Stepping Out Blog

Is Digital Technology Transforming Social Care?

During a recent Skills for Care work project, a research team asked over 500 managers and staff in various adult social care services about their digital capabilities, experiences and attitudes.

The results show that over 95% of those questioned use digital technology in their work, and the great majority are strongly positive about the potential of digital technology to improve efficiency and quality of care services.

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The Silent Assassin: How Vascular Dementia Stole a Father and Husband Away

Guest Post by: Philip Hall

Right now, Dementia is in the news more often than not, and for very good reason.

Because this condition, disease, call it what you like, is proving to be the largest social care dilemma for quite some time.

For years, I simply thought it was a problem that other people had to deal with, there was no way that our family would ever have to face up to this awful set of circumstances.

And then, something happened that threatened to tear my whole family apart.

My father was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia.

I’m not going to write a tear jerking account of how a once proud and highly intelligent man was reduced to a shuffling wreck within two short years, what would be the point?

Neither do I care to share the utter heartbreak that I felt when I visited him in a mental health hospital after flying my own family back from our new life overseas.

“But I implore any of you to seek medical advice the very minute that you suspect one of your loved ones is showing signs of Dementia.”

You see, I really do hope that none of you ever have to go through the living hell that Dementia can bring to your family door, and I mean that most sincerely.

But I implore any of you to seek medical advice the very minute that you suspect one of your loved ones is showing signs of dementia.

You can find a list of symptoms on most health care websites, so I’ll not list them here.

My biggest regret, and one that I will probably take to the grave, is that now I think about it, I am certain that Dad was showing these signs a long time before he really went downhill.

Could we have prevented his dementia from taking away his dignity, his soul, his personality?

Probably not, but we may have been able to find treatment that slowed this God awful disease from taking him away so bloody fast.

And I for one, would have avoided having some pretty fiery arguments with a man who seemed to be getting stubborn and ignorant to facts way before a ‘normal’ person should have done.

So please, please, please, don’t let this happen to someone you love, because there really is no way back.

Phil Hall is the son of a Dementia sufferer and is doing his best to keep it together. Please feel free to read about his exploits here and here.

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Looking for a Career in Social Care? Stepping Out Are Hiring!

Passionate about helping young people to achieve their potential?

Do you think you can empower people to make positive life changes?

Stepping out is a specialist service provider of training, education, care and support services for young people and adults with complex needs. We continually strive to be innovative and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people using our services.

Career in Social Care

Career in Social Care

The company owns and operates specialist accommodation provisions throughout Luton, London and Hertfordshire, we also provide personalised care packages to clients within their own homes.

We have recently opened a new provision and are particularly looking for male staff who can comfortably work in the Watford area of Hertfordshire.  We need individuals who enjoy working with young people; commitment and a flexible attitude are essential. The role entails supporting young males only aged between 16-18.  In line with section 7 (2) of SDA.

We are seeking to recruit care / support / youth workers.

Stepping Out are Searching for Applicants Who:

  • Have a minimum NVQ/QCF Level 2 in Health & Social Care and/ or equivalent qualifications and/ or experience.

  • Have experience in working with or are willing to work with clients who display challenging behaviour.

  • Are punctual and flexible, willing to work varied shifts including weekends and bank holidays.

  • Can work well in a team environment and are capable of working alone when necessary.

  • Have good communication skills.

  • Are experienced in report writing and able to effectively use IT packages i.e. Google packages, Microsoft Word

  • Have a clean DBS / CRB check.  (Please note that a new check will need to be carried out before commencement of work).

  • Can work in the Hertfordshire, mainly Watford but are flexible to work in other areas.

Working with the Latest Technology

Furthermore, working for Stepping Out means you get to use the latest technology and software.

  • The ability to communicate via email, sms, mms, video call, instant message, telephone.
  • The ability to receive live support whilst working on documents.
  • Secure shared calendars accessible via mobile devices like laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets and any other internet connected device.
  • Access to our secure cloud based shared network enabling our staff to obtain relevant information about a client, an event, appointment etc. from anywhere in the world.

With several options for accessing their information while on the go, our employees can be productive even when they’re not at their desks. We now benefit from over-the-air mobile access on BlackBerry devices, the iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android and many less powerful phones.

We took teamwork to a new level.  Our employees can now share, collaborate and innovate in real-time, with no editing conflicts or review delays. Improving workflow and increasing productivity and interaction, all in a reliable, intuitive application suite. Our technology  is designed to work consistently and beautifully on any web-enabled device, from desktop to smartphone to tablet and beyond.

Please send your CV to

Further information about our company can be found at

If you do not receive a reply within four weeks of sending in your application please assume you have not been shortlisted on this occasion. Thank you for your interest in our organisation.

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Semi Independent Living: How to Introduce & Enforce House Rules

Carers involved with Semi Independent Living environments need to be aware of certain strategies when it comes to introducing and enforcing house rules.

Here at Stepping Out, we have been creating and managing semi-independent living projects for many years. Throughout our history, we have thankfully been able to produce some extremely positive outcomes for a number of both young people and adults.

Semi independent Living

For introducing and enforcing house rules in such environments, here are a few simple, but effective tips:

1) Explain the Benefits

Instead of focusing on the harm rule breaking brings, try to incorporate the goodness that following rules can bring about. Smoking indoors for example, is now against the Law. However, be sure to follow this up by mentioning how smoking outdoors will help keep the house and the service users clothes smelling better.

Putting this beneficial twist on rules can often make the resident want to keep things in order. Also, it allows you to come across friendlier – even when you’re explaining restrictions.

2) Be Stern Yet Balanced

When explaining and enforcing the house rules, be stern. If certain rule breaking comes with consequences, be sure to carry out those consequences without fail.

However, it’s also important to find a balance. Try not to impose too many unnecessary rules. Set out guidelines to keep the house in order, but don’t go overboard with the nitty gritties.

Also, offer the young person or adult a way to reconcile, perhaps by taking up another chore. So, if they use foul language for example, they can take out the bins to make up for their behaviour.

3) Offer Incentives Where Possible

To encourage residents to stick to the rules, offer them incentives and rewards. One week without breaking a house rule for example, entitles them to rent a movie. The incentives can of course be tailored to each service user, depending on their needs and wants.

By offering incentives, you’re acting intelligently to pre-empt rule breakage. Instead of having to react with punishments, incentives allow you to keep rules unbroken in the first place.

About Stepping Out: We provide comprehensive semi independent living services throughout North London & Hertfordshire. Our projects are located close to transport links and local amenities, and are staffed up to 24 hours a day offering a high level, structured and supervised group living arrangement.

Do you have any suggestions or strategies for when it comes to introducing and enforcing house rules in semi independent living environments? Let us know in the comments below.

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Dementia Services: Are Ethnic Minorities Underrepresented?

Dementia is the biggest social care problem facing the UK population today. According to a recent Guardian article, cultural discrimination is becoming an issue when it comes to UK Dementia services – albeit unintentionally.

The report claims that:

“The Centre for Policy on Ageing and the Runnymede Trust applied well-established dementia prevalence rates to census data, which estimated there are almost 25,000 people with dementia from BAME communities in England and Wales (PDF). This number is expected to grow to nearly 50,000 by 2026 and 172,000 by 2051, which is almost a seven-fold increase in 40 years. This compares to a two-fold increase in the number of people with dementia across the whole UK population in the same time period.”

The Race Equality Foundation commented on the article:

“Great article! It’s important that the increasing attention being given to dementia does not exclude issues surrounding black and minority ethnic communities, particularly since there is evidence that symptoms may emerge earlier in these groups.”

As a result of these findings, the Alzheimer’s Society is developing tailored programmes to support families from different cultures.

The Society is working on a number of culturally tailored services including information services, singing sessions and peer support groups.

Their programme comprises a series of face-to-face sessions and an educational DVD to take home and share with family members. Initial consultations have to date been held with 120 people with dementia, carers and professionals. The Pilots began in Enfield, Coventry, Leicester, Bradford and Rochdale in March 2014, with plans to roll out similar services to a further 15 locations later in the year.

What are your thoughts on ethnic minority representation in Dementia care? 

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