HCS - Latest News

  • A Valentines day question for you.... How important is trust in your business relationships? (and how to avoid the pitfalls of trading with unscrupulous healthcare suppliers.)

    I recently visited a care home customer who was very excited to be taking delivery of 2 brand new reclining tilt in space chairs. They had purchased them at a ‘fantastic price!’ couldn’t believe their luck, a company had emailed a very ‘special offer’ The chairs were described as 'particularly well suited to users who are seated for long periods of time and at risk of developing pressure ulcers', and included a high risk cushion making it a very comfortable all day solution for use both at home and also in nursing homes.

    You know what they say about when something appears to be too good to be true ............?

    So we decided to undertake some market research of our own, regarding this ‘special offer’, and it quickly became very apparent that it was just too good to be true. It turned out that the customer had paid for a high risk chair but received a medium risk inferior version.
    They did manage to extract a £300 refund from the company, but that is not the point!
    This kind of miss selling could seriously compromise the health and wellbeing of our elderly and vulnerable loved ones. I have wondered how many other residents in care homes skin integrity is being jeopardised as a result of this unscrupulous company who clearly either have little knowledge of the potential gravity of their business practices, of simply are putting sales and profit above values, ethics and morals.
    As companies within the healthcare sector, I believe that we have a moral obligation to do what is right by our clients, and to demonstrate integrity and ethics in the way in which we conduct business.

    So how do you know who you can trust, when sourcing vital healthcare equipment?

    As a business who has worked in the care sector for over 25 years, passionate about enabling people to live independently, safely and with dignity, we made a decision several years ago to join The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), the UK's oldest and largest healthcare association, founded in 1917.
    The BHTA has almost 500 company members, employing over 17,000 people – making or selling healthcare and assistive technology products that help people live more independently.
    We became part of this association so we could clearly demonstrate through their Chartered Trading Standards Institute approved Code of Practice which,as a member, we sign up to, that we take our business seriously. We give our commitment to high levels of customer care that go above and beyond our legal obligations, giving customers confidence, and building relationships based on trust and adding value.

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    So how will you benefit from working with BHTA member companies like us?

    For members of the Public - Wherever you see the BHTA logo, you know you’re dealing with a company you can trust. You’ll get clear information about your rights, receive a high standard of customer service and have access to an independent complaints process. If you're looking for an approved supplier who can assess your needs and help you to choose the right product or service
    For Care Professionals - When you’re working with a client to maintain their independence, you want to know the products and services they’re using are right for them. BHTA members follow strict guidelines on customer care and won’t sell anything that doesn’t meet customers’ needs.
    For Trade Customers - Working with BHTA member companies will ensure you receive the very best customer service consistently.
    If you are looking to work with a supplier or retailer to maintain a client's independence, then contacting a company that is a BHTA member is the first step to ensuring that the company you build a relationship with is aiming for the highest possible standards in everything that they do.
    Look out for these logos

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    I would like to leave you with a favourite saying of mine by John Ruskin, a leading art critic and prominent social thinker of the Victorian era.
    'It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."

  • What actions have you taken to prepare for winter bug season? (and our helpful tips on how to survive it)

    Welcome to winter bug season! The months of December through to March are regarded as peak winter bug months, with seasonal flu and Norovirus being the most common forms.

    The potential costs associated with an outbreak of infection within a care home are significant, mainly due to healthcare costs (money spent to treat complications) and lost productivity (people not being able to work because they are sick). However it has been proven by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases that ‘ increased hand hygiene, the use of suitable PPE and increased disinfection practices, are the most cost-saving interventions for the prevention, control and containment of an outbreak.’

    So how well are you prepared, today, right now, if you were to have an outbreak? And do you know exactly what you need to do in the event of an outbreak?

    Here are 4 ways that Hcsuk are here to help you to plan, prepare and minimise the risks of an outbreak:

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    To prevent any infection spreading generally, Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs) must be used by all care workers all of the time when caring for all residents, their environments and their equipment.( Additional infection control precautions are needed to prevent norovirus spreading, as it can survive on any surface, including equipment, for at least a week and on refrigerated food for up to 10 days)

    Infection control precautions:
    • Ensure infection control policies are up to date, read and followed by all staff.
    • Conduct a hand hygiene audit and reinforce staff education on the importance of hand washing and the correct technique.
    • Ensure that liquid soap from a sealed cartridge and absorbent paper hand towels are available in all toilets, communal bathrooms including residents’ rooms/en suites.
    • Where possible and safe to do so, use a 70% alcohol based hand sanitiser where hand washing facilities are not available (eg entrances/exits, residents’ lounge, dining room) and maintain supplies in view of increased usage. NB In the event of a D&V outbreak, it is only effective when used in conjunction with liquid soap and water.
    • Use suitable PPE, including disposable gloves, tested against viral penetration, disposable plastic aprons and surgical masks where required.
    • Ensure linen management systems are in place as well as clinical waste disposal systems including foot operated pedal bins.
    • Maintain adequate levels of cleaning materials in anticipation of increased cleaning (eg disposable colour coded cloths, detergents and a virucidal cleaner/disinfectant)

    Here's how Hcsuk can help you to plan, prepare and minimise the risks of an outbreak.

    1. So you can get prepared – we have created two special ‘Winter Bug Survival Action Plan Checklists’ to help you to plan for an outbreak of Flu or Norovirus.
    2. You can benefit from a series of audit services to advise you and recommend best practice on hand hygiene, correct glove usage, laundry hygiene and infection control and we can provide the fit for purpose product solutions which meet industry standards.
    3. You will receive a range of sales support literature and training tools including handy posters on hand hygiene and laundry/ linen management.
    4. We have created our own very special fun and informative Winter Bug Survival Kits with a range of samples and tools to help you plan and prepare.

    We have a limited supply of Winter Bug Survival Kits** available to get you feeling all warm and fuzzy, but they are only available whilst stocks last so don’t delay, to order your Survival Kit and Winter Bug Survival Action Plan Checklists today or to get any more information about our audit services, call Beckie today on 01773 713713 or email us at sales@hcsuk.co.uk!!

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    **Please note all kits have now gone

  • Have you found your way around dementia enabling signage?

    I would like you to imagine for a moment that you find yourself in a new unfamiliar building and you have spent 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!

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    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?

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    If you were living with a dementia, disorientation and bewilderment would be a common experience for you, and you would feel very distressed and frightened. It would be really hard for you to adjust to a new space, because adjustment needs memory and learning. It needs a capacity to work out where you are and how to behave.

    You 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 for you. No longer can you understand where things are. People can show you, where the toilet is, but next time you need to go, you can’t remember.

    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 now focusing in 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 had made improvements to the environment to support good care. These included the use of pictorial signage and photographs to identify bedrooms and bathrooms’

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    We also have recent evidence and experience of this, where we have been able to help a care home which had been deemed to be ‘dementia unfriendly’ by CQC.

    As with all of our ranges, our dementia enabling signage has been researched and handpicked to ensure you receive high quality, robust, non-reflective, signs which meet all infection prevention and fire regulatory standards. We can also offer you a bespoke design service to enable you to personalise your signage according to your requirements, at no extra costs.

    Investing in our 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 Click here

    If you would like more comprehensive advice, Health Care Services 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 Click here> or contact Beckie today on 01773 713713 .

  • How can you 'brush up' on oral care for adults in care homes?

    How would you feel if you were unable to brush your teeth or receive any oral care for 2 whole weeks?
    Dr Christoffer Van Tulleken, recently carried out this experiment for a new two-part BBC series showing the implications of poor dental hygiene, conducted with Professor Iain Chapple, at the University of Birmingham School of Dentistry.

    Dr Tulleken commented: At the end of this time, I brushed my teeth and my gums bled; I had developed mild gum disease. Carry on like this and not treat the problem and I could lose some teeth.’ Further tests showed that he had also damaged his immune system.

    ‘Gum disease isn't just bad for your teeth; it shortens your life - simple as that. So, looking after your teeth is one of the most important health interventions you can make’ he concluded. And there's mounting evidence that shows an association between poor dental hygiene and a wide variety of illnesses including dementia, pneumonia, diabetes, kidney and heart disease and cancer.

    Oral care for adults in care homes
    Vulnerable adults are often unable to take proper care of their teeth due to overall weakness or problems like arthritis or impairment of memory, anxiety behaviour, sleep disturbance, depression, and disorientation.

    Sometimes they can overlook dental problems because of other more demanding health problems. In such cases it is essential for family members and carers to watch out for symptoms. Weak or loss of teeth also means difficulty in eating leading to lack of nutrition and weight loss.

    Adults in residential care are at considerable risk of oral infection, with infection identified in 80% of one study population.

    Why good oral care is so important Continue reading

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