News

  • 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.

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  • Save Lives: Clean Hands

    So last week to mark Clean Hands day all of our customers received this pack in the post with a HAND Written message from me, in a hand written envelope containing industry best practice guidance on hand hygiene and a cheeky free sample of personal issue hand sanitiser.

    Why did we do this?

    Because our customers really matter to us, and we want you to feel loved and special. ❤️

    We also want to help you to be the best care home you can be, by sharing our 30 year industry knowledge, latest best practice and fit for purpose product solutions. ?

    Here at Hcsuk we always aim to add value to our customers, because you matter to us. ?

    Please don't under estimate how much partnering with a reputable, knowledgeable, passionate and caring supplier who has invested decades in this industry to understand the challenges you face, can help you to achieve improvements in you care home. 

    3 of our top 10 customers who we have worked with for nearly 30 years have achieved current Outstanding ratings with CQC. ???

    And not forgetting, I have very personal experience, as I help to support my lovely Mum, living with me at home aged 98 with Vascular Dementia.?

    We publish regular blog posts with relevant content. Here's a selection of our latest articles:

    improving oral care a case study 
    Improving infection prevention - mattress decontamination
    Helping your ladies and gents with a dementia to eat better
    Reducing the risk of falls in your care home

    We are aiming to send you something different and exciting every month to arrive on your desk, which we are calling our 'lumpy mail' , which will be topical, relevant or sometimes just a bit of fun!

    If you would like to receive something exciting and different in the post every month give us a call on 01773 713713 or email us on [email protected] to join our tribe and make sure you're following our channels here on Linkedin and the blog to receive relevant regular information to help your care business.  

  • Don’t Pull the Red Cord it’s for the Warden!

    I’m sure many of you will have enjoyed a giggle at this famous Peter Kaye line about his Nan who lives in a warden aided complex with red emergency cords installed both in her kitchen and in her bathroom (which interestingly, Peter describes as being ‘tied up’.)

    Whilst visiting his Nan one day Peter accidently pulls the red emergency cord in the kitchen mistaking it for the ‘big light’ and his Nan shouts at him, “Don’t pull the red cord, it’s for the Warden!”. Peter then proceeds to smooth over the situation with Dougie, the warden, who is 14 miles away doing a word search!

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  • Save Lives: Clean your Hands!

    Did you know that May 5th is the World Health Organisation’s global call to action for workers in healthcare : Save Lives: Clean your hands!? 

    So we wanted share with you the very latest practical advice for hand hygiene taken from the British Healthcare Trades Association’s new Get Wise to Hand Hygiene publication, which our MD Jo Bonser has been involved in putting together, as part of a team of infection prevention industry experts. 

    You can read the complete Get Wise to Hand Hygiene document by clicking on the link below: 

    http://bhta.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/GW-HH-v8.pdf 

    Jo told us, ‘hand hygiene is widely acknowledged to be the single most important activity that reduces the spread of infection and I am passionate about promoting best practice in this area, including advising on correct techniques and fit for purpose product solutions’ 

    There are four key stages to quality hand hygiene: 

    Hand cleansing 

    Hand sanitising 

    Hand drying 

    Hand moisturising/rebalancing 

     So we thought we would highlight one of the lesser known interesting and sometimes shocking facts about each stage of hand hygiene for you: 

    1.Hand cleansing

    If you are still using refillable or bulk fill  soap dispensers  you could be washing your hands with contaminated soap.  

     These dispensers are a breeding ground for bacteria and are often inadequately cleaned. Once the lid is removed and refilled with soap, airborne germs and bacteria can enter the reservoir and contaminate the soap, leaving your hands with up to 25 TIMESMORE BACTERIA ON after washing.  

     There are typically more bacteria in a bulk filled soap dispenser than in a toilet in the same bathroom, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns do not add soap to a partially empty soap dispenser as this practice can lead to bacterial contamination of the soap. 

    The safe alternative to bulk fill dispensers are hygienically sealed cartridge systems which are ultrasonically airtight being free from complete air and gases for maximum hygiene. 

     http://hcsuk.co.uk/housekeeping/hand-hygiene/soap 

    2. Hand sanitising 

    Alcohol based sanitisers must contain at least 60% alcohol as the active ingredient to achieve effective disinfection. 

    Handsanitising can be a very good substitute for washing hands, providing hands are visibly clean. It will not remove any dirt, contamination or soiling from the hands, ie faeces or secretions, or during outbreaks of Norovirus or C diff. 

    In these instances washing hands with mild soap and water is necessary. 

    http://hcsuk.co.uk/housekeeping/hand-hygiene/sanitiser 

     3. Hand drying 

    ‘We often say that hand washing is the key to preventing the spread of illnesses, but wet hands increase the risk of transmitting bacteria, so drying is an equally important step in prevention’ says urgent care specialist Theresa Lash Ritter MD 

    Lots of research has focussed on hand drying techniques. In one study, microbiologists compared jet air dryers with warm air dryers and paper towels. What they found was disturbing: 

    • Jet air dryers dispersed 20 times more viruses than warm air dryers and over 190 times more than paper towels. 
    • Drying your hands with absorbent paper towels not only dries them faster but the friction also dislodges bacteria to leave them cleaner. 

     http://hcsuk.co.uk/housekeeping/hand-hygiene/hand-drying 

    4. Hand moisturising/rebalancing. 

    Good skin condition is a really important element in ensuring good hand hygiene practice, and moisturising is the most important step in maintaining healthy skin condition by keeping skin soft and supple and avoiding dryness, soreness and cracking,which in turn can harbour potentially harmful bacteria, especially when hands are frequently washed. 

    http://hcsuk.co.uk/housekeeping/hand-hygiene/moisturiser 

    If you would like any additional information on any of these topics, here’s that link again to read the complete Get Wise to Hand Hygiene document: 

     http://bhta.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/GW-HH-v8.pdf 

    If you have any concerns about your existing hand hygiene provision and would like some expert help and advice to help you improve your practices, here are the ways we can help you: 

    • A hand hygiene audit service 
    • A tailored hand hygiene programme for your care home needs 
    • Bespoke dispensers unique to you 
    • World leading skin friendly products 
    • Cost advantage 
    • Free education and training materials to support compliance 
    • Expert knowledge and support 

     Call us TODAY, we’d love to help you .................. it’s in your hands!  

    01773 713713 or email us [email protected] 

     

  • Discover which 5 positive outcomes for loved ones help shape Hcsuk.

    In this very short video Jo talks about how having her own Mum at home aged 98, living with vascular dementia helps her to shape the business with real empathy.

  • Are you that special, wear your heart on your sleeve kind of person we’re looking for?

    Do you feel passionate about helping to improve the quality of peoples’ lives?

    Do you currently, or have you had experience of working in a care environment?

    Can you empathise with the challenges care providers and managers face striving to deliver the best possible outcomes for the ladies and gents they support whilst working towards improving compliance and CQC ratings?

    Do you also possess effective sales skills to help generate growth in revenue and profitability for your organisation?

    Are you looking for a new, exciting and unique challenge and are based in or around the East Midlands area?

    If you can answer yes to these questions, then we have a highly rewarding customer focused role for you.
    Continue reading

  • I’m back! A BIG thank you, and some exciting news on Hcsuk’s future

    Hello friends,

    I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your warm wishes for my recovery and notes to say that you’ve missed me, and to let you all know that I’m now back! (Just like The Terminator!)

    After a very hectic few years, where I have been extremely ‘hands on’ in the business, I took some much needed time out for some “R and R” for me, which has given me time to reflect on both my needs and the needs of the business moving forward. It also gave me time to cook, decorate, garden, learn to arrange flowers and join a choir!

    Continue reading

  • A Dementia Friendly Pantomime Experience? Oh Yes You can!

    Ever since I was a little girl, I remember that my Mum loved everything about the pantomime.

    And frankly, why not?  According to the Oxford dictionary ‘a panto is funny and has something for the girls – a love story, and something for the boys – a duel fight with swords.’  Add in a measure of slapstick comedy, some music and dancing and you have the perfect recipe for some good old fashioned entertainment which can be enjoyed by all generations.

    Mum always fancied herself in the traditional role of the principle boy, where a lady would don a short jacket,  long over the thigh length boots and engage in plenty of  thigh slapping – and she definitely had the legs for it!

    So there was always an annual seasonal trip to the panto clearly marked in our family social calendar, and was eagerly anticipated by us all. From an early age, like my Mum, I absolutely adored the brightly coloured sparkly costumes, the singing and dance routines, joining in with all of the audience participation, (oh yes I did!), not forgetting, of course, the good old pantomime dame, “cos there ain’t nothing like a dame"!

    I can even remember one year being one of the ‘boys and girls’ invited to go up on stage and singing Rupert the Bear along with the cast!

    Fast forward to my teenage years and Dad was in the local rotary club and once a year, my Mum and I would help him and his fellow Rotarians to take  a coach party of elderly pensioners to the pantomime.

    When Ashleigh and Joseph came along, (my children) Mum couldn’t wait to introduce her grandchildren to her beloved panto and would treat us all to tickets to see the latest show at the Nottingham Playhouse. We chose there over the bigger and grander Theatre Royal in Nottingham which attracted the celebrity cast, preferring the lower key locally written performance by Kenneth Alan Taylor, who generally also starred in the production as Widow Twankey or another such pantomime dame.

    These trips created a special bond between the three generations of our family and the kids would insist on taking Granny to Macdonald’s afterwards for a happy meal of chicken nuggets and fries, a whole new experience for her!

    Sadly the day came when, due to Mum’s failing mobility, coupled with her fear of heights and steps, she resigned herself to the fact that she would no longer be able to join us on our annual outing. However not wanting to deprive us of our annual treat, Mum insisted on continuing to pay for me to take the children without her. So we hit on a happy compromise and would call at Macdonald’s after the performance and take a happy meal for us all back to her house with a programme of the play. Mum would love to hear from the children all about the performance.

    One of the saddest things about growing old, I believe, is facing the realization that you are no longer able to manage to do the things you used to love to do, and the prospect that you have done something for the last time. I can only imagine how that would have affected Mum, to know that she would probably never get to see another live pantomime during her lifetime.

    Mum is now 97 and three quarters, (and will be 98 on March 8th) and is currently being supported at home with Vascular Dementia.

    Now my kids are grown up too and so it was a particular treat to be invited to visit the panto this Christmas with Ashleigh, along with my step daughter Anna and her two children Harlow and Austin, to see Robin Hood and The Babes in the Wood. To see their little faces light up and how much they enjoyed it really brought home to me how much pleasure my Mum must have got from watching us all. Another 3 generations enjoying the panto together, the family tradition lives on, happily.

    The stage is set!

    During the interval, Ashleigh pointed out to me a leaflet which was in her programme, advertising a dementia friendly performance of the pantomime.

    This idea really sparked my interest and it got me thinking about the possibilities. What if this adapted performance enabled me to take Mum to enjoy just one more pantomime show?

    The following morning I rang the theatre to find out more about what was special about a dementia friendly performance. The young girl on the phone was extremely helpful and explained:

    • they reduce the music volume when dialogue is taking place,
    • they have a relaxed attitude to people changing seats during the performance
    • and even to people leaving and reentering whilst the performance is on
    • as it isn’t a schools performance, the audience is quieter
    • there is additional signage with pictures in the foyer
    • there is a quiet room for those who need it, before, during and after the performance
    • there are additional support staff to help

    Overall they describe it as a much more relaxed attitude towards noise and movement during the performance.

    I was quite nervous about the prospect of this big  trip out, so I decided to ask Mum if she would like  to go, and when I did, her face told me everything I needed to know. She broke out in the biggest, beaming smile I’d seen from her in a long time.  So, from then on it just has to be done, there was no turning back and the tickets were booked that same day. Although Mum can’t remember what time of day it is or which meal she’s recently eaten, she remembered and KNEW that we were going to the pantomime on Thursday January 17th 2019 for a matinee performance. She kept referring back to it, and telling everyone, ‘I'm going to the pantomime you know’ so I knew how much it meant it to her to be going.

    The day dawned, and Mum was dressed up and ready to go in her Sunday, complete with new hair do, lipstick and her pearls. On arrival, we were welcomed by a smiling male member of the Playhouse team who took complete care of us from that moment, organising programmes, (including a specially adapted programme), and the obligatory bag of Maltesers and who then personally escorted us to our seats. The auditorium was roughly three quarters full with many ladies and gents, some of whom had come with their spouses and others in parties from care homes and local societies. It was such a pleasure to see a great turn out and to know that so many were going to be able to enjoy this experience.

    Mamma Whitty and some of the cast of the pantomime

    There was a good ratio of staff around to be of assistance throughout the performance, all dressed in yellow T shirts for instant visibility,  and Mum soon got into the spirit of the performance - joining in, singing along to ‘Underneath the Spreading Chestnut Tree’  together with the actions, and booing the baddie, ‘Oh no! Not the Sheriff of Nottingham!' when prompted. I could see how it took her right back and was a great experience for her.

    At the end of the show, the performers all came out into the audience, chatting and posing for photos. They were fantastic and couldn’t have been kinder and more patient. Robin Hood himself came over to talk to Mum. She was fascinated by his costume asking if she could feel the sequins on his jacket. I asked if Mum would like her photo taken with Robin and before I knew it, he had gathered several other cast members around him and we were able to snap an amazing pictorial memento of the occasion, with Mum surrounded by a mass of colorful and sparkling and beaming smiles. A fantastic experience overall. Mum did take Robin into her confidence and told him that she had actually starred in the previous year’s performance, (wishful thinking I believe!) and that she was there on that day in her official capacity escorting 70 elderly people to watch the performance!  Being there had obviously evoked some powerful memories for her!

    I have given Nottingham Playhouse a 5 star rating for doing a fantastic job to enable so many ladies and gents to enjoy the panto that day. Since then, I have learnt that they offer relaxed and dementia friendly performances of all the plays they stage. We have already talked about the fact that we may well return. As Mum’s carer, I get to go for free, what’s not to love about that?! I will happily continue to be Mum’s theatre buddy.

    Bookings are already being taken for Sleeping Beauty for Christmas 2019, and God willing, we will definitely be going back!

    For more information on dementia friendly performances and familiarisation visits plus any questions - you can email [email protected]  or you can call the box office  on 01159 419419 at the Nottingham Playhouse.
     

  • Meet Mukesh and All the Latest from Health Care Services HQ!

    We do hope that you and all those in your care are well and looking forward to spring now the days are a little lighter and brighter. Today we wanted to share a few pieces of news from Hcsuk HQ.

    Meet Mukesh!

    Mukesh Dhunna is our new Sales Manager, he is busy out and about coming to meet a lot of you over the next few weeks and months. Mukesh comes with a wealth of experience helping clients find the products that are right for them. He has a particular interest in skin care, so please feel free to ask him your questions and we will all work together to help you find the perfect solutions for those in your care.

    Here's Mukesh with your delivery driver Pete, more about Pete later!

    Pete and Mukesh out and about recently!

    Technology in Healthcare

    If you've been keeping an eye on the latest healthcare news then you will probably have heard about the Topol Review, Preparing the Healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future. Technology is already part of how we care for our residents, with wearable devices which are used to alert help when someone falls, to pressure sensors in beds and even the digital thermometer! There will be more technology to come and we are excited to see how it can enable carers, care managers, and the care homes in which residents live to provide better levels of care and quality of life. We will be watching!

     

    And finally today ...

    If you haven't met Pete (he's in the picture above) yet but you plan on visiting us at HQ in the near future, we recommend you come on a Friday. Pete is very conscientious and cleans his van every Friday, so that he knows on Monday morning, he is all ready to go and his van is a sparkling representation of the company.

    As one lucky visitor found out recently, if you happen to park in just the right spot on a Friday, Pete will even give your car a little wash and pamper too. What a superstar!

     

    That's it for now but we will be in touch soon with more news from Hcs HQ! Remember we are here to answer any questions and queries you may have on 01773 713713 and the website with a huge range of products solutions is at www.hcsuk.co.uk 

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