Before you hit send.....
It can be so easy when you’re really swamped with work; having a difficult week; or are just about to dash off to an important meeting, to whack off a response to an email without really thinking.
I’ve had a difficult week with a bit of a family crisis, but receiving an email from a frantic parent, when I was just about to switch off my computer for the day, made me stop and think.
It was a lengthy email from a mother seeking an assessment for her son. One section really disturbed me: “Indeed, his housemaster's final words to me still haunt me: he feared, he said, that ‘B’ would be incapable of functioning effectively in the world beyond boarding school. There were other damning words from a close relative. Sadly, I often hear such remarks being retold to me by students or their families.
I pride myself on an individual service and this was no exception. I sat back down at my desk and wrote a considered reply. This was her feedback: "What a wonderful, considerate and personalised response! Thank you so much Kris. You have indeed answered all my questions. I should be delighted if you would assess my son and feel instinctively that you will succeed, whatever his reservations, in putting him at his ease upon meeting him..... So much of what you say rings true and hits home - his lack of self-esteem is all too regrettably apparent..."
Hopefully, I can now make a difference to this young man’s life; give him back some self esteem and confidence; motivate him to continue with his studies at University and enable him to realise his potential. If I’d followed my initial instinct - feeling at an especially low ebb and in a bit of a hurry – to send a fairly swift response, I might not have had that chance.
Count to 5 before you send and you too might get the chance to make a difference.
The word “care” has many different definitions and even more interpretations. Most people are aware of the Care profession as a result of intense media coverage in recent years of investigations into the failings of different organisations and individuals within this profession. To the majority of the British public, these cases highlighted instances of truly shocking actions undertaken in the name of care.
These scandals which surround those very rare examples of poor delivery of care only serve to overshadow the significant strides made by the profession and its regulators over recent years. With more rigorous scrutiny of the Care Sector than ever before, the regulatory bodies the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales (CSSIW) have driven up the standards measurably.
Today, before any business or charitable organisation can begin to offer care and support services, there are a number of statutory requirements which must be met. The first step however is to identify the areas within society that the organisation as a care provider wishes to help. The following is a summary of some key groups which form the options available:
1. Children – aged under 16.
2. Young people – aged between 16 and 24.
3. Vulnerable adults – including those with either physical or mental impairments or special needs.
4. Drug , Alcohol and Substance abuse dependents – including the rehabilitation of these individuals
5. Ex-offenders – including those with histories of violence, abuse, or arson.
6. Dementia - to include the entire spectrum of disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Once the Organisation has established the sector which they intend to support, their next step would be to decide the level of care and support that they intend to provide. They can elect any one of the following:-
· Care Home – with or without nursing
· Nursing Home
· Supported Living
· Domiciliary Care
Each category has a number of variations in the type of service that can be offered – from offering social support to enable individuals to live almost independently, to those needs are only met by 24/7 care and support within a residential environment.
To enable any care provider to begin offering their service to the general public, there are 28 Essential standards which must be met and a raft of policies which govern the way in which the practice will operate will have to be prepared. The main focus for the CQC and CSSIW are the following 16:-
· Respecting and involving people who use services
· Consent to care and treatment
· Care and welfare of people who use services
· Meeting nutritional needs
· Cooperating with other providers
· Safeguarding people who use services from abuse
· Cleanliness and infection control
· Management of medicines
· Safety and suitability of premises
· Safety, availability and suitability of equipment
· Requirements relating to workers
· Supporting workers
· Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision
The remaining 12 regulations are concerned with the routine day-to-day management of a service. The CQC or CSSIW will consider all standards which are relevant to the service that they are inspecting.
DEEP TRAUMA AND REFLEXOLOGY
This month I have been talking and writing about trauma and the place that reflexology has in the treatment of trauma. I have talked about the various types of everyday trauma like bereavement, divorce, accidents and redundancy but, of course, most people relate trauma to war time situations and their aftermath and are familiar with the condition referred to as post traumatic stress.
With this in mind, I recalled an instance from my pre reflexology days as a musician playing mainly in social clubs up and down the country. One day my agent called and told me that a club in Swindon wanted me back and he had accepted a date. I groaned because I remembered the elderly gentleman on the club committee who had ‘welcomed’ us on the previous occasion and he was a real misery to say the least. “Just talk to him about the war” my agent advised.
I took his advice and discovered a remarkable story. He had been a rear gunner in bomber command in World War II and had cheated the statistics that gave him virtually no chance by surviving 48 missions including one where the badly shot up plane just made it home to crash land on the cliffs of Blighty. His experiences had left deep emotional scars on him and the rest of his crew. Indeed, two of them had committed suicide after the war had ended.
These days, he would have been offered specialist counselling. However, it’s a pity that he could not only have received counselling but perhaps had reflexology treatments available to him because it is strange that reflexology, for reasons not altogether clear, can have a very positive effective in treating trauma cases. Reflexology helps release negative emotions that are buried in the subconscious and can help heal the soul as well as the body. Indeed, in my own practice, I have always marvelled at the release reflexology can bring about in trauma cases.
After leaving, I felt compassion as I understood his miserable demeanour. Also, I wish I had known about reflexology back then.
Vacant Property – Essential Advice
Recently published figures show that today in England alone, there are more than 635,000 empty homes, 216,000 of them unoccupied for more than six months. This commentary is designed to demonstrate what can be done to make sure property owners manage the risks associated with their empty dwellings.
Vacant homes are obvious targets for criminal activities ranging from burglary (where the property is fully or partly furnished) to metal theft, vandalism or arson (whether it’s furnished or not). Escapes of water can run unchecked. Faulty wiring can cause fires. Lack of buildings maintenance can lead to water ingress and storm damage, so it is imperative that as an owner of an empty property you take the right steps to secure and protect your properties.
The right insurance protection
We regularly quote for properties that have been unoccupied for between one and five years and we've covered some that have been empty for up to 20 years.
At Cass Stephens, we know each client is an individual so we tailor-make the protection they need. Where unoccupied homes are concerned, subject to Insurers’ normal underwriting procedures, we'll provide you with premiums for varying levels of cover.
Level 1: Fire, Lightning, Explosion, Earthquake, Subsidence (unless there are ongoing structural works).
Level 2: All the Level 1 covers plus; Storm, Flood, Weight of snow, Collision by vehicle or animal, Damage by trees, telegraph poles and/or lamp-posts.
Level 3: All the Level 1 & 2 covers plus; Escape of water, Theft and attempted theft, Riot, violent disorder and acting maliciously.
In addition, where the property is unoccupied because it's undergoing extensive renovation, extension or repair we can also provide a quotation which includes cover for the existing structure, building works, property owner's liability and home contents in one seamless policy, whether the property is the proposers home or where it will be let or used as a holiday home once the works are completed.
Owner risk management
As well as taking out the right insurance there are some key things that the owners of unoccupied homes should be doing to help to manage risk and protect your properties from loss or damage. These include:
Installing insurer approved security equipment and base station monitored intruder and fire alarms on a separate circuit.
Shutting down electrical systems.
Ensuring plumbing is properly maintained and either draining the system (especially during the winter months) or at least leaving the heating on at regular intervals (unless the power has been switched off).
Removing combustible material, such as junk mail, on a regular basis also a must.
It’s also a good idea to provide trusted neighbours with contact details so they can be contacted quickly if there is a problem.
Above all, it is important to keep your insurance provider informed of the occupancy (or otherwise) of any property – whether this is residential or commercial. Failure to do so could invalidate your cover, and lead to a claim not being met – a costly oversight.
For impartial and independent advice on this or any other Property Insurance matters, please contact us at Cass Stephens.
Cass Stephens Insurances Ltd
REFLEXOLOGY AND TRAUMA
It’s a fact of life that bad things happen to all of us from time to time. We suffer bereavement, we or someone close to us has an accident, we loose our job or we become sick. However, very few of us regard these events that can turn our lives upside down as traumas. However, ‘trauma’ can be defined in its most simple terms as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
Hence, most of us have suffered a trauma of one kind or another and such events cause an emotional shock to the system that can lead to long term neurosis and general health problems if not recognised and dealt with in a way that releases the stress and tension of the event rather bottles it up in the subconscious where it lies draining our energy for years to come.
The health problems that can be attributed to trauma are evidenced by common phrases in our everyday language such as being ‘heartbroken’, ‘sick to the stomach’ or saying that one ‘just froze’ on seeing an accident or had a ‘shock to the system’. We have an innate recognition that trauma can cause physical as well as mental problems, yet we tend to ignore these warnings from our own mind or body.
As a reflexologist, I often deal with people who have suffered various degrees of trauma. However, I don’t recall anybody coming to me saying they needed treatment specifically because of it. For example, one lady came to be needing treatment for fasciitis. On the second or third visit she stated that she found it hard to give love and it was apparent that she had an emotional blockage. Later in her treatment plan, she remembered something that had been suppressed in her subconscious for nearly fifty years. Her uncle had exposed himself to her and abused her as a child and the trauma had left an emotional scar. After the release of the shame and emotions surrounding her trauma, she became a much happier and well rounded individual.
No matter what the particular trauma one has suffered either recently or in the past, reflexology can be of great benefit helping to heal the mind, body and spirit of the individual. Depending on the specifics of the trauma, this can be either in conjunction with modern western medicine or independent of it. Either way, the benefits are real and well documented.
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