Marie Curie launches new standards for end-of-life care

We all hope that, when we reach the end of our lives, it happens in friendly and comforting surroundings. Working to ensure this remains the case for as many people as possible, end-of-life charity Marie Curie has partnered with the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) to update their “daffodil standards”. The set of guidelines helps carers and health workers to provide the best support possible to people at the end of their lives.

Marie Curie joined forces with GPs, members of the multi-disciplinary practice team and other relevant care providers, to create the guidelines. Aimed at people in care homes, they are designed to support and advise professionals with the end-of-life care process. 

Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, RCGP and Marie Curie national clinical champion for end-of-life care said: “All patients who require palliative and end of life care are vulnerable, but those who live in care homes are some of our most vulnerable, which is why Marie Curie and the RCGP have created a focus of the Daffodil Standards, tailored to their needs, and the needs of their family members.”

Ian Turner, executive chair of the Registered Nursing Home Association, added: “Care Homes will wish to work with their clinical lead and other GP’s to use the daffodil standard to encourage more personalised care for their residents. I therefore welcome the introduction of this standard and look forward to its widespread implementation across the UK.”

Offering a quality life, right to the end

Covid-19 has put an added burden on nurses and health professionals, with an extraordinary emotional and physical toll. RCGP and Marie Curie offer a wide range of support and information for carers and healthcare professionals to help them carry out their work to the best of their abilities in spite of this difficult period.

Working to improve care for patients, the RCGP is a network of over 53,000 family doctors who encourage the highest standards of medical care and serve as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

Collaborating with the RCGP on a range of projects that support people near the end of their lives, Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to end-of-life care. Their services include nursing and hospice care, a free support line and a wealth of information about dying, death and bereavement. 

You can support their cause by donating to Marie Curie via their website. £20 could pay for one hour of quality nursing care for someone near the end of their life, and £180 could provide nine hours of support throughout the night.

For more information visit .


Pharma company promotes LGBT+ equality at work

As we approach LGBT+ history month, we should all take lessons from the past to ensure society is as inclusive and equal as possible. Corporations can contribute by fostering these values in their workplaces. Among those doing well in this respect, pharmaceutical retailer McKesson is celebrating its eighth consecutive year as one of the best places to work for LGBT+ equality.

For nearly a decade, McKesson Corporation has been honoured with this title by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Achieving 100 per cent on the HRC’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the company has gained a place, yet again, on this prominent ranking that encourages corporate support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality.

The company’s chief executive officer Brian Tyler said: “Now, more than ever, fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace is essential in supporting our employees, customers and our communities. We continue to work aggressively and thoughtfully towards our diversity goals, and I couldn’t be prouder that McKesson continues to be recognized for our dedication to this important work.”

A long-standing commitment to equality

At the forefront in offering support to its LGBT+ employees, McKesson helps tackle the specific problems faced by this community. 

Their support for LGBT+ workers includes assistance for trans people, paying for HIV prevention medication, PrEP and providing same-sex partners with family health and well-being support. 

The company built on their commitment by recently joining the United Nation (UN) Global Compact, a collective of organisations leading the drive to reach the sustainable development goal of equality.

A trans team leader at the company, Evalyn Keefe, began her transition while at the company. She said: “McKesson’s open, consistent, and strong support for inclusion and diversity not only made me feel safe and comfortable coming out publicly to my colleagues but also helped me to find the courage I needed to transition.”

She added: “The combination of support from my family, friends and McKesson has enabled me to finally reach a place in my life where I feel hope for the future and that I am finally on the right path towards a full and rewarding life as my authentic self.”

Much of the company’s current efforts to improve inclusivity and diversity are thanks to their newly appointed chief impact officer, Dr Kelvin Baggett. Recognised across the US for his dedication to tackling health and social issues, Baggett is responsible for ensuring the company is socially and environmentally progressive, and he oversees their philanthropic work through the McKesson Foundation.

Join the drive for LGBT+ rights at work

Launched in 2002, the CEI offers a roadmap for major US businesses hoping to adopt inclusive policies, practices and benefits for their LGBT+ employees. It has since become a nationally recognized ranking system for workplace inclusion across different businesses.

If you are a US company considering joining the initiative, you can participate by first checking their guidance on who qualifies, then submitting the name, position, email, phone number and address of a person authorized to represent your business to [email protected]

You can also help in the movement towards LGBT+ equality by donating to the HRC.

Culture Equality

Bank of America invests in minority enterprises

Helping to tackle racial inequalities embedded in American society, the Bank of America is channelling approximately $150 million into 40 funds that serve ethnic minorities across the US. Led by managers of diverse backgrounds, these organisations offer a range of opportunities for investors to improve equality in the country by boosting the business success of initiatives led by entrepreneurs facing discrimination.

The bank is offering financial support to initiatives working towards racial diversity, gender equality and inclusivity for the LGBT+ community. Beneficiaries include the Fearless Fund, helping businesswomen of colour; and Serena Ventures, an organisation founded by tennis champion Serena Williams; as well as a wide range of other funds aimed at breaking down barriers for minority entrepreneurs. 

“By accelerating the flow of capital into funds focused on investing in Black, Hispanic-Latino, other under-represented minority and women-led businesses, we can help level the playing field,” said Brian Moynihan, the bank’s CEO. “These funds support diverse entrepreneurs across the US and will drive innovation and economic opportunities, creating more jobs and wealth in communities.”

Investing in social good

Listed among the top companies for social responsibility by business monitor Comparably, the Bank of America is leading by example. 

Their most recent investment into minority business funds builds on a commitment they made back in June 2020 to dedicate $1 billion over four years, to improving racial equality and economic opportunities for minorities. This included $200 million that they gave to Black, Hispanic-Latino, minority and women-led businesses. 

The move also adds to a list of other efforts to support communities in need. The announcement of the $150 million investment comes after the bank recently channelled more than $13 million to Native American communities hardest hit by Covid-19 in 2020.

Ranked as one of the most unequal developed countries in the world, the USA has a long way to go before it spreads financial opportunities more evenly across its population. Therefore, endeavours by the Bank of America and the funds they support are vital if the country is ever to truly live up to its founding principle of equality.


Growth and innovation in medicine improving people’s lives

As the needs of people change and our understanding grows, innovation comes as a natural progression. One of the most obvious examples of that is the quick development and synthesis of a Covid vaccine and the advent of RNA vaccines. 

Medical advancements are happening everywhere to help people and their needs. 

On a somewhat smaller but still wide-reaching scale, there’s been a massive move to virtual doctor visits, known as telehealth. This really blew up during the pandemic when doctor’s offices were inundated with patients, and most places recommended social distancing and masking up. A lot of people and medical providers started realizing that not every minor checkup or medical conversation needed to happen in a doctor’s office. 

It also made the doctor more accessible for people dealing with disability, and the entire process as a whole became more convenient. This is something that Dr. Laura Purdy became known for as she became “America’s Favorite Doctor”.

Dr. Laura Purdy

She gained the moniker after becoming licensed in all 50 states and taking patients from all around the country.

“I can’t do everything, but I can do a lot, especially with labs and blood pressure and getting vital signs and everything,” Dr. Purdy tells Smiley News. “I can actually do a lot and so the patients would say over and over again, ‘Thank you. So much. This is incredible. I don’t know what I would have done without you without this service. I would have had to go to the ER nobody could take care of me. I was out of town on vacation.’

“I was working in the clinic and I didn’t get that much of a sense of gratitude from people.”

According to the CDC over 37% of adults in the US seeking medical care used telehealth in 2021, and that number is growing as convenience and accessibility become more apparent. People could even get most or all of their prescriptions through telehealth doctors, helping people who may struggle to leave the home.

“One of the beauties of telemedicine is that it removes some of the barriers to high-quality care leaving your house to go into a clinic, nine to five business hours administrative staff, just the time overhead involved in people like walking in shaking hands filling out paperwork, a lot of that is we get to do away with it in the virtual health space,” Dr. Purdy says. “Over the course of several years, it was easily apparent that the patients loved the experience.”

Beyond the doctor’s office, many medical fields are constantly trying to innovate how to better care for their patients. This can come in the form of better cancer treatment techniques, and  specifically in the case of Dr. Anne Peled, better breast cancer treatments.

Dr. Anne Peled

Dr. Peled is a plastic surgeon and breast cancer specialist. After being diagnosed with breast cancer herself she, along with her husband, worked to develop a more humane mastectomy technique that lets people with breast cancer preserve much of the sensation in their breasts.

“Many people in my position young and with breast cancer would have double mastectomies and so we were talking about how I didn’t want to do that because I was so worried about losing sensation, so young. We sat down and thought, well, we reconstruct nerves and keep nerves and other parts of the body,” Dr. Peled tells Smiley News. “This is a well-known thing in hand surgery and other body parts. Why couldn’t we do it in the breast?”

The development was massive, and now they have people flying in trying to learn from them to expand their work in surgery. The work itself has even expanded to people having mastectomies for more reasons than breast cancer.

“Something that’s been really neat to see and we aren’t responsible for this, but this focus on sensation and quality of life for people has actually extended now to people having gender-affirming mastectomies,” Dr. Peled says. “So now people having mastectomies for non-cancer reasons are actually also able to have preservation of sensation and able to feel like themselves after as well, which has been really neat to see.”

And that’s just a small window into medical advancement. There are growing standards of care for trans people, cancer research, and obviously expanding RNA vaccines that allow us to develop vaccines nearly decades faster. Here’s to highlighting a few of the small ways that medicine is getting better.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.


East Midlands hospice gets patients online with free tablets

Throughout the pandemic, social isolation has become a mounting concern. For people with life-limiting conditions, this isolation also restricts their access to vital support. Patients in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, however, no longer need worry about getting cut off because the counties’ leading end-of-life care charity, Treetops Hospice Care is helping by getting them online. 

The charity has handed out 12 free tablet devices to beneficiaries granting them online access to their services as well as reopening communication with support workers. This includes one-to-one well-being calls as well as virtual meetings with the staff caring for them.

Although initially difficult for the recipients to adjust to, the new technology has granted them the same vital support as before the pandemic, albeit online.

Well-being senior staff nurse at the hospice Ali Jordon said: “It has been a steep learning curve for our patients and technology is something which, these days, we all take for granted. But the outcome has been a positive one and we’re delighted that some of our patients are now able to access our online services. This scheme has enabled them to have face-to-face contact with someone here at Treetops who they recognise and continue to take part in chair-based exercises to keep them moving.”


The wonders of online chat

Eighty-four-year-old Harold Jepson, from Chaddesden, is among those who benefitted from the scheme. He said that the technology has allowed him to chat with the people he usually sees at the hospice. This offers a unique opportunity for him to socialise despite the lockdown, seeing as he hasn’t left his house since Christmas. 

He said: “It’s frustrating not being able to get out of the house, but to be honest I’m getting a bit frightened to go out, you hear all sorts of stories. Using my tablet, though, I can now Zoom, and I get to see some of the other patients at Treetops doing it, too. You don’t get the same camaraderie as when you visit the Café, but you do see somebody different.”

Helping to ease the pain

From diagnosis onwards, Treetops Hospice Care provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions, and their families. This includes patients with cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions.

Their dedicated team of nurses provided over 28,000 hours of care to terminally-ill patients last year, working day and night to give much-needed support. Their bereavement counsellors offer sessions to family members, many of whom are young people and children. In addition, the charity’s experts dedicate many hours to training NHS staff about end-of-life care and bereavement support.

To help their staff continue this important work, you can donate via their website, which offers the option of making a one-off or monthly contribution. They rely heavily on a team of volunteers to keep operating smoothly. If you’d like to offer your time and skills email [email protected] or visit the volunteering page for more information.

Culture Equality

McDonald’s funds scholarships for 100 Hispanic students

Breaking down barriers for Hispanic students to access higher education, McDonald’s is awarding $500K in scholarships to 100 students from this community as part of their HACER More programme. In total the initiative will offer financial assistance to 130 students struggling to cover their tuition fees.

To launch Hacer More, McDonald’s joined forces with Latina celebrities including actor and Gentefield star Julissa Calderon, dancer and actor Jeanine Mason, alongside fashion entrepreneur Patty Delgado. Together, the stars are using their platforms to encourage Hispanic students to apply for the scholarships.

Reflecting on her own experiences, Delgado explained: “The financial concerns around the cost of higher education are very valid. I personally would not have been able to pursue college without financial support from scholarships, grants and loans. That’s why I am thrilled that McDonald’s is making college less of a barrier for my community.”

She added: “It’s crucial for Latinx to be seen in spaces that haven’t always been the easiest for us to enter. In doing so, we’re creating representation and opening the door, making college less of a barrier for future generations.”

One of the McDonald’s employees behind the initiative is Michelle Suarez, McDonald’s Hispanic marketing committee franchisee lead and HACER scholarship committee judge. She said: “We are honoured to continue helping Hispanic students stay on track with their education journey, despite the financial hardships they are facing. McDonald’s is celebrating this year’s recipients and their accomplishments and encourages future college students to apply for their opportunity to receive this scholarship as well.”

Feeding the nation with education

Hispanic youths are at a significant disadvantage when accessing education, struggling with digital exclusion, a lack of learning resources and a poor understanding from educators. Because of this 11 per cent of those over the age of 25 earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 17 per cent of Black people, 30 per cent of white people, and 49 per cent of Asian Americans in the same age group.

McDonald’s has a long-standing commitment to broadening access to education for Hispanic students as well as other marginalised groups. Their efforts include McDonald’s HACER Education Tour, which helps students navigate the college application process, as well as the Black and Positively Golden Mentors Program, which partners industry leaders with up-and-coming innovators in the same fields. 

They host webinars based around issues facing Asian and Pacific Islander American students, and their Archways to Opportunity program for restaurant staff provides educational resources for their American restaurant employees to advance their careers. 

How to apply for a McDonald’s scholarship

Those hoping to benefit from the HACER scholarship should sign up and fill in an application form by 3rd February 2021 for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year.

To apply or to access supportive resources, visit the scholarship page on the McDonald’s website.


Estée Lauder promises zero emissions from travel retail by 2023

Catering to increasingly eco-conscious shoppers, the retail sector is making vital moves towards sustainability. At the forefront of these changes, Estée Lauder has announced ambitious targets for its travel retail ranges. 

After discovering that over 70 per cent of travellers check sustainability when considering purchases, the cosmetic company decided to set itself more stringent goals for its travel retail. This part of their operations covers beauty and skincare products sold from duty-free zones including airports, aeroplanes, cruise liners and border shops.

Its sustainability pledges include reducing its carbon emissions to net-zero across the transport of its products and all business travel retail by 2023. It will replace plastic film-wrap with FSC-certified paper cartons, incorporate sustainable materials into its retail displays and adopt sustainable practices across all its travel retail offices.

By eliminating film-wrapping, they will reduce plastic waste by 54,000 kilograms, the equivalent of eliminating 5.4 million 500ml plastic water bottles from their waste.

Senior vice president of corporate citizenship and sustainability Nancy Mahon said: “The Estée Lauder Companies’ commitment to citizenship and sustainability reflects our belief that our long-term business success depends on our ability to make conscious decisions to embed sustainable practices across our entire value chain.”

She explained: “We feel confident that the ambitious steps our travel retail team is taking will not only accelerate progress towards our company’s sustainability goals but will also make a tangible impact on the travel retail industry, enabling consumers to make more environmental choices.”

Towards a greener future

Since the launch of these sustainability goals, the company has progressed in both packaging and store design. Demonstrating this, their newly opened counters in Seoul, Korea were built with an average of 80 per cent reused display fixtures to improve their environmental impact.

Looking to the future, Estée Lauder’s global president of travel retail, Olivier Bottrie, said: “We recognize that this is the first step for travel retail in what will be an ongoing journey, but we look forward to being a part of the solution and feel that by taking these critical steps, The Estée Lauder Companies and travel retail is recommitting to its values to bring the best to everyone we touch.”

The company is mainly indebted to its sustainability leader Mahon for driving these initiatives. Encouraging other companies to adopt greener and more socially sustainable practices, she said: “I am now convinced that corporations like The Estée Lauder Companies can and must be catalysts, partners, donors and thought leaders in driving consequential change on issues like universal access to education, and in decreasing the impact of global warming and waste through sustainable business practices.”


Charity welcomes Mental Health Act review

Until just this month, mental health care resembled too closely that of 19th-century asylums, giving practitioners the right to hold people against their will. Thankfully, the government has fully uprooted mental health legislation from its past, publishing recommendations and opening reforms to public consultation, in a move that was applauded by the mental health charity, Mind.

It is over two years since an independent review recommended that the government overhaul legislation which allows people with mental health problems to be held against their will or ‘sectioned’. The government has taken steps to modernise this area of healthcare, publishing its white paper and allowing the public to submit their views on reforms to the act.

Responding to the white paper, director of external relations at Mind Sophie Corlett said: “We are pleased the Government has accepted the majority of the recommendations made in the Independent Review. It is reassuring to see that many of Mind’s concerns – and those of the people with experience of the Mental Health Act who we supported to feed into the review – have been heard.”

She added: “We must now see as many people as possible with experience of mental health problems take part in the public consultation process, to make sure their voices and experiences are at the heart of reforms.”

Offering a range of options to strengthen the rights of mentally ill people, the white paper could lead to significant advances. It would give legal weight to people’s preferences about how they are treated. Mentally ill people would benefit from the right to choose which of their friends and relatives contribute to their care. The reforms would provide culturally appropriate advocacy and support options for people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Finally, patients would also gain opportunities for tribunals to adjust their care or to seek a discharge.

A weight off one’s mind

With one in four people facing mental health problems each year, we all benefit from good care and support. One of the most prominent charities meeting this demand in the UK, Mind offers advice and support for those experiencing mental health issues, and campaigns against the stigma surrounding mental health conditions. 

Its 2020 achievements include helping 119,000 people over the phone, supporting 120,000 people online and improving the lives of 333,000 individuals through local services.

To help the charity continue its vital work, you can donate via their website. A donation of £20 could help run online peer support for an hour, fighting loneliness and misery. £100 could pay for a day of legal advice or information services over the telephone. 


Welsh community rallies to support flood victims

A week after Storm Cristoph caused upheaval for thousands of households across the UK, The Salvation Army brings positive news of a community in South Wales pulling together to help flood victims who had to evacuate their homes. 

Transforming the local church hall into a relief centre, Salvation Army volunteers served food and drink to emergency service workers and supported those most affected by the flood. Since the storm ended, church leaders, volunteers and the local council, continue to assist around 100 Skewen families still unable to return to their homes.

To bolster their efforts, a JustGiving page set up at the start of the pandemic has brought in more than £20,000 to help residents in the village of Skewen, South Wales. The money will help meet the flood victims’ immediate needs whilst they are unable to return home, but it will also provide longer-term support for affected residents after their houses are made habitable again.

The Salvation Army’s leader in Skewen Jo Walters said: “The response from the general public and the local people of Skewen since the flood has been absolutely amazing. Everyone has just pulled together to help one another. Individuals, families and local businesses have all got involved. We’ve had donations of food, blankets, cleaning products, the list goes on. It’s been overwhelming. I’d like to say a huge thank you. 

“With so many people still in temporary accommodation whilst their homes are assessed and the area made safe, it’s clear our support will be needed for some time. As people start to get back into their homes, money donated to our JustGiving page will also help to replace some of the things which have been destroyed by water.”

Help in a time of need

If you’re interested in volunteering your time or skills in Skewen, the best way to do so is by contacting your local authority. Details of how to do so can be found on the council website.

To support The Salvation Army in Skewen financially, donate via their JustGiving page.

With a long history of supporting communities in crisis, The Salvation Army offers response vehicles who deal with large fires or disasters that leave people without shelter or food. The charity’s volunteers and officers are dedicated to responding to emergencies at any time of the day or night, to offer vital support to the emergency services. For more information visit their website

To help offer more general support to those in crisis you can contribute via their main donation page. Funds go towards assistance such as food provision, shelter or support for vulnerable people.

Culture Planet

Digital service company accelerates corporate sustainability

Increasingly, businesses are waking up to the fact that sustainability doesn’t just benefit the environment, it also ensures their very existence in the long term. Global services company Accenture is offering a range of software and digital tools to help companies embed sustainability into every part of their operations.

With the help of their Sustainability Services, Salesforce Sustainability Cloud, and Salesforce Customer 360 programme, companies can monitor, measure and respond to their carbon footprint, customer responses, official regulations and new business models available to ensure they are as environmentally-friendly and ethical as possible.

Luckily, Accenture isn’t imposing these new tools on unwilling clients, but responding to a mounting demand as companies leap to ensure they’re doing their bit to tackle the climate crisis and social issues.

One of those behind Accenture’s sustainability tools is their chief executive officer, Julie Sweet. She said: “Our clients’ commitment to sustainability has never been greater. As industries reimagine and rebuild from the pandemic, they have the opportunity to embed sustainability by design to drive their customer agenda. We are delighted to expand our partnership with Salesforce to help organizations both create value and deliver on their values.”


“Doing well by doing good”

As we gain mounting evidence of climate and ecological breakdown, sustainability is becoming more of a corporate imperative than ever before. Consumers’ expectations are leading companies to understand their responsibility to work towards the UN’s sustainable development goals, including gender equality and ending poverty, as well as fighting the climate crisis. 

But sustainability leads to business success as well as social and climate justice. According to new research by Accenture, companies that drive positive change in their communities are more than twice as likely to outperform their competitors. 

Senior research analyst at global market intelligence firm the International Data Corporation Bjoern Stengel commented: “Our research shows that more and more companies realize that a sustainable business strategy means more than just ‘doing good’ — it means ‘doing well by doing good’. This initiative can help customers on this journey by letting them capture relevant ESG data as well as manage and measure performance against their sustainability targets.”

For further information about how your business or employer could benefit from Accenture’s services visit the company’s website.