HCS - Latest News

  • How to ensure that every mouthful of food stays hot, delicious and enjoyable for the people you support who eat slowly.

    Do you know anyone who enjoys eating food that’s gone cold?

    What would you do if your food was served cold? You would send it back if you were in a restaurant or reheat it if you were at home. If it was really cold you might lose your appetite and give up on the idea of eating it at all.

    What if, due to a physical or cognitive condition, it takes you longer to eat your meals?

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  • Living with Dementia, where does love end and duty begin? Or does it?

    There was not a dry eye in the house when I saw a recent staging of Brian Daniels play Don’t Leave Me Now, which explores the impact of early onset Dementia and family life.

    Brian’s inspiration for writing this came from two families he met, both of whom were caring for and supporting loved ones living with a Dementia in their own homes, and he tells the stories of their journeys with both insight and humour.

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  • Jo is reunited with an old friend ...

    Delighted to be reunited once more with Chas the bear, team mascot for the Care Home Advisory Service in Derbyshire (CHAS) at their recent Create to Innovate Ideathon.

    I first met Chas over a year ago at one of the CHAS’s Going for Gold in Dementia Care events and I’m pleased to say he is still sporting his purple Hcsuk nurse bug!

    Gave me a warm and fluffy feeling :)

    Happy Friday! - Jo

    Jo and Chas getting cuddly. Jo and Chas getting cuddly.
  • Hcsuk MD, Jo Bonser, joins an experts panel ... and wears fluffy pink too

    I was both delighted and honoured to have been invited to dress up in pink fluffy things and to join the ‘Expert’ panel at the Derbyshire Community Health Service’s first Ideathon, organised by the Care Home Advisory Service and designed to get groups of care professionals together to focus on identifying great new ideas to support improved delivery of care in care homes.

    The teams then get to pitch their innovations to a team of ‘dragons’, (ahh that’s why they asked me!) who have to choose the overall winner with the best idea.
    Keep checking in for more details on the winning team!

    Jo showing that care work can be fun as well as life changing.
  • Helping Care Homes to Deliver Excellent Oral Care to the People They Support

    On September 20th we held our first CPD accredited seminar which focussed on providing great oral care for elderly and vulnerable residents in care homes and also to enable care homes to become compliant with the new CQC quality standards in oral care.

    All of our delegates learnt how to take a person centred approach to better assess and manage oral care for the people they support, gained knowledge about the latest innovative and fit for purpose product solutions to use (and more importantly which products to avoid) and they also got the chance to practice on each other, even our MD Jo didn’t escape without being a guinea pig!

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  • Hcsuk Team Members become Disability Confident

    On Wednesday 13th September, Hcsuk team members Jo, Beckie and Phil attended a Disability Confident Course hosted by the Warrington Disability Partnership in conjunction with the British Healthcare Trades Association.

    The course has been designed, by people who themselves have disabilities, to help people working within the care industry, to consider the barriers faced by disabled people, gain a better understanding of the term ‘disability’ and most importantly to increase ‘disability confidence’ and to see a person first, not just their disability.

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  • Meet Your New Field Service Engineer - Phil!

    We would like to officially welcome, Phil Cotton, our new field service engineer, to our team, and also to introduce him to you. Phil joins us with 3 years experience in the mobility industry and has already helped to make changes in the business with his thorough and helpful approach. Phil has also been one of the first members of the team to complete the Disability Confidence Course, run in conjunction with the Warrington Disability Partnership, (more on that in another post!)

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  • Our top coping strategies to help improve oral care for your residents with a Dementia

    Our top 10 coping strategies to help you to improve oral care for your residents with a Dementia

    One of the biggest challenges we know you face, because it is one of the most frequently asked questions we get asked regarding oral care is:

    How can I deliver more effective oral care for my residents with a Dementia?

    It is fact that your residents with a Dementia are most likely to present your care staff with the greatest challenges regarding delivering effective oral care, as they are more likely to resist tooth brushing. This is often a response to fear or a previous bad experience.

    And with the number of people with a Dementia who have their own teeth expected to rise significantly, if oral care is not carried out, a vicious circle of pain and discomfort, leading to increased resistance becomes likely.

    Those people who have advanced Dementia may not be able to verbally communicate pain and discomfort in their mouths, and this may manifest itself in other ways such as crying, pulling or hitting their faces, hitting out at care staff or being very passive.

    To compound this, many carers have little or no experience of training in delivering good oral care and there is a lack of good quality, safe and fit for propose oral care product solutions available on the market.

    If you would like to learn more to enhance the oral care in your care home, get CQC ready for the new oral care quality standards, and demonstrate that your home is effective and responsive to CQC, join us at our latest event:

    Our first CPD accredited training seminar:

    ‘How to achieve CQC compliancy in oral care for adults in care homes’

    Please click on the link to learn more and book your place at this popular event

    The important thing to remember is that as with all other aspects of care, there is no standard one size fits all solution.

    A good oral health plan, in 3 stages, should be created for each resident which is specific to their own individual needs.

    Stage 1

    On admission a risk assessment should be completed to ascertain the oral health needs of your resident.

    Stage 2

    A care plan should be created from the findings of the risk assessment.

    Stage 3

    The care plan should be followed and documented at regular intervals dependant on the findings of the risk assessment and both should be reviewed at least every 12 months.

    Always encourage independent brushing where possible

    Always try to encourage your residents to brush their teeth for themselves for as long as they are able to do so, to promote their independence and dignity for as long as possible.

    Sometimes, residents will forget that they need to brush their teeth, and a reminder to brush is all that is needed.

    Some residents may be able to brush their teeth, when prompted, with some assistance. Try using the Chaining or the Bridging methods to help support your resident to brush their teeth themselves.

    The Chaining Method – Place your hand over your resident’s hand and guide them as they brush.

    The Bridging Method – Standing in front of the resident, brush your own teeth so that they can copy and follow your actions.

    For residents who are non compliant with tooth brushing.

    If you have residents who refuse to brush or have their teeth brushed, try to understand this behaviour as a sign of distress rather than thinking that the resident is choosing to be aggressive and uncooperative. Remember, this is often a response to fear or a previous bad experience.

    We do need to respect peoples’ decision should they decline from wanting their teeth brushed, however,  it is important to remember that oral hygiene is part of personal care and that brushing is not just dismissed because your resident has declined to have their teeth brushed at that time and in that place.

    Think about how you would feel if you weren’t able brush your teeth for 2 weeks.

    Remember do unto others ................ if you clean your teeth twice a day with a brush and paste, then that’s the minimum attention you should give your resident.

    Then think about how you would feel if you were reliant upon someone else to brush your teeth for you.

    • Be flexible - try prompting oral care at different times of the day and in a place where your resident feels comfortable, it doesn’t have to be in the bathroom!
    • Review the tools and products being used, are they appropriate for your resident? Look at the size of toothbrush head and strength of bristles, too big? Too hard?  Small, soft headed toothbrushes are recommended, such as our Tepe Special Compact Toothbrush.
    • Use an SLS free (non-foaming) toothpaste,  this has a tremendous benefit to your residents who have to have mouth care delivered by a carer as it will greatly reduce the risk and fear of aspiration and also take away any potential choking and gagging risk. It also allows carers to see if there are any problems in the mouth.
    • It is important NOT to wet the tooth brush as this will avoid unnecessary liquid in the mouth, and only use a pea size amount of paste, as, again, this will greatly reduce the risk and fear of aspiration and also take away any potential choking and gagging risk.
    • Always approach your resident to assist them with their oral care either from the side or at the front of them and always at their level. Try using the Chaining or the Bridging methods to help support your resident to brush their teeth them selves
    • Talk to your resident calmly and kindly, and tell them what you are doing throughout the care to help build their trust and confidence.
    • Consider also, carer preference, if there is a particular carer that your resident enjoys a good rapport with, there will most likely be able to achieve a more positive outcome.
    • Think about introducing a system of brushing, eg always start brushing from left to right so that you can monitor which teeth have been brushed if you have to split mouth care into short bursts.
    • Record oral care in care plans including refusal, so that it is documented that you have attempted to deliver that care, but it is your residents’ choice not to have it.
    • Remember that any changes in oral care that are currently being delivered need to be managed in small steps to allow your resident to get used to new ways. Small introductions of change will enable you to gauge how well things are working and how well your resident is responding to and is compliant with new introductions, workings and tools.

    And finally and above all, always remember that you are dealing with one of the most intimate areas of your resident’s body which is used for lots of lovely things, eating, talking and kissing.

    When delivering oral care - ‘Look beyond the illness and reach out to the person who needs to feel secure, respected and cherished’.

    To learn more about oral care and Dementia as well as other highly dependent and medically compromised residents, and to get QCQ ready for the new oral care quality standards for adults in care homes,  book your places today and join us at our CPD accredited seminar:

    ‘How to achieve CQC compliancy in oral care for adults in care homes’

    Please click on the link for full details of the event, which is certificated.

  • 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.
  • How improving oral care can lead to more kisses - case study

    How improving oral care has led to more kisses for one care home resident! XX

    Here at Hcsuk, we believe that one of the main barriers that prevent residents in care homes from receiving good and effective mouth care is a lack of availability of fit for purpose tools or products.  We wanted to demonstrate that by introducing appropriate oral care products, significant improvements to peoples’ mouth care and overall health and well being can be achieved and can lead to more love and kisses to!


    We conducted a  trial with Mr A who lives in a care home in Leicester with Advanced Parkinson’s Disease,  with no swallow reflex and who is on a peg feed and is nil by mouth.

    I met with Mr A to introduce myself and to ask him how we could help him, and he told me that all he wanted was to have a fresh feeling mouth, something that most of us take for granted, I’m sure.

    Mr A’s mouth care was described as very poor by staff, as Mr A was not able to open his mouth very well and therefore access to his mouth to deliver effective oral care was limited, plus the staff were frightened of Mr A swallowing or aspirating on the oral care products which were in use.

    Mr A had severe halitosis and a substantial build up of debris on his tongue as a result of intermittent cleaning results

    Mr A had his own teeth and didn’t have any particular issues with these at the time of the trial

    The oral care regime that was in place when I met with Mr A:

    Brushing twice a day with a normal toothbrush (large head) and standard toothpaste. This was intermittent due to the staff’s lack of confidence in the products and the risk of aspiration. Also, despite Mr A’s halitosis, staff would not use a mouth wash for additional fear of aspiration.

    Our recommendations and rationale:

    We know that a toothbrush used properly is the only tool that will successfully remove bacterial plaque from the teeth and mouth.

    For tooth brushing - we selected our Tepe Special Care Compact Toothbrush as it is very gentle with 12,000 extremely soft filaments and a small head which is more effective at reaching all parts of the mouth. This soft toothbrush was perfect for Mr A as it is recommended for patients with swelling and difficulty opening their mouths and its sturdy, ergonomically designed handle provides a comfortable and secure grip and can easily be angled for better access to all areas of the mouth.

    Toothpaste – As Mr A was at risk of aspiration we recommended our Oralieve Mild Mint SLS free Non Foaming Toothpaste.  Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is the ingredient added to many toothpastes that makes them foam. This can have a drying effect on the oral tissues and therefore should be avoided in residents who already have a dry mouth. Similarly, for those patients at risk of aspirating, a SLS free toothpaste could also be beneficial so as to reduce this risk as far as possible. We recommend that care homes provide non-foaming toothpastes (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) free) for patients with a dry mouth or patients who are at risk of aspirating.

    Providing dry mouth care - Dry mouth moisturising products provide long lasting relief for a severe dry mouth and can be used to soften dried secretions so that they can be removed more readily. There are different products available including gels, sprays and mouth rinses. We recommended Oralieve Moisturising Dry Mouth Gel which can be massaged into all areas of the mouth (cheeks, palate, tongue) in conjunction with an Mc3 (formerly MouthEze) oral cleanser before meals, to help with eating or before tooth brushing for very sore mouths. Dry mouth gel can be mixed with a couple of drops of water to make it more palatable to patients.

    MC3 (formerly Moutheze oral cleansers) - provide gentle mouth cleansing without the choke or aspirating hazard of sponge swabs or the awkwardness of toothbrushes and also for the application of dry mouth products. We recommended this for Mr A to clean the soft tissues of his mouth and remove food debris and tenacious dried saliva.

    The clinical results

    The introduction of the Tepe small, soft headed toothbrush with angled head and the SLS free non foaming toothpaste, resulted in the staff being able to deliver regular mouth care with confidence that the risk of aspiration was minimal and being able to access all areas of Mr A’s mouth for cleaning, easily and thoroughly.

    As Mr A had a significant build up of dried secretions in his mouth and particularly on his tongue, the use of the dry mouth gel coupled with the MC3 (Moutheze oral cleanser) enabled the staff over a period of time to work on reducing the build up and to restore Mr A’s tongue to a pink and healthy state.

    The nurses commented that the dry mouth gel has been really successful for lubricating Mr A’s dry lips and mouth and they have found the mouth area cleaner with less coating.

    The carers’ have found that Mr A’s breath is much fresher and he is communicating more as his mouth is not so dry.

    The social results

    I went to visit Mr A a month after the trial began and he was a different person to the man I first met. He was much more confident and socialising more as a result of using the products and he told me that his mouth felt much fresher and cleaner and that it didn’t feel so dry.

    Mr A’s wife visits every day and she has found that his breath seems much fresher especially when talking and he no longer has any signs of the bad breath he was suffering in the past.  As a couple they are now able to be much more physically close and are kissing as a result of his improved oral hygiene.

    Mr A and I exchanged a high five!

    If you are interested in how you can improve oral care standards in your care home to meet the new CQC Quality Standard in oral care and demonstrates that your service is effective and responsive, we are running a course on Wednesday September 20th at Jury’s Inn, East Midlands Airport:

    How to achieve CQC compliancy in oral care for adults in care homes

    For more details and how to book, please visit our event page at



    You can also watch the video of Jo talking about Mr A below



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