As a care provider it is very important to us to provide excellent services to our clients.
It’s also important for us to share our experiences and best practices as care providers to other providers in the UK.
Proudly, as the UK’s first (and only) LGBTQI+ adult care provider we also love to share our innovative thinking and unique approach to care.
So when our Managing Director Ramses Underhill-Smith was asked to join the National Care Forum Managers Conference, he naturally jumped at the chance.
Speaking to leaders and managers from around the country, Ramses eloquently discussed the status of the homecare industry, the challenges facing small businesses and the provision for LGBT+ seniors in the healthcare system.
Ramses’ workshop was extremely well received and enabled managers to gain detailed insight into running an LGBT+ focused organisation, drawing on his expertise and knowledge.
As an organisation we were all thrilled to be a part of the NCF Managers conference, which allowed us to spread a vital message from many who normally do not have a voice.
We believe that everyone in our care has the fundamental right to:
Be regarded as an individual and given individual respect
Be treated equally, and no less favourably than others
Receive respect and understanding regarding their sexual, cultural, religious and spiritual beliefs
Be safe, feel loved and always know that someone cares
Be afforded personal privacy and security
Have the opportunity to think independently, and make their own choices and be listened to
Today (Thursday October 11th) is National Coming out day. It’s a day when people of the LGBTQI community can celebrate the occasion they told their family, friends and the world about who they are.
It’s a day many celebrate with pride and happiness, being able to be open and honest with all. But it’s also a day to show solidarity and support to others who may not have had the chance or the courage to come out.
And we at Alternative Care Services want to say, to all far and wide, we hope you are proud to be who you are, and live your life the way you want to.
We want you to know that you are worthy, valid and deserve happiness. Happpy #NationalComingOutDay
September marks the start of World Alzheimer’s Month. So here are a few things you should know about the disease.
1) September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day
2) There is a difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia. Dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of daily activities. Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms including impaired thinking and memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. In different types of dementia there is damage to different parts of the brain.
3) Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia causing as many as 50 to 70% of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is not a reversible disease. It is degenerative and incurable at this time. Some forms of dementia, such as a drug interaction or a vitamin deficiency, are actually reversible or temporary.
4) Dementia is not a natural part of ageing and it doesn’t just affect older people. Over 40,000 people under 65 in the UK have dementia.
5) Dementia is not just about memory loss, someone with dementia may also experience difficulties concentrating, problems planning and thinking things through, struggling with familiar daily tasks, issues with language and communication, problems judging distances, mood changes and difficulties controlling emotions.
6) People can still live well with dementia. You can find out more about this on the Alzheimer’s Society website.
So much can happen in a year.
Last year, we marched with Opening Doors London during the 2017 Pride, it was a fantastic day.
One year later, we are so very excited that Pride 2018 is here, and it’s going to be a scorcher of a day!
This year we’ll be there, marching alongside F2M London and will be handing out cake pops, water and leaflets at stall A09, come find us and have a chat,
Here’s to many more.
The care and health industry is a challenge to say the least, and at the end of a never-ending day, you sigh in relief when you get one more thing done because you care.
We know how hectic running a health and social service business can be, but imagine if you were the 5th largest employer in the world with 1.2 million staff.
Really caring can make all the difference.
So as the NHS turns 70 years old, everyone at Alternative Care Services wants to thank the staff (past, present and future) for their tireless hard work and dedication to keeping us all healthy, for free!
Thanks to the thousands of people who give their all every day, and who make all of our care services fantastic services, you know who you are.
Pride, No Shame – Ramses
We have been asked on many occasions why we think there’s a need for LGBT care.
At Alternative Care Services we believe it’s about creating safe and respectful spaces for older LGBTQI+ people, especially when they’re at home.
The need for (and lack of) safe spaces for the older LGBT generation is an issue that has been discussed by many organisations for many years.
In fact, there have been multiple studies (Marie Curie Hiding Who I Am being one) that have revealed that senior LGBTQI people live in fear of discrimination when receiving care.
Another report, conducted by Stonewall (Unhealthy Attitudes 2015) shows that a large proportion of healthcare staff are not confidently equipped with the necessary skills to provide thorough care for LGBT people, elderly or otherwise.
We believe that traditional models of care in Britain are letting down the older generation of LGBTQI+ people, and this is where we are taking a stand.
What Alternative Care Services does:
At Alternative Care Services we offer the very best, non-discriminatory care and support for all of our service users.
We employ staff from the LGBTQI+ community, in fact 90 percent of our staff identify as LGBTQI+.
That’s important as we believe that they are more likely to be able to respond to the specific care needs of an older generation of LGBTQI+ people.
We also make sure they are fully equipped to meet all needs of all our clients. Ultimately, we’ve employed people from the community to serve their community.
The Alternative Care Services teamWe believe there are fundamental issues within a care system that simply doesn’t acknowledge the existence of the LGBT community.
This ‘invisibility’ happens at the outset of the care process as all the referral forms are heteronormative, so social services doesn’t even know how to offer LGBT-focused services. There is no way of offering it.
What can be done to end the discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community?
We think there needs to be a change within the care system at large to futureproof the services for younger generations.
In an ideal world, everyone would live together in harmony, there would be no phobias, discrimination or bias.
Why choose LGBTQI+ care?
This may one day be a reality, but until then, Alternative Care Services will provide the very best personally-centered care and support to all with kindness, dignity, respect and understanding, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI).
Our aim is to enable all to live satisfying; independent lives while maintaining values and identities.
Providing exceptional care to the LGBTQI+ community is what we do, because you’re not an afterthought, you’re our first thought.
Here’s a list of our full unique services and all of our costs are transparent.
On June 13th Opening Doors London (ODL) hosted a national ‘Pride in Care’ conference.
ODL (the UK’s biggest charity supporting the older LGBTQI+ population) brought together leading experts and members of the LGBTQI+ community to discuss how improvements in the social care industry.
Our Managing Director Ramses spoke alongside Senior Lecturer in Health at The Open University, Dr Rebecca Jones and Oral Historian Dr Jane Traies on LGBTQI+ identities ageing in the social care system.
Alternative Care Services Managing Director Ramses speaking at the Pride in Care ConferenceThroughout the day there were numerous fantastic talks on various subjects ranging from Dementia and cancer within the LGBT community, housing advice, improving mental health, living longer with HIV and how best to cope with social isolation.
Other speakers on the day included Alice Wallace, Director of Opening Doors London, Dr Ben Thomas, Professor of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the School of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University and Anna Kear, CEO of Tonic Housing.
This entire event was fantastic, giving real insight into development of care services and the importance of staffing and culture in delivering excellent care designed specifically for # community
At Alternative Care Services we do things a bit differently, we have to as we are the UK’s first and only LGBTQI+ at-home care provider.
It is our mission to make sure all of our clients are provided the very best, discrimination-free service, as we believe dignity and respect is paramount to providing fantastic care.
Being the first company of its kind in the UK, we have come across many aspects of the care industry that we believe could be improved – particularly when it comes to working with the ageing LGBTQI+ community.
When we registered as a care provider with the Care Quality Commission, we realised that the independent regulator did not have a category for LGBT service users or companies.
This signified a vital issue to us; that the LGBTQI+ community remains invisible within the care industry, something that we believe must change.
We therefore contacted the folks at the CQC to see how we could effect change and ensure LGBTQI+ service users are acknowledged and offered a choice.
After months of discussions, the regulator agreed that its registration process needed to change and confirmed to us that it would now redevelop the entire CQC registration process!
We are thrilled to have been a catalyst of change and to have worked directly with the CQC to make sure LGBTQI+ people are no longer invisible when it comes to the industry.
It is worth noting that this is still a work in progress, and there is still much to do to, but with the help of fantastic organisations like the CQC, and its staff, we can improve services for all.
It was bright and warm June morning that Ramses, our MD was invited on LBC radio to challenge the protests of Man Friday, a Feminist group that opposes the 2018 Gender Recognition Act.
Speaking on the popular Nick Ferrari radio program, Ramses discussed the possible changes in law and explained to the audience and protestors why the new changes were a positive step for the trans, non-binary and non-gender community.
He argued that these protests signify that it’s ok to hate the trans, non-binary and non-gender community. You can hear the full show here:
What is Man Friday and why are they protesting?
Back in March the female activist group called Man Friday attended a men-only swim session wearing just trunks and pink swimming caps to protest against proposed changes that would enable trans, non-binary and non-gender people to choose their own gender.
Man Friday aim “To raise awareness among men of the misogynistic and homophobic pro-self-ID policies that are allowing men to appropriate women’s spaces, services and positions,” one activist told The Independent.
The group also want to challenge the idea that sex and gender are interchangeable and for organisations to use the lawful exemptions in the Equality Act to protect the rights, safety, dignity and privacy of women.
What is the Gender Recognition Act?
The first thing you should know is that the GRA is not new. It was introduced to UK law in 2004 and officially let an adult register to change the gender assigned to them at birth.
However, the 2018 update of the Gender Recognition Act has been surrounded in much controversy. Why?
As new proposed changes would mean trans, non-binary and non-gender adults would be able to sign a self-identification form to register without the need for a ‘diagnosis’ of gender dysphoria.
The current legislation requires trans, non-binary and non-gender people to provide psychiatric assessments and proof of living for two years in the gender they wish to be officially recognised.
The new self-id would make it much simpler and less medicalised
Opposition to the change comes in the form of organisations like
There are already multiple countries (Portugal, Ireland, Malta, Belgium, Norway and Denmark) using the self-id process with, so far, no evidence of anyone abusing them for sinister purposes.
Why is it important for transgendered people to be able to self-refer?
“It’s important because the older systems that have been in place since the 2004 is woefully inadequate, people and if you can decide at any time in your life that you are heterosexual, you should be able to deice what gender you are,” explained Ramses.
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