Thanks

  • 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.
     

  • Something Special For You - Act Now!

    Are you looking to place an order this week? Is it going to be over £75? Would you like the chance to win £100 worth of jewellery vouchers?

    As a little treat, and a small thank you, we're offering 11 customers who order between now and 3pm on Friday 16th November, the chance to win 1 of 11 vouchers worth between £25 and £100!

    Order now for your chance to win up to £100 in jewellery vouchers!

    All you have to do is order over £75 worth of products on the website between now and 3pm on Friday 16th November! Simples!

    Winners will be drawn early next week and winners notified the same day so we can get your vouchers to you in time for the festive season, so you can either use them for gift purhcaes or buy yourself a little something to sparkle in over the party season.

    So hop over to hcsuk.co.uk now and place your order! 

     

    Website orders only placed before 3pm on Friday 16th November 2018

    T&Cs apply

  • So long, farewell, auf wiedersen, goodbye!

    Today sees the end of an era for Health Care Services, as we say good bye and ‘bon voyage’ to the founder of our business, Michael Bonser as Michael is retiring after 29 years of being associated with and working in the Company.

    He first started the business in 1989, quite by chance, when he saw an opportunity. At the time he was running a company offering a baby nappy delivery service to local new mums, and one day a nursing home rang and asked him if he could supply them with adult style incontinence products.

    Michael instinctively said, “Yes, of course we can”; he saw a customer with a need and he wanted to help them fulfil it. At this stage he hadn’t any experience of working with adult incontinence products, but he made sure that he went out and found out and was able to fulfil the order and then thought who else might need these products? So, he started to contact other local nursing homes and care homes and that is how the business began as he started to supply more care homes in and around the area.

    Michael, who retires today from Hcsuk.

    As Michael continued to visit his care home customers, they would to ask him, “Can you also supply me with other products, gloves, pressure relieving mattresses, (known as ‘spencos’ at that time!) and beds?” And each time Michael would say yes, and he would go away, do his research, find suppliers and come back equipped and able to give his customer the solution that they were looking for.

    That was nearly 30 years ago, and the business has gone from strength to strength, adding on a retail division, Health Care Mobility, to help people remain living at home independently with aids for daily living. Michael was also instrumental in the launch of our Health Care Servicing division where field service engineers go out to service, repair and maintain essential equipment in care homes to help residents stay safe and care home providers complying with all of the relevant legislation including LOLER and PUWER. And we still maintain the same values which Michael instilled in the business all those years ago.

    Due to the wide experience he has gained working in various departments of the business, Michael has been a great asset to the team because of his ability and flexibility to switch between different roles as and when needed, including sales, distribution, warehouse and servicing.

    Michael set the standards of high levels of customer care from the outset, which have remained throughout, are now embedded throughout the team to this day. His attention to detail, coupled with his cheeky style and unfailing sense of humour, has enabled him to build some great long and lasting relationships with many customers over the years. Some of which we are fortunate to still provide services to, nearly 30 years on.

    We are extremely grateful to him, for giving life to Hcsuk so many years ago and we all wish him well as he and his wife Debbie, embark on new adventures. Please do share your memories of Michael with us.

  • Walking (or running) the Talk - How hcsuk colleagues raised funds for charity

    You may have spotted in the past that here at Hcsuk, we're a smidge dedicated and passionate about helping people live with dignity. Led by Jo's fire and drive, the rest of the team are just as active in promoting that level of care, even to the point of dedicating personal time to it.
     
    Recently, Rachel and Lisa from the office helped their friend Karen on her running journey and to raise funds, Jo, then made a donation too on behalf of Hcsuk allowing Karen to raise a total of £1360 for The Alzheimer's Society.
     
    Rachel tells us a bit more about why this was so important to her and Lisa -
     
    "Karen and I started running together, Karen had never run before but had set herself a series of challenges to raise funds for the Alzheimers Society. Karen's parents were both very ill and this was her driving force, she set herself the challenge of running a 5k race, a 10k race and jumping out of an airplane!
    On the day of the 10k race, Karen received news that her father had passed away and so was unable to make the race. The rest of us ran it as a group for her and a few weeks later, ran the whole route again with her for her to collect her sponsorship money.
    In the end, Karen was able to beat her fundraising target, smashing it and raising triple the original goal.
    We're happy we were able to support Karen on this journey and we know that the money raised will go to a great cause. Well done Karen!"
     
    Well done to all the team! What a superb effort and demonstration of walking your talk. Below you can see the thank you note from Karen with details of the amount raised and her journey and the group image with Karen in the middle and Lisa, then Rachel to the right of her on the picture.
    Karen's Thank You Note
    Karen in the centre with Lisa 2nd from right and Rachel 1st on the right.
  • A Trip Down Memory Lane

    A recent visit to this care home, following a call from a longstanding industry colleague of mine, needing an urgent solution for an ‘at risk’ resident prone to having convulsions, took me right back to my early days in the business.
     
    Way back then, we didn’t have the luxury of dedicated delivery drivers at Hcsuk and I remember clearly how I would don my business suit and heels for a meeting with Julian, who was then the proprietor at Tynefield Court. These guys were one of our first customers, and Julian liked a regular visit during which I would take his monthly consumables order for the supplies he needed for his care home.

    Continue reading

  • Care is at the Core of Everything we do.

    Last week we showed you the short feedback cards we've been asking customers to fill in and we're delighted to share our April Customer Experience prize draw winner with you!

    Continue reading

  • Thank You Lisa!

    It’s not every day you get to acknowledge a colleague completing 20 years service within your organisation, and yet I had the pleasure and the honour of doing just that last Friday, St Patrick’s Day. Lisa Slater, our Operations and Finance Manager, and definitely my right hand woman in the business, started her career at HCSUK on 17th March 1997, as our Internal Sales Support, then Miss Lisa Broughton.

    Continue reading

8 Item(s)