How much do you consider your ladies and gents drinking experience when encouraging hydration?

Hi! Today’s Thirsty Thursday and I have a very topical question for all you guys out there working in social care who are supporting ladies and gents and trying to improve their fluid intake as mush as possible.

We all know what the potential effects of dehydration are for our elderly and vulnerable loved ones. We know that it can lead to:

  • UTI’s (urinary tract infections)
  • AKI’s (acute kidney injury)
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Unnecessary hospital admissions.

So we are all really conscious about wanting to improve the hydration levels or our ladies and gents but I want to ask you a question,

How much do you consider your ladies and gents’ drinking experience when encouraging hydration?

And I would like you to think about what your own preferences are when you’re having a drink.

At the weekend, after a 12 mile walk in the Yorkshire Dales, I visited a cafe for a well earned cup of tea and was mesmerised by the man behind the bar who was showing a new team member how to make G&T. So much love went into the preparation of this drink, loads of ice, cucumber, berries and a slice of lime before any beverage was even poured into the glass, it was a work o art! And I complimented him on the presentation.  He responded:

I believe in the French theory that we both eat and drink with our eyes first and i want to make every single aspect of my customers’ drinking experience pleasurable, which includes how it looks.

And this really got me thinking. You probably have all got your own favourite mug that you like, now that might be short and stumpy and really thick ceramic or it might be you might prefer to drink out of a china cup. When you have your favourite tipple, I guarantee that part of the experience for you is about the glass which your drink is served in, you may like a long tall tumbler or you may prefer a big bowl wine glass or the latest goldfish bowl star gin and tonic glass.

Whatever is I bet you’ve got your favourites and I want to ask you today how often you think about your residents drinking experience itself when you serve their drinks to them in?

I’ve been in this business for nearly 30 years and as far as I know the plastic bfh 250 200 mil graduated feeder beaker with handles, with spout,  has been around for as long as I have, and I guess it preceded me, and actually our customers really don’t like them and always comment that they discolour when they get tea stains in them.

Also they’re now no longer recommended for hot drinks because of the risk of a burn when picking them up but people continue to order them.

I’ve said many time that it’s actually my life mission to rid the industry of this feeder beaker because I don’t like it, I don’t think it’s a very dignified cup and the handles themselves aren’t really supported for somebody who’s got arthritis and struggles with their grip. For somebody who has a dementia and put giving them clear liquid in a clear glass may not be encouraging good levels of hydration as they will really struggle to see it, with there being a lack of contrast.

I always ask myself, would I want my Mum drinking out of this beaker? And the simple answer is no I wouldn’t, so if it’s not good enough for my mum why is it good for good enough for anybody else?

So I wanted to pose that question to you, have you thought about what your residents’ preference would be like? What what they might, like what are their favourite colours? If you can get a glass or a cup that’s a favourite colour that they’re attracted to, it will encourage them to pick up and drink more, also translucent bright colours like the purple one in the video are really good because you can still see the liquid that’s inside and it will help to measure how much they’re actually drinking. Again for residents with a dementia putting that in their line of vision it’s going to attract their attention and encourage them to pick up more and drink.

I know this from my own experience with my Mum who has a red glass that she uses for her water or her tonic water. It’s also thinking about what they might like to drink,  what are their preferences drinks wise, because again if you’re giving residents drinks that they really like and enjoy then they’re going to be drinking more, you’ll be able to get more fluids into them and help with their hydration levels.

For me personally I have to say a wineglass is my is my glass of choice. When I go out, I’m choosing a bottle of sparkling water with ice and a slice of lemon, I always ask “Can I have it served in a wineglass?” because for me that’s really important as part of the experience and I will enjoy it more as part of that experience.

So happy Thirsty Thursday everybody, cheers!

And please, have a think about the drinking vessels that you’ve got for your residents at the moment are they fit for purpose are they encouraging the maximum levels of hydration they can and if you’d like to have a look at the options that we have please head over to our website and the Independent Eating and Drinking Solutions area. 


You can also order your free copy of the 34-page Dignified Dining Solutions Guide for more tips and tools.


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Customer Testimonials

“We’ve built a strong working relationship with Hcsuk over many years, having used them to source, install and service our medical training equipment. We have always found the team very professional, helpful, and well-organised. We’d like to give a particular shout out to Phil, the technician / engineer who has been the consistent friendly face visiting our business to inspect and test our mobility hoists every 6 months. Thank you for all your support and advice.”

P. B. (Care Manager), Blue Bird Care Ltd

You are part of a great company, if we can help you grow by contracting you out to our sites its good for you, but it’s great for us because your service is fantastic, very efficient, everyone within Hcsuk is super helpful in answering queries and every time we’ve had an issue, Hcsuk has always been there to solve the problem almost immediately, which is fantastic.

Leicestershire County Council

Truly exceptional levels of customer service, the best I have experienced for many years. Very helpful staff made follow up calls to ask how the equipment was performing and supplied extra user instructions to supplement the manufacturers manual. I would not hesitate to order from this company again.

Savills Estate Agents

We would just like to pass on our thanks for all of your help with our orders and would be pleased if you would also pass on our thanks to the manufacturers for being so accommodating in meeting our requirements. We have found everyone very helpful.

Lincs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Since I set up the account for Hcsuk over 18 months ago I have found them to be an excellent advocate of our products. They have been willing to learn about the technical and servicing elements to our hoists and the sales staff have really taken on board and proactively promoted our range where possible. I feel that as a company Hcsuk have got the desire and right people in place for growing in this competitive industry. They seem to push themselves to go that little bit further and offer that little bit more to stand out from the rest. May our relationship continue going from strength to strength.

Joerns Healthcare

As a care home manager I have used Hcsuk for my supplies for the last 20 years in two homes. I have always found them to be helpful and reliable. Their products are of the highest standards, they are able to source anything. The delivery service is prompt and regular so I do not have to keep large amounts of stock. They supply extra services such as servicing and repairs which are done efficiently, and training in COSHH. The reps are pleasant and helpful bringing new products to my attention but are never ”pushy”. Aftercare is good, any problems soon sorted. I would recommend them highly and would not think of using anyone else.

Littleover Nursing Home

HPC have supplied Hcsuk (Health Care Services Ltd) for well over a decade now and we would consider them to be a high quality and professional business run in an organised and progressive manor. We do not rank our customers or have a preferred customer status but if we were to introduce such a scheme I can confirm that Hcsuk would easily make such a grade.

HPC Healthline

As a manufacturer we look for key values in a distributor some of these include honesty, reliability, commitment and reputation. Hcsuk carry all of these and many more. With a twenty plus year working relationship we now place Jo and the team at the top of our distributor list. I have no hesitation in recommending Hcsuk to any prospective manufacturer or customer and wish Jo and the team all the best for the future.

Cleenol Group Ltd

It is brilliant that we are able to ring Health Care Services and that you will go the extra mile to get us the stock we need as soon as possible.

Rykneld View Nursing Home

Just to say a huge thankyou to you and your fantastic team, and I mean that from the Heart. I have never before experienced such a person centred company.

Hampton Grange Nursing Home

What I like about working with Health Care Services is the relationship we have built up and the personal service. The homes report that you always deliver on time, the quality is consistently good and the prices competitive. Your team members are always willing to go that extra mile for us and if ever we have an issue there is always someone there to save the day.

Eastgate Care

Thanks to Jo for going over and above to get us our items in time for our special event at Buddleia House – it was very much appreciated. A massive thankyou for your continued assistance as a supplier to ourselves.

Buddleia House

We have always received excellent services from everyone at HCS at our 2 care homes, especially Lee, Jo and Phil. Always professional with a quick response time. Nothing ever seems too much trouble. Recently I had to use them personally for equipment to enable my mothers discharge from hospital. I had a response within the hour for prices and delivery came straight from the manufacturer to speed up delivery. Phil arrived at the same time to put the equipment together for us! I can’t thank them enough for putting our minds at ease and for the continued support from a personal and professional perspective. I’d recommend them to anyone requiring care equipment and its nice to support local businesses. Especially when they do such a good job!!

Orla House

I contacted HCSUK trying to find a hoist that could be operated unaided by the client. I had become very disheartened, no-one was really helpful until I spoke to Donna at HCSUK.

Donna was incredibly understanding, her professionalism raised my spirits again. Everything Donna said she would do she did, including arranging for me to speak to Andrew the salesman who like Donna was incredibly helpful, happy to bring two machines to demonstrate.

I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are good people.

Penelope C

I spoke to Lee Atterbury 2 weeks ago, when I was despairing about the prospect of finding any equipment to help my husband in the bathroom. I had tried all the popular brands, but none were right for his needs.

When I spoke to Lee he understood what I was saying and set about trying to find what we need. He was so patient and understanding and gave me the confidence to explore outside the box.

I spoke to Lee today and was able to tell him that we, hopefully, have found the solution. I am sorry that it was not a product you sell, though you may in the future, but will certainly look first to HCS for other products.

Thank you so much to Lee for first class customer service.

Christine G, Sheffield

VAT Relief Information

Conditions for VAT relief for disabled people

Some of the products which can be purchased from the Hcsuk website are available for an eligible person to purchase without paying VAT on them. HM Revenue and Customs sets out the conditions when equipment for disabled people might be free of VAT and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these products.

Products a can only be exempt from VAT when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate
  2. The goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer
  3. The goods and services are eligible to be supplied at the zero rate

A more detailed explanation of each of these conditions is given below, but you should visit the HM Revenue and Customs Website to fully understand the conditions

The product must be being purchased for someone who is chronically ill or disabled.

A person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she is a person:

It does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.

‘personal or domestic’ use means that the supply must be made available specifically for the use of an eligible individual.

You don’t have to physically buy the goods in person. If your parent, guardian or wife or husband buys the goods and services for you, then you won’t be charged VAT.

What counts as personal or domestic use?

Personal or domestic use means that the goods or services are supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes. Also, the goods or services must be just for your own use – not for use by anyone else, or chronically sick or disabled people in general. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and you buy goods or services for both of you to use, then you won’t have to pay VAT.

Products which are offered for sale on this website which qualify for VAT relief to be claimed for an eligible person.

The products which can be bought without paying VAT are:

Only the products on our site carrying the VAT exemption price (the smaller price marked ex VAT) are eligible to be purchased this way and you must tick the box on the basket page indicating that you wish to claim VAT exemption on the items in your basket that are eligible for VAT relief.

How to claim

On the my basket page of this website a link to the online declaration form is provided if the basket contains a product that qualifies for VAT relief. You must tick the box to state you wish to claim VAT relief on the eligible product and complete in full the reason by which you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and name and address of the claimant. If possible the person making the claim should complete this form, but a family member, carer or medical professional may complete the form on the claimants behalf. To submit the claim and receive the VAT relief, click the ‘Submit VAT Relief Claim’ button before proceeding to the checkout.

Please note that all orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed.

It is necessary to complete a separate claim form each time a qualifying product is purchased from Hcsuk.


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