HCS - Latest News

  • Discover ways of developing empathy to help impact your care business

    Today I want to talk to you about empathy, a word which is being used ever more frequently within the care industry. But what is empathy?

    The dictionary defines it as:

    ‘The ability to understand and share the feelings of others’ and given the nature of the work that we all do, helping to support those in our care, this is an invaluable tool for us.

    What’s got me really thinking about the value of empathy is that recently I had a personal experience which involved a business demonstrating empathy to me in a truly brilliant way.

    I was in hospital having a pre-op assessment for a procedure I was to have, and the nurse, a lovely welsh girl named Cheryl, who was completing my assessment - told me that she’d undergone the same operation the previous year.

    I felt instantly reassured on learning this, just because she had such good insight into the procedure itself, how to prepare for it, getting over the anesthetic, after care hints and tips and how her experience could help me get through my op and recovery.

    I honestly thought that it was such a great way that BMI Healthcare showed they were really empathizing with their patients, by effectively utilizing the personal experiences, skills and knowledge of their staff.

    I’m a great believer in the expression – ‘never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes’ and this is especially important in the job that I do working in the care industry

    My experience helped to both clarify and galvanise the vision I have had for my business over the past two years, and that has been to add to our team someone who has had real experience of working in care homes to a senior level and who understands the environment, the pressures and has truly walked a mile in our customers shoes.

    So I am delighted to welcome Lucy Lynch to our Hcsuk team, as our new Healthcare Solutions Manager. Lucy has 5 years experience working in care homes and has worked her way up from a caring role to Deputy Manager at her last home.

    I firmly believe that Lucy will be a great asset to the both our business and to our customers as she will be able to empathise with situations and challenges and be able to provide practical solutions to your challenges.

    There is one, very personal way, I’ve also been able to develop empathy for people who are living with a Dementia.

    I’m fortunate enough that I still have my Mum with me, 98 last March, currently still living at home with Vascular Dementia . Helping to support Mum over the last few years has given me an incredible insight into some of the symptoms and behaviours of people living with Dementia. I have learned what works with Mum, what doesn’t and how to help her to be the best she can be. When other people might think of her behavior as ‘difficult’, I see it as a sign of some distress and work with her to overcome this.

    Mum has been an inspiration to me and has led to write a guide to help people with a Dementia to eat better. She’s also been a tester for some of my products solutions which have worked really well with her. This enables me to confidently go out to my customers and say, “Yes I’ve tested this particular product personally with my mum, I know it works’

    Mum is also in my head when I research and select the product solutions we provide – I always ask myself, ‘would this product be good enough for my Mum?’ – And it has to meet that criteria to make its way onto our range of solutions.

    Recently I visited the Care and Dementia Show and took part in a virtual dementia tour. This again is something which has been designed purely to help you and I to walk a mile in the shoes of someone with a Dementia, to understand the challenges they face on a daily basis and therefore how the way that we work with them and how we interact with them can have a positive impact on the quality of their life and their behaviour.

    As part of this experience I had to don weighted gloves and dark glasses with blacked out middle bits so I only had peripheral vision. We were given headphones to wear that had a lot of muffled background noise going on and we were then literally pushed into a room with dark red and strobe lighting which I found extremely disorienting. There were four of us in this room and I literally became a different person - I was anxious, I was shuffling, very unconfidently, around the room, I wanted to hold onto the sides and when a “Carer” came up to me and put her face very close to mine and asked me to do something meaningful I looked for something to do. I walked to the sink and tried to wash up some cutlery and crockery, and put it on the draining board, but as I placed the crockery carefully on the side the “carer” came and literally shoved it back into the sank. I then thought I could walk through into another room so I tried to push open, what I thought was a door, and a really loud alarm sounded, which really shocked me and all I wanted to do was sit down so that I’d feel safe.

    I emerged from the experience feeling anxious and a little shaky, however I was pleased I had completed it, because I really believe it gave me a greater insight into how it feels to live with a Dementia and has massively improved my experience in terms of how what my business does can impact the lives of people living with dementia. I will think about them differently, I think about Mum differently a little bit now too so it was really helpful for me.

    Again it was trying to help us develop empathy for our customers, our residents and the people we support.

    I also read an article in The Guardian recently about Sara Livedeas, CEO of The Freemantle Trust, who booked herself in to stay at one of her care homes one weekend. What better way is there to experience what your residents see, walk a mile in their shoes, interact with the staff, the environment and everything about the service you are providing?

    Sara learned some valuable lessons around what she liked and didn’t like about the service, including that the television should be on less, and was able to create improvements as a result of her stay. What an insightful thing to do. I think we should do more of that.

    So my question today is how do you develop empathy with your residents and the people that you support? When was the last time you walked in their shoes? I’d love to hear your comments, ideas and thoughts on this subject and how we could incorporate empathy more into the way we run our businesses so we can gain a better understanding of our residents and learn how we can serve them better.

    #empathy #careindustry #carehomes #corevalues #jobonser #care #caring #businessvalues #walkamile

     

  • Exciting news! Introducing our new Healthcare Solutions Manager to you

    I am thrilled and delighted to announce that we have a brand new member of the Hcsuk team on board, Lucy Lynch, who started with us on Monday as our new Healthcare Solutions Manager.
     
    And here is Lucy providing a snapshot introduction for you:
     
    Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m excited to have been offered the opportunity to work within such a passionate and reputable company within the care industry. My passion for working in the care industry began when I cared for my Nan at the end of her life. I went on to gain 5 years experience working in care homes, starting as a Care Assistant, progressing to Senior Carer and then Deputy Manager, and achieving a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care, NCFE Level 3 End of Life and NCFE Level 2 Safe Handling of Medication. I have also worked in management within a Private Ambulance Service and managed a project to improve CQC compliance, whilst ensuring the needs of the patients were at the forefront.
     
    Most recently I worked as a Branch Manager for a healthcare recruitment agency ensuring that the Nurses and Care assistants we supplied were of the best quality. I worked closely with Care Home Managers to ensure that we were supplying them with the most caring and qualified staff members.
     
    I enjoy working with a wide variety of people to achieve a common goal efficiently and realistically, and I’m looking forward to meeting our customers and being able to offer effective solutions for all your healthcare needs.
     
    When I’m not working I am a dog lover with a British Bulldog called Peggy, and I also enjoy reading factual based books and paranormal adventures!’
     
    It has been my vision for the last 12 months to expand our team with someone with Lucy’s skills and experience, someone who has experience of working in care, and has walked a mile in our customers’ shoes because I firmly believe that the empathy Lucy will be able to bring to her new role will add immeasurable value to our customers and impact the quality of the relationships we are able to build. In Lucy, we believe we have found someone who is able to truly empathise with the challenges care providers and managers face as they strive to deliver the best possible outcomes for the ladies and gents they support, whilst working towards improving compliance and CQC ratings
     
    Here at Hcsuk, we specialise in partnering with care homes to:
     
    Provide empathy, honest advice, a professional service and to deliver a complete package of innovative, quality and fit for purpose industry standard product solutions and services which are handpicked to help to improve the comfort, safety, dignity, independence and health and wellbeing of the ladies and gents you support.
     
    And we aim to add relevant value to our customers in all that we do, to enable you to also improve your standards and this includes sharing our 30 year industry knowledge and experience through best practice guides, audits, bespoke and individual equipment assessments, hosting workshops on key topics with industry professionals and much much more!
     
    We are proud to have established an excellent reputation in the industry and enjoy strong and loyal relationships with our current customers, and Lucy will be here to nurture these relationships, by dedicating herself to take care of and support you, to ensure you are receiving the high levels of customer service we pride ourselves on.
     
    We are not here just to sell a product, we want to get under the skin of our customers and demonstrate real understanding of the environment, your challenges, and what is your reality. Only then can we understand how best we can serve you.
     
    Lucy has good knowledge and understanding of the main symptom of conditions people in care homes are living with ie Dementia, stroke, MS, MND, end of life, Dysphagia, Parkinson’s, Huntingdon’s and will be able to advise on and recommend fit for purpose product solutions we provide which can have a positive impact on the quality of life for the ladies and gents you support.
     
    Lucy’s prior knowledge and understanding of CQC’s KLOE’s we believe will also be key to how what we do can help to impact positive ratings for our customers.
     
    As well as her experience, Lucy also
     
    Has a genuine passion to make a difference to peoples’ lives
     
    Can demonstrate empathy both for those of you who work in care, and the ladies and gents yo support, living with different conditions.
     
    Takes pride in the quality of the work she does
    Is professional, personable and approachable
    Possesses a good sense of humour
    Is reliable and dependable
    Is enthusiastic, hard working and committed.
    Has good listening and communication skills
    Is a good problem solver
     
    Lucy will be starting to venture out very soon to meet you all and has a new, exciting and innovative product she will be talking to you about, to help you improve your residents’ safety and reduce the risks of choking.
     
    If you have any questions, enquiries or anything Lucy can help you with right now, then please don’t hesitate to contact her on her mobile number: 07968 994660, direct dial 01773 532586 or by email [email protected] Otherwise Lucy looks forward to meeting you all soon.
  • How to reduce the risks of choking for the people you support with Dysphagia, and details of a NEW innovative new anti choking product which 1880 UK care homes have already invested in.

     

    June is Dysphagia Awareness month and so all month we have been focusing on different ways we can help you if you are supporting people with Dysphagia. 

    Today we are talking about choking, how to reduce the risks of choking, some general advice to support people to eat safely - 

    And an innovative new anti choking device.

    When somebody begins to choke, virtually everyone around them will start to panic.

    This is because nearly everyone has experienced the feeling of terror when an object becomes stuck in their airway and they cannot breathe.

    When this happens, time is of the essence before the person becomes unconscious. If the obstruction is not removed, brain death is expected after just 10 minutes due to lack of oxygen.

    Placing things such as tubes or fingers into the mouth is dangerous due to the risk of pushing the obstruction further back or causing oral damage.

    People with swallowing difficulties and/or learning disability have a further increased risk of choking and every year people with swallowing difficulties die from choking while eating and drinking which could be prevented.

     It is important that people are provided with choking awareness training to empower them to keep themselves safe. However some people will need ongoing support to recognise the health and safety aspects of eating and drinking, for example, the amount they can eat safely, the temperature, rate of intake and presence of inedible. 

    Others are unable to fully understand their risk of choking and rely solely on support to foster a safe eating environment, promote safe eating strategies, and encourage safe food choices. 

    It is important to ensure that people who have swallowing difficulties or who have a choking risk are clearly known with adequately trained staff available to supervise and support. 

    Useful tools to alert staff include care plan, Personal Place Mat, bedside notice or swallowing report. If the person is on a modified dysphagia diet, check the food provided is the correct consistency, temperature and is prepared as recommended. Be cautious that no hard skin has formed. 

    Ensure you have up to date swallowing awareness, first aid and choking awareness training. Ensure you are aware of, and follow local choking guidelines and/or policy. Record and report all choking events, use the choking event form. This will help you learn from choking events to help prevent further choking. Remember that if a person collapses while eating or immediately after eating, you should consider the possibility of choking. 

    1880 UK care homes have also invested in LifeVac: - an innovative non-invasive anti choking Class 1 medical device registered with the MHRA and CE accredited.

    It is designed with a patented one way valve system which creates one-way suction to safely and effectively remove the lodged food or object. 

    Since the invention of LifeVac, it has saved the lives of 31 people who were choking to death when standard choking protocol has failed in the USA, Canada, UK, Greece and Spain. 

    Choking protocol (back blows, abdominal thrusts and CPR) is only 70% effective when performed correctly by professionals. For people that are wheelchair users, this statistic drops drastically due to being unable to receive the abdominal thrusts or back blows if they are seated in a moulded wheelchair.

    1880 care homes in the UK have already equipped themselves with this device to improve resident safety. 

    Being non invasive means there is no risk of damaging the oral cavity, pushing the obstruction further down, pushing the tongue back in a panic situation, no tubes can become blocked rendering the device useless or activating the gag reflex putting the casualty at greater risk.

    LifeVac is the only non invasive airway clearance device and the only airway clearance device with independent medical testing, peer reviewed medical publications, medical abstracts proving safety, effectiveness and lives saved.

    For more information and to view and purchase our brand new range of LifeVac products, please visit our website at www.hcsuk.co.uk 

  • How challenging is implementing the new IDDSI framework in your care home? (We’re sharing our industry expert’s advice to help you get it right.)

    As June is National Dysphagia Awareness month, all month we are focussing on the different ways we can help and support you to achieve improved nutrition and hydration and a more dignified dining experience for the ladies and gents you support with Dysphagia.
    This week we’re talking about all things IDDSI – the new International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative.
    What is IDDSI?

    The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) is a global standard published internationally with terminology and definitions to describe texture modified foods and thickened liquids used for individuals with dysphagia of all ages, in all care settings, and for all cultures..

    The framework consists of a continuum of eight levels (0-7) and includes descriptors, testing methods and evidence for both drink thickness and food texture levels. IDDSI aims to improve clinical safety and efficiency by offering healthcare providers standardised terminology to assist in the development of international collaborative clinical research and to standardise the terminology and consistency of different food providers in order to reduce risks.

    All care providers should now be aware of the new IDDSI system, which was implemented as from April 2019

    How do you find out more about IDDSI?

    The website www.iddsi.org offers comprehensive information about IDDSI. There will also be updates from the British Dietetic Association, The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy and the companies producing commercial thickeners and texture modified meals will also be aware of any changes.

    And there are loads of other resources available which include:
    FAQ- these cover food and drink textures and the FAQ about bread is particularly interesting.
    Print and display posters – these can be displayed in care areas, kitchens and in individual care plans Consumer handouts to explain each texture and also things to avoid

    The Association of UK Dietitians have also published a really useful document:
    IDDSI Frequently Asked Questions which is available for you to download here:

    https://www.bda.uk.com/professional/practice/iddsi_frequently_asked_questions
    Our care industry colleague and expert social care consultant and trainer Tim Dallinger of Social Care Consultants told us: ‘It seems that almost every time I undertake consultancy work with care providers that I need to make them aware of IDDSI and then train managers and staff.’

    And Tim has shared his expert advice to care managers and providers below so that we can all work together to provide safer services.

    Care providers must take action to ensure that:-

    Care plans refer to IDDSI descriptors
    All staff understand the IDDSI descriptors and how to ensure that food and drink is provided in a safe manner
    All staff recognise the signs of dysphagia and know how to report and record this.
    Advice is sought from specialists (SALT) whenever there is a risk of dysphagia
    Care plans and risk assessments are consistent

    The CQC refer to this issue in their “Learning from safety incidents”- issue 6, this details a case study where a care plan was not updated to reflect the advice of dysphagia specialists leading to choking incidents.

    If you have any questions relating to IDDSI or are coming across challenges implementing the new system and would like further guidance or training then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us as at [email protected] or telephone us on 01773 713713. We have a great network of experts who can help you.

    Here is another article we recently wrote around Dysphagia

    Also you can request your FREE copy of our Dignified Dining Solutions Guide – to help people with a Dementia to eat better, which includes best practice advice and tips to help support your ladies and gents with Dysphagia to enjoy more independent and dignified mealtimes or visit our website to view our range of fit for purpose product solutions to help enable people living with Dysphagia.

  • How to improve nutrition for your residents with Dysphagia and help them to enjoy more dignified mealtimes.

    I would like you to imagine that, following a stroke you are unable to chew or swallow food and drink normally or to safely pass liquid or solid foods from your mouth to your stomach.

    As a result of this, and in order to minimise the risk of you aspirating or choking, you are prescribed a texture modified diet, where your meals have to be pureed down to a smooth, moist and uniform consistency. You become increasingly dependent on carers at mealtimes to assist you, no longer are you able to enjoy dignified, independent eating, which can be both degrading and upsetting.

    You are served your pureed meals either all mixed up in one bowl, where all ingredients have been pureed down together and which look colourless and smell and taste disgusting, (I know as I have tasted this, and it made me cry) or a number of coloured blobs on a plate where the individual foods have been pureed separately, at least, but are unrecognisable and unidentified, therefore you don’t know what you are eating.

    Would you want to be served food that looked like this?

     

    Or one like this? Is it scoops of ice cream?!

    It may take you longer to physically consume your meals, meaning that your food can go cold and unappetising; no one likes to eat food which has gone cold right?

    How would you feel if you, or one of your loved ones, were presented with either of the above meals? Would you want to eat them?

    And if your answer is no, then why would it be considered acceptable to present these meals to people with Dysphagia?

    After all, we all eat with our eyes first.

    You could easily lose your appetite and not want to eat meals presented in this way, resulting in weight loss, depression and anxiety, or fear at mealtimes which can exacerbate malnutrition. Secondary complications could include constipation, poor wound healing, increased susceptibility to infection and impaired muscle function.

    So managing, the ladies and gents you support with Dysphagia and ensuring that they maximise on the correct levels of nutrition and hydration represents a huge challenge to care managers, and their teams, given that these residents are at high risk of being deficient due to consistently having to eat an altered consistency of meals, which can offer less nutritional value, and finding it difficult to tolerate large volumes of fluids.

    And Dysphagia is known to affect between 53%-74% of nursing home residents. It may occur in people who have a Dementia, stroke, motor neurone disease and other neurological conditions

    What are the warning signs and symptoms to look out for?

    • Coughing or choking
    • Watery eyes
    • Changes in eating habits – eating more slowly or avoiding certain foods
    • Frequent throat clearing
    • Difficulty holding food in the mouth and drooling
    • Feeling food is stuck in the throat
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • ‘Wet’ or gurgly voice
    • Recurring chest infections
    • Vomiting or regurgitation

    If you notice any of the above signs it is important to make a referral to SALT (Speech and Language Therapist) for an assessment.

    Our top tips to help you support people with Dysphagia achieve optimal nutrition and hydration

    1 - Oral Hygiene

    • Good oral hygiene is really important as any oral pain can make chewing difficult and uncomfortable.
    • Make sure that dentures are correctly fitted

    2 - Assisting a person at mealtimes

    • Ensure the person is alert and sitting upright before offering food and drink
    • Gently rubbing their cheek or neck may help to prompt them to swallow.
    • If, due to their condition they are slow eaters, consider the use of a ‘Keep Warm Plate’ or bowl to help keep their meals warmer and more palatable for linger.

    3 - Fortification of meals

    A texture-modified diet should ideally meet the recommended daily allowance of energy, protein and micronutrients for a meal. However, due to poor nutrient density, high dilution factor and limited palatability, modified consistency meals are known to result in significant weight loss. In view of difficulties in achieving an adequate nutritional intake from a modified consistency diet alone, food fortification may be necessary.

    • In preference to water, liquids added to pureed/semi-solid foods should have some nutritional value
    • Higher calorific additions such as full fat milk, cream, butter and sauces provide extra protein, energy and calcium

    4 - Meal Presentation

              For people on a pureed diet particularly, meal presentation is as fundamental as the dish itself. We all eat with our eyes and it is common for people with a Dementia to refuse to eat what they can’t recognise.

    It’s so important to ensure that food always look appetising and is attractively presented using colour and contrast on the plate for everyone, regardless of their condition so that no one is isolated or treated differently.

    The clever use of food molds is an increasingly popular tool to help recreates the original shapes of pureed foods as family members and care caterers understand their key benefits:

    • Improved meal presentation and nutrition
    • Increased dignity and enjoyment at mealtimes
    • Greater meal variety
    • Reduced preparation time and wastage

    But don't just take our word for it, read below what a difference it made for one 12 year old little girl and her enjoyment at mealtimes when her Mum started to shape her foods with our range of food molds.

    "My daughter is 12 years old. She has diagnosis' of Down's syndrome, oral dysphagia, autism, sensory processing disorder and food intolerances. I have only been able to give her pureed or mashed food which she was not particularly interested in. She is assisted while eating. The first time she saw her 'food molded' dinner she shouted, "carrots!". The second time she wanted to know what every bit of food was on her plate. This time I had used parsnips in the carrot mold. "What's that, what's that?", she said as she used a fork to scoop up individual pieces of dinner into her mouth with glee. I have neither the time, energy nor interest for 'faffing' about these days so the molds are extremely practical. Easy to clean, easy to fill with food, easy to freeze and the frozen food just pops out. I have made batches of vegetables, meat and fruit, popped them out of the molds and stored them in another container in the freezer to use later. One can use the broccoli mold for cauliflower and sprouts. The pumpkin mold for turnip and sweet potato and as I mentioned earlier parsnip in the carrot mold. But what is most important is that my daughter is beginning to enjoy her meal times and showing greater independence .... because of the molded food. From my experience, the silicon food molds have been a success." - Mrs Dewery, Private Customer

    5 - The use of food thickeners

    Food thickeners are used to thicken liquids and foods to various consistencies, helping to slow the transit of foods and fluids to allow more time to coordinate the swallowing process safely, thus preventing food and fluid entering the lungs and causing serious complications including chest infections and death due to choking or aspirational pneumonia.

    They are added to pureed foods prior to placing in the food molds to help retain the food shape and to create the appealing finish.

    Regular staff training should take place to ensure that the correct volume and amount of thickener is used for both foods and fluids, to ensuring safe and acceptable consumption for the resident.

    6 - Varying the menus.

    The more varied and interesting the menu choices are for residents on pureed diets the greater chance of increased acceptability of foods and nutritional intake.

    7 - Training - a whole team effort

    Where I have witnessed the best success stories for improving mealtime experience for residents with Dysphagia is where the whole team including management, care staff and catering teams have all embraced the concept of ‘why we want to achieve this’ to ensure continued and sustainable improvements.

    We have teamed up with experienced and passionate care industry chef/trainers to bring you a range of training packages to help educate and inspire care teams to deliver better outcomes for the people they support with Dysphagia.

    Please contact us if you would like to learn more details on the training packages available of if you would like to request your FREE copy of our unique and innovative Dignified Dining Solutions Guide designed to help people with a Dementia to eat better.

    At [email protected] or by telephone 01773 713713 today.

    For more information on Dysphagia and how to help those in your care with it you can visit our blog for more articles about this important topic. 

    #dysphagia #nutrition #nutritiontips #nutritioneducation #dignity #safety #carehome #caremanagement #carehomes #care #carelikefamily #passionatepeople

  • How to deliver excellent oral care for your residents in care homes and achieve CQC compliancy.

     

    It is just under 2 years since, the NICE Quality Standard 'Oral Care in Care Homes ‘was published.

    In it are recommendations that residents in care homes have their oral health needs assessed on admission and recorded in their personal care plans, and are supported to clean their teeth twice a day and/or their dentures daily. 

    Why do I want to talk about this and bring it to your attention now?

    Recently, we have heard from both care home customers and CQC inspectors that this is an area of focus for CQC during inspections.

    Continue reading

  • How to bring a lifetime of memories together to improve the wellbeing of ladies and gents living with a Dementia. Think inside the box!

    What are memory boxes and what can they mean to ladies and gents living with a Dementia?

    They hold a lifetime of memories and tell the stories of peoples’ lives.

    They help to find the way home.

    They are a safe place, bringing comfort and calm amidst chaos.

    They give back lost identity and warm feelings of familiarity of the treasured belongings they contain, and evoke memories of happy life moments.

    Continue reading

  • How improving orientation for your residents living with a Dementia can help them to lead safer, more independent, and happier lives. 

    I would like you to imagine for a moment that you find yourself in a new unfamiliar building and you have spent the last ten minutes wandering aimlessly round a series of endless colourless corridors, all looking exactly the same, without any information to signpost you in the right direction. Oh and did I forget to mention, you are bursting to go to the loo!

    A very good example of a bare, unfriendly and frustrating corridor and a much brighter, well signed corridor.

    How do you think this would make you feel? Frustrated? Stressed? Confused?

    But that’s okay because you’re confident and fully mobile, so you can find someone and ask for directions, right?  Wrong! You are also infirm, uncommunicative, dependent, and you didn’t find that toilet in time.

    Can you imagine the indignity and humiliation you would feel?

    If you were living with a Dementia, disorientation and bewilderment could be a common experience for you, and you could feel very distressed and frightened.

    According to the University of Stirling; ‘Many people living with Dementia have had to change where they live by, for example, going to live in a special housing unit or care home.

    They could find it really hard to adjust to a new space, because adjustment needs memory and learning. It needs a capacity to work out where they are and how to behave.

    They might see wavy lines moving, for example, or a change in floor colour as a step. These, combined with sight and hearing impairments can make the world a confusing, hostile and stressful place. No longer can they understand where things are. People can be shown where the toilet is, but next time they need to go, they can’t remember.

    The environment can be made more supportive and enabling with quite simple additions. The first step is to make sure that what is important is highly visible.

    There must be enough light and colour contrast to allow people to see properly.

    Pictorial signs can be very helpful if they are clear, mounted low enough, contain words AND a picture and contrast with the background.

    Signs can be directional with a finger or an arrow showing where to go, or can be on the door of a room.’

    So here are some interesting facts for you:

    Effective Dementia signage, used properly, WILL improve people’s safety and mobility by:
    • Reducing incidents of incontinence
    • Reducing agitation and aggression
    • Reducing slips, trips and falls.

    We know that CQC are focusing on ensuring that care environments support people with a Dementia as discussed in Cracks in the Pathway: Peoples’ experience of dementia care as they move between hospitals and care homes in 2014

    ‘Environment can have a significant impact on someone living with Dementia. It can cause anxiety and confusion, and make it difficult for people to orientate themselves.

    We have seen examples where care homes and hospitals have made improvements to the environment to support good care. These include the use of pictorial signage and photographs to identify bedrooms and bathrooms’

    We also have recent evidence and experience of this, where a care home customer of ours had been deemed to be ‘dementia unfriendly’ by CQC due to a lack of signage to help their residents navigate their way around the building.

    We were able to complete a Dementia Environmental Audit for them, based on industry best practice, and identify and recommend various modifications to their environment, including a selection of high quality, robust and non-reflective dementia enabling signage. These signs also met their infection prevention and fire regulatory standards, and were developed in conjunction with the University of Sterling.

    Investing in this signage system has enabled our customer to achieve:
    • Compliancy with CQC
    • Improved orientation for their residents
    • Increased communication
    • Reduction in slips, trips and falls

    Investing in dementia enabling signage is the most cost-effective, long-term solution for providing reliable, visual orientation aids.

    But how many signs are needed? (Too many can cause more confusion.)
    Where do they need to be located? (There are definite right and wrong places)
    What is the optimum height for recognition? (People with a dementia tend to walk with their heads down).

    If you would like to receive your FREE copy of our Dementia Enabling Signage Essential Checklist email us on [email protected] or call Beckie on 01773 713713

    If you would like more comprehensive advice, Hcsuk can provide this for you too.
    We are offering you a Dementia Enabling Environmental Audit service:

    We will provide an on-site survey of your environment
    • You will receive recommendations and product solutions to improve your environment.
    • You can source all the solutions you need from one company

    Helping you to achieve:
    • Compliancy with CQC
    • Improved orientation for your residents
    • Increased communication
    • Reduction in slips, trips and falls

    If you were living with a Dementia, would your drive for self-determination, dignity and living independently cease? – No, if anything, that desire would increase.

    Good design, good signage and good advice combined, can go a long way towards improving quality of life for us all.

    Could Health Care Services hold the key to enhancing your Dementia enabling environment?

    To find out more about our Dementia Environmental Audit Service please contact Beckie today on 01773 713713 or email her at [email protected]

  • How a few mealtime interventions and lots of tlc has helped Jo's Mum to live longer

    This is a very touching and personal story of how in December 2016, Jo, MD of Hcsuk was told that her Mum had given up on life and had stopped eating, but Jo persevered and has been able to improve her Mum's dining experience to the point that she recently celebrated her 98th birthday. What a fantastic outcome!


     

  • UPDATED! - Eating and drinking independently after a stroke tastes the best!

    May is Stroke Awareness Month and we wanted to share with you an article  we have written specifically to help you to develop greater empathy to support ladies and gents who have survived a stroke to continue to eat  and drink, as best they can independently and with  dignity.

    I would like you to imagine, for a moment, how you would feel if you were suddenly struck down with a stroke - seemingly coming from nowhere in the space of a moment, and with potentially life changing consequences – not just for you who is immediately affected, but also for your loved ones.

    After all, shaky hands, limited movement in your neck and/or potential paralysis down one side of your body, would make it nearly impossible for you to eat and drink independently. And having to have someone assist you with your meals, or face spilling food on a table or yourself, can be embarrassing and have a negative effect on your self-esteem and even lead to you refusing to eat.

    Continue reading

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