CONFIDENCE

  • 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.
     

  • Are you sure your mattresses are really clean?

    How can you be sure your mattresses are safe for new residents? With our mattress decontamination service we can take care of it for you, ensuring the mattress is cleaned to MHRA standards - we will even arrange your collection and redelivery.
    • Meets PUWER regs  - from the HSE
    • Meets DoH95 (18)  - regulations
    • Immersion process formulated to kill HCAIs (Healthcare Associated Infections)

    Book your mattress decontamination now!

    The decontamination facility we use has been built with infection control in mind throughout, including separate “contaminated” and “decontaminated” entries and exits within the facilities.
    The facilities have been viewed and approved by NHS/PCT trusts and our service offers a swift turn-around, usually 7-10 days. We are priced competitively at £60 per decontamination.
    In addition to cleaning your mattress, we can provide quotes and recommendations for repairs to ensure you get the most life out of your mattresses too. No work is carried out until you have agreed to the quote.
    Want more? What about a loan mattress? For £40 we will loan you a mattress to use whilst your’s is being cleaned!
  • Could Healthcare Services be your Servicing Superheroes?

    When equipment fails it's deeply frustrating, costly in both time and money and affects your staff and residents.  We can cover a range of equipment in our servicing division, from hoists to wheelchairs, beds and scooters and more.

    • For servicing and repairs - compliant with Loler BS5827 Bn ES ISO10535
    • Full Service History - You'll have all the information you need, when you need it.
    • Hassle free diary management - To keep your business compliant and ensure that nothing is missed
    • Written recommendations of new parts before supply for cost control
    • Peace of mind we operate under a health care industry code of practice, so you can be assured you’re dealing with a reputable company
    • DBS checked engineers- we are trustworthy
    • A seamless service when old equipment needs replacing
    • On loan/short term hire of essential equipment to help keep your residents safe and well.

    We offer a FREE equipment audit service so you can have full peace of mind about all the tools you rely on. Book your FREE Equipment Audit Now! 

    I use Hcsuk for our hoist servicing, they offer a brilliant service and are one the best teams I've got. They are always happy, helpful, there when I want them and there's no messing about.   Jeff Dennis, Woodleigh Care Group

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for an excellent service we received when we had our hoist, hoist slings and weight chair scales serviced. The gentleman who came was very polite and friendly with a professional manner.
    The reason we choose HCSuk is that we have always received excellent service from you and always received a friendly response when we contact any member of your team.
    Colleen Joyce, Manager at Stanton Manor Residential Home, Burton on Trent.

    Our superhero servicing team, Phil and Rachel

    Our team of caring and skilled technicians work with customers to take the hassle out of keeping their equipment compliant and in the best possible condition.
    Phil and Rachel work closely together to give you the very best service and customer care they can and they really are a true superhero team! Phil is something of a speed freak with a love of motor bikes and Rachel has recently completed two YES TWO half marathons! Watch out for more on that later.

    Book your FREE equipment audit now!

  • Come and see our new Dementia at Home solutions at our Hcsuk Mobility showroom

    Today we want to give you a bit of an insight into a different side of our business - our mobility showroom. Here at Hcsuk Mobility we are stockists of quality product solutions to assist with independent living, and our aim is to help and support the elderly and vulnerable, (and their families and carers) who want to remain living independently in the comfort of their own homes in the community. Our lovely girls, Lisa, Beckie and Rachel are all here to offer help, support and advice on product solutions which will help achieve these aims.

    Continue reading

  • NEW! Fire Evacuation Pack - Sneak Peek!

    We're thrilled to have a new product to show you today. Here at Hcsuk we pride ourselves on finding solutions to our customers problems, as Jo explains below. Watch the video for more information.

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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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  • 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.

    BHTA PIC

    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

    BHTA PIC2

    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."

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