HCS - Latest News

  • 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:


    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!!


    **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!


    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 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’


    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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