the home keep you informed about how your loved one is getting on (apart from necessary issues about their care or health), for example, manager updates, photographs, videos
  • Does the home have a programme of group and one-to-one activities? Has your loved one taken part?
  • Has the home asked you what, within the current restrictions, would make this time easier?
  • What, within the current restrictions, would make it better for you and your love one?
  • When restrictions are eventually eased (not totally lifted) what would help you and your loved one?

You can tell us your experiences at one of the ways here on our contact page, text us  on 07413 385275 to make an appointment to speak to one of our team, or come along to our public online forum  around these issues on Wednesday 11 November, 2.00pm – 3.00pm.


Countryside view in Coquetdale

Carers Wanted for Focus Group

Carers in Coquetdale are being asked to take part in a focus group as part of a postgraduate study research project. The study aims to look at health and social care through your eyes as a carer and to have your views fed (anonymously) to the council, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust and Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


What would that involve?

You will take part in a focus group of six to eight carers, lasting 60 to 90 minutes.  In the focus group you will be asked to discuss topics put forward by the researcher and to suggest questions that you would like the researcher to ask the council, the trust and the CCG.

The focus group will take place in The Cheviot Room, Jubilee Hall, on Tuesday 12 March at 2.00pm.

You will then be invited to a second focus group, again lasting 60 to 90 minutes, to hear what the council, NHS trust and the CCG have to say and to share what has changed for you and the person you care for.  Everyone’s anonymity will be protected.


Who is doing this study? 

This research is being undertaken by Rita Stringfellow, postgraduate student in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University, who is also a carer.

If you would like to take part please email: or call: 07968157741.


Cartoon image of patient, carer and care professional

NICE Guide to Dementia – Support after Diagnosis

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced a useful guide for people who have received a dementia diagnosis and their families. A diagnosis of dementia may create very mixed emotions. Coming to terms with it, making decisions and planning ahead are all part of living well with dementia. Getting information and support when you need it from people working in health and social care can make a real difference.

Read the NICE Dementia Support Guide



Cartoon young people

Northumberland Young Carers Directory

A young carer is anyone under the age of 18 whose life is in some way restricted because of the need to take responsibility for the care of someone, usually in their family. Many young carers assume significant levels of responsibility normally associated with an adult. It should not be assumed that all children whose parents are ill or disabled are automatically young carers, however an increasing number of disabled and ill adults are forced to rely on their children for their survival and wellbeing, resulting in their children becoming young carers.

VoiCeS Northumberland has gathered information about services and support available to young carers in Northumberland and has presented this as a directory of support for young carers. The directory is designed to be used by young carers, their families and practitioners who want to find out more about local support available.

Support for young carers in Northumberland is offered through generic young people’s services and a few dedicated young carers services, some of which are VCS organisations and some statutory agencies.

Find out more and view the directory.


Carers Rights Day 2018

Carers Rights Day 2018

Are you a carer? Do you know your rights?

Come along to this Carers Rights Day event which this year has the theme ‘Caring for your Future’.

There will be lots of information and advice on:

Carers Rights, Paying for Care, Welfare Rights, Employment, Local Carer Support and much more.

Stall holders include: Healthwatch Northumberland, Welfare Rights Unit, Adult Services, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Citizens Advice Bureau, Hospice Care North Northumberland, Bridge Project, Northumberland Cancer Awareness, NTW mental Health services, Escape Family Support.

Try a relaxing therapy or a craft and have a cuppa with a Key Worker.