Key

Care homes in England to name relatives as key workers to allow visits

Relatives of care home residents in England are to be designated as key workers so they can be tested regularly for Covid-19 and continue to visit loved ones.



Photograph: Robin Weaver/Alamy


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Robin Weaver/Alamy

The plans, initially a pilot project, with no details about how they would be rolled out, were announced to MPs on Tuesday by the care minister, Helen Whately. They are a win for families and charities that have been calling for months for relatives to be given the same key worker status as staff.

Along with testing, the single designated relative would be trained in the use of PPE, she said, although she was unable to give a date for when the pilot would begin.

Organisations including Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society have been calling for such a move, arguing in a letter to the government in July that the care given by family members was essential to dementia patients’ wellbeing. Social distancing restrictions had contributed to a “hidden catastrophe” in care homes, which had been closed to non-essential visitors since March, they said.

Whately has been challenged at the science and technology committee and health and social care committee over mistakes and mishandling that led to a huge Covid-19 death toll in care homes this year.

Jeremy Hunt, the former Conservative health minister who chaired the sitting, put it to her that care homes should have been banned from taking transfers from hospitals where tests were unavailable, or if it had not been possible to quarantine the person, as was the case in Germany.

“I know it’s very easy to say things with hindsight, but looking back we should have done that here, shouldn’t we?” he asked.

She replied that this would not happen now, and that the Department for Health had

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After White Hall case, nursing homes remain key in controlling covid

As covid-19 numbers continue to rise throughout Arkansas and Jefferson County, protecting one of the most vulnerable populations has become a priority on the state level. Nursing home residents were hit hard in the state of Arkansas at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The first nursing home case was reported by the Arkansas Department of Health on March 25 and was associated with the Waters of White Hall.

Health officials announced that the initial case at The Waters of White Hall appeared to be associated with a case linked to the original cluster at Jefferson Regional Medical Center.

Since then, the nursing home has had 51 positive residents with the most recent one reported to the health department on Oct. 1. Sixteen residents total were also reported as deceased.

In a previous interview, Donna Morton, the facility’s administrator, released a statement describing The Waters of White Hall’s “aggressive and proactive approach” against the coronavirus through “intense” methods including “monitoring, screening, education and awareness and appropriate prevention and management.”

Efforts to contact Morton on Monday were unsuccessful, but Monday’s report released by the Arkansas Department of Health showed the health care facility has 34 residents who have recovered.

Posts on their social media page pictured residents who had defeated covid-19, calling them the “true heroes.”

On Mar. 13, the Department of Health issued a directive temporarily suspending visitation to nursing homes in Arkansas to reduce the spread of the virus. The directive prohibited all visitation at long-term care facilities unless medically necessary by law enforcement or emergency personnel, a representative from the Department of Health, a representative from the Department of Human Services Office of Long-Term Care or a representative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In June the Department of Health allowed the facilities to reopen

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Key Income Tax Changes for Mortgage Interest

Congress keeps chipping away at itemized deductions like the one for mortgage interest. This includes the latest changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) for 2018 through 2025. The good news: Generally, you can still deduct most or all of the mortgage interest you pay if you continue to itemize deductions on your personal tax return.

Background: Prior to the TCA, you could deduct the interest paid on either acquisition debt or home equity debt, or both, within generous limits.

  • Acquisition debt: This is defined as a debt where you use the mortgage proceeds to buy, build or substantially improve the home. Typically, acquisition debt represents the main part of a mortgage interest deduction. To qualify for the write-off, the loan must be secured by a qualified residence, such as your principal residence or a second home like a vacation home. The interest is deductible on loans up to a $1 million threshold.
  • Home equity debt: When permitted by state law, you previously could deduct the interest on home equity loans secured by a qualified residence, regardless of how the proceeds were used. With a home equity debt, deductions were limited to interest paid on the first $100,000 of debt. Furthermore, the loan amount could not exceed your equity in the home.

Along with other itemized deductions, mortgage interest deductions are claimed on Schedule A of Form 1040. They were subject to the “Pease rule” reducing itemized deductions of high-income taxpayers.

But the TCJA tightened up the rules, beginning in 2018. Notably, it imposed these three changes.

  1. The threshold for deducting interest paid on acquisition debt is lowered from $1 million to $750,000. This applies to loans originating after December 15, 2017 (or April 1, 2018 if there was a binding contract in place before December
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Programmatic ‘key driver of UK digital media quality improvements in 2020’

Programmatic has fuelled the boost in media quality across the UK, outperformed global averages across desktop display, desktop video, mobile web display and mobile web video, according to new research.

The Media Quality Report from Integral Ad Sciences provides global benchmarks for viewability, brand safety and suitability, and ad fraud across digital environments and channels

Key findings:

• Programmatic has fuelled the boost in media quality across the UK
• UK programmatic buys outperformed global programmatic averages across desktop display, desktop video, mobile web display and mobile web video
• The UK has cemented itself as a leader when it comes to brand risk reduction
• UK viewability continued to rise in the UK across all formats and environments driven by strong programmatic performance throughout H1 2020
• Ad fraud levels in the UK remained steady throughout H1 2020

Programmatic buys fuel boost to UK digital media quality

The UK has cemented itself as a leader when it comes to brand risk reduction. Video inventory in particular, achieved lower rates of brand risk when purchased programmatically, with mobile web video programmatic risk falling 1.8 percentage points to 5.6% when compared with the six months prior. For desktop video, the risk of being placed next to contextually unsuitable or unsafe content decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 5.3% in H1 2020.

When compared to the average worldwide risk, UK programmatic buys continued to outperform global programmatic averages across every environment measured – desktop display, desktop video, mobile web display and mobile web video.

Nick Morley, EMEA MD at Integral Ad Science, comments: “The strong performance of programmatic buys is most likely due to the wide use of pre-bid filters. This data should offer UK advertisers the confidence to further invest in programmatic to drive efficiency for their campaigns across platforms.”

UK

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Finding the right contractor is key to replacing foundation

Tim Carter
 |  Tribune Content Agency

Ask the Builder

Q: I’m thinking of buying a house that has a crawlspace. The foundation is in very bad shape. Although the house looks quite bad, it’s got good bones. Is it possible to completely remove a bad foundation and install a new, taller one? What’s involved? Who does this type of work? What would you make sure gets done if you’re going to all this work? — Hanna S., Hartford, Conn.

A: Anybody buying such a dilapidated house needs to negotiate a really good deal. The good news is that the old foundation can be removed and replaced with a new cast-concrete foundation, creating a full basement. The task is not much different than eating an elephant. You just take one bite at a time.

Hanna’s question reminded me of a fascinating time early in my building career. Fresh out of college, I had just rehabbed my first house in Cincinnati. It didn’t need a new foundation, but it was otherwise in pretty bad shape. Four months of work transformed the house back to its former glory.

About a half-mile away, a developer wanted to put in a small shopping mall, but there were about 10 houses and an apartment building in the way. Not only did he buy all these properties, but he also proceeded to move them about a mile away on some wooded land he bought at the end of a street. I remember watching these houses, and parts of houses that were cut in half, creeping down the road to their new foundations.

Hanna needs to contact different foundation contractors to see which ones have done exactly what she wants to do. Not all foundation contractors have the expertise to work underneath a house that’s suspended above the

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