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HCS - Latest News

  • Served With A Smile And Made With Love Video

    Click on the image to watch the video

    After a very successful seminar at the Dementia Care & Nursing Home Expo in Birmingham this week, we wanted to share with you the beautiful video created together with Jo Bonser and Big Ian Donaghy who managed to capture the essence of why the Hcsuk team are so passionate about improving the lives of loved ones living with dementia.

    Jo's presentation included her very personal story as a daughter, and how she transformed her Mum’s mealtimes so she could enjoy 4 more Christmas dinners together with her family.

    Jo's message:

    "This week, at the Dementia and Care Expo at the NEC I was so proud to launch our new, heartwarming short film, as part of my presentation to a packed Dementia Care Theatre, 'Served with a smile, made with love, why mealtimes are so much more than a plate full of food’.

    This beautiful video, ‘Made with Love’, has been produced for us by the amazing Big Ian Donaghy, who’s known for making one or two half-decent films! When I first came up with the idea, there was really only ever one man for the job.

    It’s a project which has been on the table, (pardon the pun), for over 2 years, and due to the pandemic has been shelved several times. There were moments when I wondered if we could ever make it happen.

    When I first saw it, I was in bits!

    It will make you laugh

    It will make you cry

    We hope it will make you think

    It has definitely been ‘Made with Love’ because we CARE about helping to make a difference to the quality of life of people living with dementia, and especially the part food, and mealtimes play in that.

    Dedicated to my Mum, Anne, who lived with vascular dementia, and whom I helped to support for over 6 years;  together we overcame her many eating difficulties which allowed her to blow out 390 more birthday candles before finally leaving us on Mother’s Day in 2020.

    It’s not just about food

    It’s so much more.

    Have your tissues ready!

     

  • Our MD, Jo Bonser will be speaking live at the Care and Dementia Expo on September 15th, will you be joining us?

    Jo will be sharing her personal story of helping to care for her Mum, which has led her to help care homes improve their mealtime experience for people living with dementia.

    Jo told us: 

    In November of 2016, my sister and I were told our Mum wouldn’t survive Christmas.

    These are the words no one ever wants to hear about their loved one, but my Mum’s GP warned us that Mum had given up on life and was ready to die.

    There was no denying that Mum was really poorly, living at home with vascular dementia aged 95,  she had suffered 3 falls, several urinary and chest infections and had no appetite or interest in eating or drinking resulting in dramatic weight loss and dehydration. She would not pick up a knife or fork to eat and if you tried to assist her with a meal she would turn away from you.

    However, my Mum was an incredibly strong, and stubborn, lady and we weren’t prepared to just accept what the care professionals said, so we set to work to do whatever we could to help her recover.

    With my, then, 26 years experience from working in the care sector, and having some knowledge of nutrition and hydration for our elders,  I decided to take charge of Mum’s mealtimes and began to observe her mealtime behaviours to see what I could do to improve her dining experience and ultimately her nutrition levels.

    I learned that getting people with dementia to eat can be challenging, and that complex interaction with the mealtime environment, plus many eating difficulties can prevent their nutritional intake.

    Following research, I found an online mealtime assessment tool and started to observe Mum’s mealtime behaviours, to identify, find solutions and create a care plan to help overcome her mealtime eating difficulties with the goal of bringing enjoyment for her at mealtimes, giving her back her mealtime independence, preventing malnutrition and improving her quality of life.

    The assessment tool provided me with a list of suggested interventions of which I chose several to trial with Mum including:

    • Decluttering the mealtime environment to reduce confusion levels.
    • Reducing noise levels resulting in a calmer setting which improved her nutrition
    • Introducing adapted crockery and cutlery to help her regain eating independence
    • Eating with her to make mealtimes more social occasions

    Mum’s transformation was miraculous! Within weeks, Mum was back to eating completely independently, enjoying her meals and gaining weight.

    The care professionals couldn’t believe her transformation and her end-of-life care nurse, Sally, stopped her visits saying ‘you don’t need my help anymore!’

    Having seen Mum’s transformation, I wanted to share my learnings with others, who were caring for people with dementia, to enable them to also experience more positive and dignified mealtimes and improved nutrition.

    And so Mum provided me with the inspiration to write my guide, as a free resource, with one aim – to help people with dementia achieve the most dignified, independent and delicious dining experience possible.

    I had walked a mile in the shoes of those who care for people with dementia. I had faced their challenges, and I had been able to overcome them and I wanted to share the strategies which had worked for us.

    I wanted to empower care managers and their teams and family members caring for people living with dementia to understand they CAN make a big difference in the way they support their people to lead to improved engagement, enjoyment at mealtimes

    I wanted them to really think about how their dining experience made their residents feel by putting themselves in their shoes.

    Would their dining experience pass the ‘Mum’ test - would it be good enough for their loved ones? And if not why should it be good enough for anyone else?

    My guide is designed for busy care managers, combining solutions to common mealtime challenges,  packed with best practice guidance and tips to improve the dementia mealtime experience and ideas of product solutions that are available to be enabling for people with dementia. All from one trusted source, to save them valuable time.

    My guide launched in 2017 and was requested and distributed to many different care professionals and types of organisations, more than I could have imagined:

    OT’s, care home managers, local authorities, care trainers, CQC inspectors, SALT teams, dietitians, care quality consultants, care catering specialists, end of life nurses, home care companies are just some of the people who have had copies and have fed back what a valuable resource it has been.

    Following feedback from a senior dietitian within the BDA, who highly rated it and helped me with areas to improve, I updated it in 2018 and very much see it as an evolving resource as I learn more and more research is done.

    In 2018, I delivered ‘The Dementia Mealtime Challenge’, an interactive workshop I created based on my guide, at the National Association of Care Catering annual training and development forum. Several people who were present, have since come back to say thank you we have implemented all the suggestions from your workshop!

    This is now available as a workshop for teams in care homes who are serious about looking at ways to improve their mealtime experience.

    2019 saw me start my first consultancy project after an outstanding care provider approached me to work with them on a project to further improve their already excellent mealtime experience. This led to me developing a range of services to offer care homes including:

    • Mealtime observational audits
    • Enabling independence at mealtimes assessments for individuals
    • Creating enabling dining environment audits for people living with dementia
    • Mealtime equipment audit
    • Partnership working with care teams on improvement plans and implementation.
    • Retained support to measure continuous improvement.  

    I am passionate about helping people and sharing my knowledge,  and with my own experience and care sector background would love to work with more care homes to help them too.

     

    I am thrilled to be speaking in the Dementia Theatre at the  Care and Dementia show, and also to be providing a further sensory learning experience and a fun competition with great prizes we are offering if you come and see us on our stand at the show.

     

     

    Download your own copy of our Dignified Dining Solution Guide below or visit our website at www.hcsuk.co.uk.

    Many people have asked me, ‘how much is your guide?’ and they are delighted when I tell them it’s free and I call it my little gift to the universe.’

     

  • What Is Dry Mouth And How Does It Affect Oral Health

    Oral health care and effects of dry mouth

    Every once in a while we all experience a dry mouth, especially when we are nervous, upset or under stress. However, for some people, dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common condition that is caused by lack of saliva in the mouth and is thought to affect at least 1 in 4 of the population, with 60% being in the 60+ age group, and over 33% going undiagnosed. If dry mouth is not treated it can be highly uncomfortable and can impact on oral health.

    Saliva plays several important roles when it comes to keeping our mouths healthy. In addition to its role in digestion, saliva helps to cleanse the oral cavity, facilitate oral processing and swallowing of food, maintaining a neutral pH and preventing tooth demineralisation.

    The Main Causes Of Dry Mouth

    • Lack of hydration 
    • Snoring/mouth breathing
    • Some long term health conditions
    • Taking multiple medications - more than 500 medications, both prescription and over the counter, have dry mouth as a side effect
    • Head and neck cancer and cancer therapy dry mouth is one of the most common complications during and after radiotherapy and treatment.

    Who Is Susceptible To Dry Mouth?

    oral health with diabetes

    People with diabetes

    Patients with high blood sugar levels are prone to experiencing dry mouth and it can lead to further oral health complications.

    Effects of dry mouth and cancer patients oral healthcare

    People having treatment for cancer

    Patients who are having treatment for cancer, in particular head and neck cancer, are at significant risk of developing dry mouth. Dry mouth is one of the most common complications during and after radiotherapy treatment.

     

    oral health in dementia

    People living with dementia

    One of the main side effects of the medication patients with dementia and Alzheimer take is dry mouth. Common medications with this side effect include; antidepressants, antipsychotics and sedatives.

     

    oral health with polypharmacy patients

    People on multi-medication (polypharmacy)

    More than 500 medications, both over the counter and prescription, have xerostomia as a side effect and the prevalence increases with each medication taken. More than 3 medications taken in combination can lead to a 50% risk of developing dry mouth.

     

    oral health and dry mouth effects for people with depression

    People with depression

    Antidepressants are one of the groups of medication most commonly associated with dry mouth.

     

    people with auto-immune disease and oral health

    People with Auto-immune diseases

    Patients with autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, may suffer from dry mouth. This is due to their body’s immune system attacking glands that secrete fluid, especially the saliva glands.

     

    How Does Dry Mouth Impact Oral Health?

    • Effects of dry mouth in oral health careDifficulty speaking and swallowing - due to a lack of moisture and lubrication in the oral cavity.
    • Gum disease - with a reduced salivary flow bacteria and plaque will not be flushed from the mouth and is more likely to attack the teeth and gums.
    • Tooth decay - saliva helps maintain a neutral pH in the mouth and aids with food clearance. A lack of saliva can cause difficulties in buffering the acids caused by bacteria or ingested foods resulting in tooth decay
    • Viscous or sticky/stringy saliva - due to a lack of moisture and lubrication in the oral cavity.
    • A change in sense of taste - saliva plays a role in our experience of taste so people with dry mouth may find a change in their sense of taste, growing an intolerance towards spicy, salty, or sour foods and drinks.
    • A dry or burning feeling in the mouth, lips and throat
    • Cracked lips - a lack of moisture can cause sores on the lips, split skin at the corners of the lips and cracked dry lips.
    • A rough tongue - moisture of the tongue is maintained by the saliva. However, with a lack of salivary flow, the tongue can become extremely dry, sore and red causing discomfort and even a burning feeling.
    • Severe halitosis - due to the lack of cleansing action provided by normal salivary volume and flow, patients can experience bad breath.
    • Mouth sores

    The Symptoms Can Have A Dramatic Effect On A Person's Wellbeing

    Effects of dry mouth in oral health

    Why Isn't Water The Best Relief Method?

    One of the most frequently used saliva substitutes is water and whilst it can be used as a saliva replacement, it doesn't moisten and lubricate the oral mucosa and teeth adequately - something which is critical to provide relief for dry mouth. In addition, saliva plays a larger role in the mouth than just providing water.

    As dry mouth is rarely associated with systemic dehydration, consuming large quantities of water does not overcome it, but merely provides temporary relief from the symptoms of dry mouth. People who compensate through frequent sipping of water, particularly at night, often report a decrease in sleep quality due to the increased frequency of urination.

    Furthermore, drinking excessive amounts of water could potentially promote the loss of electrolytes and result in electrolyte imbalance.

    Here Are Our Top Tips To Help You To Manage Dry Mouth

    • oral health care for dry mouth with Oralieve productsMaintain good oral hygiene
    • Improve hydration take regular sips of cold water or suck on ice cubes
    • Use water-based mouth gels, sprays and non-foaming toothpaste 

    How Can Oralieve Help?

    All our Oralieve products contain bioactive ingredients and enzymes which supplement the natural systems in saliva to provide effective and lasting relief. Oralieve products help promote a healthy, comfortable mouth.

    Having a dry mouth may mean a person’s mouth can be painful when using products containing strong flavours or detergents. Many oral hygiene products contain Sodium Laurel Sulphate SLS, which can irritate oral tissues. Oralieve products do not contain SLS, alcohol or strong flavours and have been tested and developed with dry mouth sufferers.

    Click on an Oralieve product to reveal more information on how it can help the people you support with dry mouth.

    Dry mouth relief with Oralieve mild toothpaste Oralieve Ultra Mild Toothpaste
    Moisturising mouth gel to relieve dry mouth Oralieve Moisturising Mouth Gel
    Oral health products for nourishing lips Oralieve Nourishing Lip Care
    Oral health dry mouth relief with Oralieve moisturising mouth spray Oralieve Moisturising Mouth Spray

    To download our Oral Hygiene Management Guide, click on the link below

    Oral Hygiene Management Guide Long CTA

  • How To Prepare Great Looking Rice And Pasta Dishes For Dysphagia Diets

    We are very excited to be able to offer you 2 new additions to our already extensive range of silicone food moulds which are designed to help you to significantly improve the presentation of pureed meals for the people you support with dysphagia.

    You can now add rice to your curry and pasta to your bolognese to increase the range of dishes and meals you are able to prepare, but given the consistency of these food types, what are the top tips and secrets to making visually appealing rice and pasta dishes?

    This is a question we have been asked recently, and we always like to provide helpful and informative answers to customers questions.

    Rice and pasta moulds - The key to being able to get good results with these two shapes is selecting the right thickener and the type of product used.

    For example, with rice, there is a bit of food chemistry involved and knowing the ratio of two main starches, i.e. amylose and amylopectin.

    Here is a little food chemistry to put you to sleep……

    Amylose is a long, straight starch molecule that does not gelatinize during cooking. Grains with high amounts of amylose will be fully and separated once cooked. Long grain rice typically has high amounts of amylose (about 22%) and the least amount of amylopectin (ex. long-grain varieties, Basmati and Jasmine).

    Amylopectin is a highly branched starch molecule that is responsible for making rice gelatinous and sticky. Rice with a high amount of amylopectin will be very sticky once cooked. Short grain rice typically contains the lowest levels of amylose and the highest of amylopectin (ex., short-grain, Asian-style types of rice).

    So, with all that said, it is best to use long-grain rice such as basmati or jasmine.

    Click here to view our full range of silicone food moulds including the rice and pasta moulds

    The Next Thing To Consider Is Which Thickener Should I Use?

    Our manufacturers believe that using an Agar Agar based thickener or potentially gelatine is the way to go to get the best results.

    In case you are unaware of Agar Agar thickener, it usually requires you to heat to a certain temperature to activate its gelling properties.

    So, here is a basic method for you, of what the manufacturers have done to get the best results:

    1. Add equal portions of cooked rice (long grain) or pasta and liquid (stock) to the blender N.B.  Be sure to rinse and drain uncooked rice well to remove excess starch before cooking. 
    2. Blend until pureed
    3. Add Agar Agar thickener and blend again
    4. Transfer contents to saucepan
    5. Heat mixture to ~ 90C to 'activate' the thickener
    6. Transfer mixture to mould cavities and cover
    7. All to cool in the fridge or otherwise freeze
    8. Heat moulded meal as per normal routine

    NB. If you are supporting people with dysphagia, please always refer to a Speech and Language Therapist for professional advice on suitable meal choices and suitable consistencies to avoid the risk of choking.

    Watch the video on how to prepare pureed rice here.

     

     

     

     

    If you would like more ideas of how to achieve greater meal variety for the people you support with dysphagia, you might like this article we previously wrote.

     

    Helping you create more varied meals for people you support living with dysphagia

     

     

    You can also download your free copy of our dignified dining guide here for more hints and tips on improving meal presentation and managing dysphagia.

  • Introducing Our New Company Brand Video

    Recently we shot a company video to capture the essence of Hcsuk and our amazing team - the passion and the care and attention we take, and the pride we all have in the quality of our work and the outcomes we help our customers achieve.

    We are immensely proud of our 32-year business journey working in partnership with care homes providing them with fit for purpose product solutions, servicing their equipment, helping to train their teams and to make continuous improvements. Also, how we help those who care for loves ones at home to stay safe, independent and comfortable.

    We are blessed to have a fantastically committed team who repeatedly go the extra mile to ensure our customers receive what they need when they need it, and always with a smile. ?

    We love the fact that what we do makes a difference in peoples’ lives every day.

    We hope you will enjoy watching and seeing some of our faces behind the voices, and our unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to enable us to offer a fantastic customer experience.

    And hearing first hand what Anita, a customer of ours for over 30 years has to say about us too!

    Watch the video here

    Our Team Is Here To Help You!

    If you would like any further information on any of our services mentioned in our video, contact us here!

    Get in touch

     

  • Why Oral Care Needs To Be Given Greater Priority In Care Homes

     We carried out a recent poll to help us understand the challenges care managers are facing to achieving good oral care in care homes, and the results are in!

    • 43% of people who responded stated that ‘staff don’t see it as a priority
    • 30% put it down to a lack of guidance and training
    • 17% said staff fear personal harm
    • 9% stated there was a lack of fit-for-purpose tools

    CQC now heavily promote the importance of oral care in care homes, which includes mandatory training and forming part of the effective and responsive KLOE’s

    Here, Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) talks about the importance of oral health:

    “Oral health has a huge impact on our quality of life and we need professionals across a number of sectors to make changes to ensure it is given the priority it needs in care home settings.

    “Oral health cannot be treated as an afterthought. It can make the difference between someone who is free from pain, enjoys eating and is able to confidently express themselves through talking and smiling – and someone who is in pain, unable to enjoy their food and who covers their mouth with their hand when they smile because they are ashamed of their poor oral hygiene but unable to address it themselves. No one should have to live like that.”

    And yet there still seems to be a huge gap between where we are and where we need to be on understanding the huge impact oral health has on overall health.

    Did you know that the state of your teeth affects your overall health, with gum disease linked to lots of serious health problems in other parts of the body?

    Therefore, brushing your teeth regularly to remove plaque can prevent gum disease and improve your overall health.

    Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, explains: "The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence. Despite this, only 1 in 6 people realises that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. And only 1 in 3 is aware of the heart disease link."

    Gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including strokediabetes and heart disease. Gum disease has even been linked with problems in pregnancy and dementia.

     So why is good oral care so important? 

    In a two-part BBC series, Dr Christoffer Van Tulleken, carried out an experiment where he didn’t brush his teeth for 2 weeks, to demonstrate the implications of poor dental hygiene.

    Dr Tulleken commented: ‘At the end of this time, I brushed my teeth and my gums bled; I had developed mild gum disease - an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It's mainly caused by bacteria from plaque build-up on all hard surfaces of the mouth due to lack of oral hygiene. 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 - In some people who are susceptible to gum disease, the body over-reacts to the bacteria around the gums and causes too much inflammation. In others, the inflammation doesn't clear up. The result of the intense gum inflammation is that it also affects the bloodstream, and is believed to slowly damage blood vessels in the heart and brain over a long period of time. And there is mounting evidence that shows an association between poor oral hygiene and a wide variety of illnesses including:

    • Dementia
    • Pneumonia,
    • Diabetes, and its control
    • Kidney disease
    • Heart disease and heart attacks
    • Stroke
    • Rheumatoid arthritis

    ‘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.

    How do you think you would feel if you were unable to brush your teeth for 2 weeks?

    What do you think the implications to your health and wellbeing would be?

    • Inadequate oral care can be detrimental to social and emotional well-being – people become very conscious of not having a fresh mouth and can withdraw socially.
    • Any untreated oral pain can make chewing difficult and uncomfortable and therefore impact adequate levels of nutrition and hydration for weight maintenance

    However, a good oral care regime can help to:-

    • Keep residents as comfortable as possible in palliative and end-of-life care
    • Prevent dental decay and gum disease

    We need to work together to help build knowledge and understanding of the implications of poor oral hygiene and why it needs to be made a priority.

    Why not download a copy of our free Oral Care Guide? And you can check out our comprehensive range of fit-for-purpose oral care product solutions here too.Oral Hygiene Management Guide Long CTA

    We have additional great articles relating to oral care that you may find a worthwhile read! Find them here.

     

    How can I improve oral care for my residents living with dementia?

    What are the safe alternatives to banned pink mouth foam swabs?

    CQC calls for improvements in oral health in care homes

  • How Our Servicing Superhero Phil Helped A Local Lady To Get Her 2 Mobility Scooters Back On The Road

    Field Service Engineer Phil Cotton Field Service Engineer Phil Cotton

    We love sharing some positive news, especially lately, when there is a bit of doom and gloom in the air. For many years our Hcsuk  servicing team has not only been working with care providers, but we also provide servicing to our valued private customers, and recently our superhero, super blogger Service Engineer Phil, tells us in his own words how he came to the rescue of a lady with 2 broken scooters.’

    We received a call from a gentleman needing assistance with his elderly mother’s mobility scooters.  This lady had just moved down from Scotland to live close to him in a housing community in our local town of Eastwood.

    On arrival, they were informed that if her mobility scooters hadn’t had a service inspection in the last 12 months then she wasn’t allowed to house them in the outdoor lock up garage, or even charge them up until they had a current service inspection.

    So, I was sent out forthwith to the rescue, to help get this lady’s scooters compliant, and more importantly to enable her to be mobile again in her new residence and town.

    This job was quite a challenging one due to the weather conditions on-site at the time, having to work outside in the freezing elements, howling wind of winter and a very restrictive work space within the garage lock up, to say the least. This, combined with the fact that one of the scooters had totally flat batteries and neither of them were of a young age shall we say….

     

    The flat batteries were put on charge in the garage whilst I gave the other scooter a good check over and inflated the pneumatic tyres etc and thankfully everything checked out okay on both of them. In the end, after final road tests were carried out, apart from me advising that the batteries on the second scooter may not last long after being fully charged, and therefore would need to be replaced, which we could gladly supply and fit if required, the job was complete.

    Following completion of the servicing, I went up to see the lady get the paperwork signed and handed over as usual. I advised her on best charging practices to help get the best out of battery packs on mobility equipment, which I always do as a matter of course.  The lady was SO appreciative that she was now compliant and had regained her independence once again and could get out and about.

     

    It’s always a great feeling for me and gives me a real sense of job satisfaction when I come away from a job knowing that I’ve made a difference to someone who was being prevented from being mobile in their everyday lives.

    Great work from our Superhero Service Engineer Phil!

    If you would like to know more about our Servicing Superheroes can help you, you can download a copy of our latest Servicing guide, ‘Helping you to create safer environments’ here.

    Care Equipment Servicing and Maintenance Guide

  • Are you a very nice man, or lady, with a van, who is looking for regular work every week?

    We are a healthcare company delivering consumable products and equipment to private nursing homes in the Midlands area and looking for assistance with our deliveries for 2 regular days every week.

    We are very customer focussed and this is an important customer-facing role, so the person we are looking for needs to have an outgoing and friendly nature with great customer relationship-building skills and a good sense of humour.

    Requirements:

    • Must be DBS checked – or willing to complete a DBS check.
    • Full clean driving license
    • Insurance
    • Able to commit to 2 regular days every week.
    • Smart appearance
    • Reliable and trustworthy
    • References essential

    Application Form

    Please complete the Application Form and send along with your CV to [email protected] for review.

     

  • The Benefits Of Using Hybrid Mattress Surfaces In Nursing Home Care

    Pressure area care surfaces have long been used in nursing homes and the community but a lack of understanding and confusion around the products have seen many of the new support surfaces and new technologies under utilised.

    What Are The Different Types Of Support Surfaces Available

    There are two main approaches to preventing pressure ulcers using support surfaces which are commonly utilised in nursing homes. These are known as active/ dynamic surfaces and static/ reactive surfaces.

     Each has a different function and capability for use according to different care needs of individuals. This is where confusion can set in, especially when using mattresses that are already in use within a nursing home setting. It may mean that a different surface is required but the right surface has not been specified, or the price of the specified surface may prohibit the purchase.

    Static /Reactive Surfaces

    Static systems may comprise of foam, foam and air, gel or layers of different foam densities. Some air-filled support surfaces allow air to escape through small holes and require a continuous pumped air supply. These are called low-air loss systems and are still classed as a static system. 

     A reactive/static mattress works on the principle of distributing the individual's weight over a maximum body surface area. It does this by conforming to the patient’s body contours to increase the area in contact with the support surface. It provides a constant low-pressure profile whereby the pressure at every contact point is reduced. This alleviates localised internal tissue loads to help prevent the development of a pressure ulcer. These can also be called ‘reduction surfaces.’

    Active/Dynamic Surfaces

    Active/dynamic systems, (also known as alternating or airwave mattresses) require a power supply to mechanically alter the pressure beneath a person, using a regulated cycle of inflation and deflation of cells of the support surface. This allows pressure to be taken from parts of the person and then reapplied, reducing the duration of pressure on the body. These can also be called ‘relief surfaces.’

    NB: Repositioning of the person is still required on alternating support surfaces as on static surfaces

     

    Hybrid support surface technology is now being recommended by Tissue Viability nurses in both community and nursing home settings and combines foam and air to maximise the benefits offered by both static and alternating surfaces. This makes choosing a mattress simpler and is one piece of equipment that is suitable for a much broader range of people.

    This has reduced some confusion and enables the surface to be used in a ‘step-up’ or ‘step-down’ approach regards to an individual’s care pathway. However, there is still a lack of clarity about what these products are, how they work and which patients they are suitable for, as there are two different types of hybrid support surfaces - those with a pump and those without a pump. The systems are designed to be suitable for a range of pressure ulcer risk levels and categories of tissue pressure damage.

    It is essential to check the information provided by the manufacturer to ensure that the correct mattress is used up to the appropriate risk level and category of pressure ulcer for individuals.

    Hybrids Without A Pump

    Non-powered hybrids work on the principle of air displacement. When a person repositions their weight, air moves within the mattress to surrounding cells for optimum pressure redistribution. This allows the mattress to conform to the shape of the person’s body as he or she moves, increasing the surface area in contact with the mattress and reducing the patient/support surface interface pressures. This minimises the potential for cell and tissue breakdown.

     

    Hybrids With A Pump

     

    Powered hybrids also consist of foam and air cells, most typically configured as a layer of foam (this may be simple foam or a castellated foam) at the top surface against the body, with a series of air cells beneath. 

    The mattress has air cells around the foam inserts, which provide a layer of alternating air cells above the foam.

     

     All of the powered hybrids in the non-powered mode function much like the non-powered hybrid mattresses. With the attachment of a powered pump, the mattress can inflate and deflate alternate air cells at regular intervals. Depending on where the air cells are in relation to where the individual touches the mattress, this can offer increased pressure redistribution or even intermittent offloading of pressure.

    How To Select The Correct Hybrid System For You

    When selecting a powered hybrid system, it is important to consider whether it offers both pressure redistribution in the static mode and pressure relief in the alternating mode. Hybrid systems where there is a layer of foam above the air cells provide active redistribution at a constant low pressure. Where the foam is positioned inside the air cells the system functions as an alternating pressure system, providing additional pressure relief in the powered mode. The presence of a foam core within the air cells means that air movement is not restricted by a top layer of foam and less air is required to inflate the cells, allowing the pump to be smaller and more efficient.

     

    The Top Benefits of Using Hybrid Surface Technology

    Clinical Benefit

    The option for both static and alternating pressure therapy means a hybrid surface can work to prevent and treat a wider range of pressure ulcer categories than either static or alternating surfaces alone. This removes the concern of transferring individuals from a static surface to an alternating one or vice versa – Stepping -up or Stepping-down. Instead, they can have the best of both by incorporating the powered pump. In the event of a power cut, hybrid mattresses still offer support so there’s no risk of finding your resident sinking through the mattress onto the bed frame, causing more damage and upset.

    Comfort Benefit

    Comfort is vital for rest, recovery and aid in the prevention of pressure ulcers. The air cells are encased by foam which moulds to the contoComfort is vital for rest, recovery and to aid in the prevention of pressure ulcers. The air cells are encased by foam which moulds to the contours of the body. When the mattress is in static mode the air cells remain full but with the layer of foam on top, this creates a soft and supportive flat surface for the patient. Part of being comfortable is also being able to lay in a quiet environmenturs of the body. 

    Active Dynamic surface pumps can often be loud and create buzzing noises and vibrations that can affect a resident's sleep and in turn, their mood and wellbeing. Hybrid pumps, in contrast, are remarkably quiet, creating a more calming environment for the user. Utilising SSKIN 3 will also aid in the comfort of the resident and cut down on pressure ulcer formations.

    Cost Benefit

    Due to the hybrid system incorporating both sets of technology you can use the mattress in 2 ways, saving on buying additional equipment and servicing. Hybrid technology surfaces still require cleaning and maintenance to make sure they are always in working order and hygienically clean for the next person who requires the equipment. Decontamination and service work can be carried out all at the same time cutting down on pre-planned maintenance and Pat testing. They also save on space as you only need to store one mattress and not two.

     You can view our range of hybrid mattresses on our website here 

    If you would like a full hybrid mattress demonstration at your home to understand how they can benefit your home why not get in touch call Belinda on 07968  994 660 or email [email protected]

    Watch the video on the benefits of a hybrid mattress here

  • Our Best Tips And Information In Support of Nutrition And Hydration Week 2021

    This week is Nutrition and Hydration week 2021 – an annual event sharing good nutrition and hydration practices, and as one of my passions is helping to share my knowledge and help care managers improve their mealtime experience for the ladies and gents they support, we have rounded up some of our most well-read and subject relevant articles to share with you, I hope you find them valuable.

    My first choice article is a very personal account of caring for my Mum living at home with vascular dementia for 6 years, and the transformation I was able to achieve with her eating and drinking and then wanting to share this with others

    Read the article here: How to help encourage people with dementia to eat better

     

    The second article was written in response to many people asking me for resources around hydration, so I researched and published "Getting the measure of hydration" to share information, best practice, and the latest hydration hacks

    Read the article here: Getting the measure of hydration

    And my final choice explores  complex interactions with the mealtime environment which people living with dementia experience, which added to other eating difficulties that can prevent nutritional intake, and highlights top suggestions to improve the dining experience

     

    Read more: Our top 10 recommendations to help you to improve the dining experience for people you support with a Dementia

    For everyone out there who cares for a person/people living with dementia, I want you to know, I see you and I hear you, I have walked a mile in your shoes and I understand your challenges.

    I have written a  free resource guide to help you, to share my knowledge, to share what I learned and what works, you can download it here

    And in recognition of N&H Week, I am offering 10 half-hour discovery calls for anyone who would like to discuss their challenges supporting people living with dementia to eat well, and hopefully offer some advice and pointers.

    Book your discovery call today 

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