Service

  • Discover ways of developing empathy to help impact your care business

    Today I want to talk to you about empathy, a word which is being used ever more frequently within the care industry. But what is empathy?

    The dictionary defines it as:

    ‘The ability to understand and share the feelings of others’ and given the nature of the work that we all do, helping to support those in our care, this is an invaluable tool for us.

    What’s got me really thinking about the value of empathy is that recently I had a personal experience which involved a business demonstrating empathy to me in a truly brilliant way.

    I was in hospital having a pre-op assessment for a procedure I was to have, and the nurse, a lovely welsh girl named Cheryl, who was completing my assessment - told me that she’d undergone the same operation the previous year.

    I felt instantly reassured on learning this, just because she had such good insight into the procedure itself, how to prepare for it, getting over the anesthetic, after care hints and tips and how her experience could help me get through my op and recovery.

    I honestly thought that it was such a great way that BMI Healthcare showed they were really empathizing with their patients, by effectively utilizing the personal experiences, skills and knowledge of their staff.

    I’m a great believer in the expression – ‘never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes’ and this is especially important in the job that I do working in the care industry

    My experience helped to both clarify and galvanise the vision I have had for my business over the past two years, and that has been to add to our team someone who has had real experience of working in care homes to a senior level and who understands the environment, the pressures and has truly walked a mile in our customers shoes.

    So I am delighted to welcome Lucy Lynch to our Hcsuk team, as our new Healthcare Solutions Manager. Lucy has 5 years experience working in care homes and has worked her way up from a caring role to Deputy Manager at her last home.

    I firmly believe that Lucy will be a great asset to the both our business and to our customers as she will be able to empathise with situations and challenges and be able to provide practical solutions to your challenges.

    There is one, very personal way, I’ve also been able to develop empathy for people who are living with a Dementia.

    I’m fortunate enough that I still have my Mum with me, 98 last March, currently still living at home with Vascular Dementia . Helping to support Mum over the last few years has given me an incredible insight into some of the symptoms and behaviours of people living with Dementia. I have learned what works with Mum, what doesn’t and how to help her to be the best she can be. When other people might think of her behavior as ‘difficult’, I see it as a sign of some distress and work with her to overcome this.

    Mum has been an inspiration to me and has led to write a guide to help people with a Dementia to eat better. She’s also been a tester for some of my products solutions which have worked really well with her. This enables me to confidently go out to my customers and say, “Yes I’ve tested this particular product personally with my mum, I know it works’

    Mum is also in my head when I research and select the product solutions we provide – I always ask myself, ‘would this product be good enough for my Mum?’ – And it has to meet that criteria to make its way onto our range of solutions.

    Recently I visited the Care and Dementia Show and took part in a virtual dementia tour. This again is something which has been designed purely to help you and I to walk a mile in the shoes of someone with a Dementia, to understand the challenges they face on a daily basis and therefore how the way that we work with them and how we interact with them can have a positive impact on the quality of their life and their behaviour.

    As part of this experience I had to don weighted gloves and dark glasses with blacked out middle bits so I only had peripheral vision. We were given headphones to wear that had a lot of muffled background noise going on and we were then literally pushed into a room with dark red and strobe lighting which I found extremely disorienting. There were four of us in this room and I literally became a different person - I was anxious, I was shuffling, very unconfidently, around the room, I wanted to hold onto the sides and when a “Carer” came up to me and put her face very close to mine and asked me to do something meaningful I looked for something to do. I walked to the sink and tried to wash up some cutlery and crockery, and put it on the draining board, but as I placed the crockery carefully on the side the “carer” came and literally shoved it back into the sank. I then thought I could walk through into another room so I tried to push open, what I thought was a door, and a really loud alarm sounded, which really shocked me and all I wanted to do was sit down so that I’d feel safe.

    I emerged from the experience feeling anxious and a little shaky, however I was pleased I had completed it, because I really believe it gave me a greater insight into how it feels to live with a Dementia and has massively improved my experience in terms of how what my business does can impact the lives of people living with dementia. I will think about them differently, I think about Mum differently a little bit now too so it was really helpful for me.

    Again it was trying to help us develop empathy for our customers, our residents and the people we support.

    I also read an article in The Guardian recently about Sara Livedeas, CEO of The Freemantle Trust, who booked herself in to stay at one of her care homes one weekend. What better way is there to experience what your residents see, walk a mile in their shoes, interact with the staff, the environment and everything about the service you are providing?

    Sara learned some valuable lessons around what she liked and didn’t like about the service, including that the television should be on less, and was able to create improvements as a result of her stay. What an insightful thing to do. I think we should do more of that.

    So my question today is how do you develop empathy with your residents and the people that you support? When was the last time you walked in their shoes? I’d love to hear your comments, ideas and thoughts on this subject and how we could incorporate empathy more into the way we run our businesses so we can gain a better understanding of our residents and learn how we can serve them better.

    #empathy #careindustry #carehomes #corevalues #jobonser #care #caring #businessvalues #walkamile

     

  • Are you that special, wear your heart on your sleeve kind of person we’re looking for?

    Do you feel passionate about helping to improve the quality of peoples’ lives?

    Do you currently, or have you had experience of working in a care environment?

    Can you empathise with the challenges care providers and managers face striving to deliver the best possible outcomes for the ladies and gents they support whilst working towards improving compliance and CQC ratings?

    Do you also possess effective sales skills to help generate growth in revenue and profitability for your organisation?

    Are you looking for a new, exciting and unique challenge and are based in or around the East Midlands area?

    If you can answer yes to these questions, then we have a highly rewarding customer focused role for you.
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  • 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!

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  • 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.
     

  • Meet Mukesh and All the Latest from Health Care Services HQ!

    We do hope that you and all those in your care are well and looking forward to spring now the days are a little lighter and brighter. Today we wanted to share a few pieces of news from Hcsuk HQ.

    Meet Mukesh!

    Mukesh Dhunna is our new Sales Manager, he is busy out and about coming to meet a lot of you over the next few weeks and months. Mukesh comes with a wealth of experience helping clients find the products that are right for them. He has a particular interest in skin care, so please feel free to ask him your questions and we will all work together to help you find the perfect solutions for those in your care.

    Here's Mukesh with your delivery driver Pete, more about Pete later!

    Pete and Mukesh out and about recently!

    Technology in Healthcare

    If you've been keeping an eye on the latest healthcare news then you will probably have heard about the Topol Review, Preparing the Healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future. Technology is already part of how we care for our residents, with wearable devices which are used to alert help when someone falls, to pressure sensors in beds and even the digital thermometer! There will be more technology to come and we are excited to see how it can enable carers, care managers, and the care homes in which residents live to provide better levels of care and quality of life. We will be watching!

     

    And finally today ...

    If you haven't met Pete (he's in the picture above) yet but you plan on visiting us at HQ in the near future, we recommend you come on a Friday. Pete is very conscientious and cleans his van every Friday, so that he knows on Monday morning, he is all ready to go and his van is a sparkling representation of the company.

    As one lucky visitor found out recently, if you happen to park in just the right spot on a Friday, Pete will even give your car a little wash and pamper too. What a superstar!

     

    That's it for now but we will be in touch soon with more news from Hcs HQ! Remember we are here to answer any questions and queries you may have on 01773 713713 and the website with a huge range of products solutions is at www.hcsuk.co.uk 

  • Our servicing superheros have certainly impressed Jeff!

    Jeff Dennis, the maintenance manager at Woodleigh Care Group in Mansfield explains why he uses Health Care Services for his equipment servicing.

    To book your complimentary equipment audit, head over here

     

  • The Healthcare Extreme Makeover - Home Edition!

    We are delighted to bring you a project we're very proud to be helping on, the refurbishment of 18 rooms at Red Rose Care Home in Newark.

    Red Rose Care have a history of achieving excellence and the newly refurbished rooms are adding to these high standards by offering end of life care facilities.

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  • Eating and drinking independently after a stroke tastes the best!

    I would like you to imagine, for a moment, how you would feel if you were suddenly struck down with a stroke - seemingly coming from nowhere in the space of a moment, and with potentially life changing consequences – not just for you who is immediately affected, but also for your loved ones.

    After all, shaky hands, limited movement in your neck and/or potential paralysis down one side of your body, would make it nearly impossible for you to eat and drink independently. And having to have someone assist you with your meals, or face spilling food on a table or yourself, can be embarrassing and have a negative effect on your self-esteem and even lead to you refusing to eat.

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  • 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.

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  • If you have ever had a sling condemned due to faded labelling you need to read this!

    Every year, hundreds of perfectly safe patient handling slings in care homes across the UK are condemned after failing LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) tests.

    And the reason?

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