Currently we cannot guarantee we will be able to fulfil all orders for products that are linked with the Coronavirus. Therefore please call our sales office on 01773 713713 to check stock availability before you place your order, Thank you.

HCS - Latest News

  • How To Help And Encourage People With Dementia To Eat Better

    How To Help And Encourage People With Dementia To Eat Better (1)

    For ladies and gents living with Dementia, there are complex interactions with the mealtime environment plus many eating difficulties which can affect nutritional intake.

    Jo Bonser, MD of HCSUK, speaks from personal experience on this very prevalent challenge, as she helped to care for her own Mum who was living at home with Vascular Dementia.

    Continue reading

  • How Having A Dysphagia Management Plan Can Help Transform Meal Times

     

    The normal swallow is a complex process that involves precisely coordinated movements within the mouth (oral cavity), throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), and food pipe (oesophagus). Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties. Some people with dysphagia have problems swallowing certain foods or liquids, while others can’t swallow at all (NHS UK). People who have had a stroke, dementia, or have a progressive neurological condition e.g. Parkinson’s disease, MS, MND, or a respiratory condition could be at risk of developing dysphagia.

    This condition can cause:

    • distress/anxiety for resident/carers
    • loss of independence
    • loss of dignity
    • a person may avoid eating drinking in the presence of others
    • social exclusion
    • eating and drinking becomes a negative experience
    • reduced motivation to eat

    Care providers must take action to ensure that:-

    • Care plans refer to IDDSI descriptors International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative
    • All staff understand the IDDSI descriptors and how to ensure that food and drink is provided in a safe manner 
    • Advice is sought from specialists (SLT) whenever there is a risk of dysphagia 
    • Care plans and risk assessments are consistent
    • All staff have an understanding of the normal swallow and dysphagia and know where to get more information/knowledge
    • Staff are aware of the signs of swallowing problems especially for people in the risk categories listed above
    • Staff work quickly ensure that people with dysphagia can continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet

    The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) is a global standard. with terminology and definitions to describe texture modified foods and thickened fluids. used for individuals with dysphagia of all ages, in all care settings, and for all cultures.

    With correct plans in place, dining can be transformed and the mealtime experience for residents can be amazing. This has an improved experience for carers, friends, and families as well. Staff should be aware of the contents of the individual’s nutrition/hydration care plan and any Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) recommendations and if any changes are made then make sure staff know about the changes and record appropriately.

    All staff should document accurately in food/fluid charts (if applicable) and should know how to raise concerns about the individual’s eating and drinking.

    Think about the environment around the dining experience and check the following:

    • Reduce distractions and background noise
    • Ensure that the lighting is correct, so food is visible and looks appealing
    • Encourage socialisation, unless the individual dislikes it or it puts them at risk
    • Ensure that the dining rooms are well presented with appropriate furniture and table settings
    • Ensure that the individual can sit at their preferred location/table
    • Utensils Should be adult appropriate
    • Consider size and shape
    • Consider specialist equipment if required
    • Avoid ‘bibs’
    • Avoid beakers - especially spouted ones!

    As part of the plan, 'timing' is a factor which will allow for a more independent approach for residents especially being flexibility of timing. You can also create the following as part of the plan:-

    How a person is positioned also has to be taken into consideration when thinking of mealtimes:

    Optimum positioning is:

    • Supportive chair at a table
    • Upright at 90 degrees
    • Midline o both feet flat on floor
    • Chin tilted slightly down

    Also:

    • Use supports, cushions and rolled towels to help achieve this and assistance at mealtimes if required
    • Wash hands (staff and the individual)
    • Protect clothing (staff and residents if appropriate).
    • Sit upright at same level as the resident
    • Ensure the resident has correct dentures, glasses, hearing aids
    • Ensure correct utensils and food/fluid consistencies
    • Ensure correct food temperature

    Maintain conversation (about the food/other topics).

    • Explain about the food/ask preferences
    • Observe for difficulties
    • Allow as much independence as possible
    • Ensure face, hands and clothing are clean
    • Ensure the individual remains upright for at least 30 minutes

    The choice of food should be wide and varied with a nice presentation and an appropriate portion size. Check the consistency is correct and that the taste is great.

    Allow as much time as needed and ensure mouth is clear of food. Complete mouth care as needed with dignity. Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of aspiration pneumonia from bacteria in food residue, dentures, cavities and saliva.

    What do you need to do?

    Use a small-headed toothbrush. If possible use a sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) free toothpaste. Brush the tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath. Some people with restricted movements or confusion/memory problems may need help to brush their teeth.

    No need to rinse – leave the toothpaste to penetrate the teeth. Rinse the toothbrush in water and always leave it to air dry. It is also important to clean dentures – do NOT use Steradent, only use toothpaste, and brush and rinse after with water.

    If you have any questions relating to IDDSI or are coming across challenges implementing the system and would like further guidance or training then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us as at [email protected] or telephone us on 01773 713713 we have a great network of experts who can help you.  

    The CQC refer to this issue in their “Learning from safety incidents”- issue 6, this details a case study where a care plan was not updated to reflect the advice of dysphagia specialists leading to choking incidents.

    Also you can request your FREE copy of our Dignified Dining Solutions Guide – to help people with Dementia to eat better, which includes best practice advice and tips to help support your ladies and gents with Dysphagia to enjoy more independent and dignified mealtimes or visit our website to view our range of fit for purpose product solutions  to help enable people living with Dysphagia.

     

  • Measuring the value of attaining accurate sizing for patient slings

    The use and correct sizing of hoists and slings is an integral part of delivering health and social care services

    The MHRA published a safety warning entitled “Size Matters”, which highlights the importance of assessing the sling size correctly due to the number of incidents that have occurred when slings hadn't been the correct size.

    So why is it so important to get sling sizing right and yet so easy to get it wrong?

    The use of hoists and slings is an integral part of delivering health and social care services. Although this can reduce musculoskeletal risks, there are other risks associated with hoisting people. Each year a significant number of incidents are reported in which people have been injured while being moved using hoisting equipment. An average of 120 incidents per year are reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

    The degree of injury varies, depending on the vulnerability of the hoisted person, the nature and consequences of the fall and what the falling person makes contact with. Falls during hoisting have resulted in severe injuries, from broken bones through to fatalities.

    It is very important to use the correct sized sling and ensure it is properly fitted before attempting to lift. This will ensure the person being lifted feels safe, dignified and comfortable. It will also provide a carer with confidence that they can achieve the transfer required and that the procedure will be executed in an effective and safe manner

    There is a risk of using an inappropriately sized sling if you make assumptions without checking the suitability of a specific sling for an individual

    The consequences of selecting of the wrong sling size can include discomfort for the individual if the sling is too small leading to potential skin damage and a risk of the person slipping through the sling if it is too large and suffering personal injury which could include bruising, bone fracture, hospitalisation or death.

    Slings, like shoes, support your weight. Logic follows (and practice proves) that just like shoes, a good fit is important for comfort.

    Manufacturers Sizing

    One of the key challenges for care staff when assessing and selecting appropriate slings is that sizing and colour coding can vary tremendously between manufacturers. Most manufacturers use small, medium, large, extra-large, etc to gauge their sizes. However, they all have their own interpretations of what small and large are. For example, two ‘large’ slings manufactured by separate companies may have completely contrasting dimensions – the body of the slings may be a different length. This can be very confusing and mistakes can easily be made.

    Solution:

    Measuring accurately to achieve a comfortable and correct sling fit is possible by following these three basic components:

    Using a tape measure that is not stretched or fabric you can follow the assessment below.

    Patient height

    Patient waist (girth)size (when applying the sling on the patient)

    Patient thighs size (when applying the sling on the patient)

    In most cases only the height needs to be measured. For some patients also the waist and thighs might need to be measured. Other factors including the individual’s physical disabilities, weight distribution and general physique need to be taken into consideration.

    Height Measurement

    The patient can either be in a seated or laying position whilst taking a height measurement. The more accurate measurements are taking from specific points. If you measure nape of neck to coccyx, knee to hip, etc, etc, you will accumulate inaccuracies and almost always result in a person measuring taller than they really are, potentially leading to a sling that is too big for them. For optimum accuracy when dealing with height, measure a person whilst they are lying flat on a bed.

    Waist (Girth)size

    Measure right around the hips on women or right around the chest just under the arms on men and children. Look at the manufacturers size table and you will see which size that should give the best fit.

    Thighs size

    After properly fitting the waist, place the leg pieces around the sides of the hips and legs, then under the thighs and up between the legs. If the sling has been applied correctly, the patient’s thighs should only be in contact with the padded portion of the leg pieces.

    Weight Capacity

    Clearly stated on the manufacturers label of each sling is the safe working load. Some slings vary so always check the label before use and remember to check the safe working load of the hoist prior to lifting a patient as it may differ to that of the sling.

    You can request a copy of our free Complete Sling Measuring Guide by emailing us today at [email protected] 

    Loop configuration

    Sling designs will alter over time, so a new sling from a manufacturer may differ in size or attachment strap length from one previously purchased. Some slings come with a range of different length loops for attachment to the hoist. These can be used to increase the comfort of the individual or put them in a more reclined or upright position.

    However, you should take great care to choose the correct loops for the individual, as per their care plan, to ensure they are not at risk of slipping from the sling, and to use the same loop configuration on both sides to reduce the risk of the person falling from the sling sideways.

    No alt text provided for this image

    Sling safety checks

    After the correct size and type of sling has been attained and before it can be used, a check making sure it is fit for purpose will then need to be done.

    1)   Check the sling and hoist are compatible

    2)   all labels are legible and show the SWL and unique identifier and size.

    3)   Make sure there are no signs of fraying, tears or deterioration etc.

    4)   Check all stitching is present and intact and the Velcro (if applicable) is clean and free of fibres/fluff etc and the buckle (if applicable) has no signs of damage etc.

    5)   Finally check the loops/clips have no obvious signs of damage, fraying etc; and it has been cleaned.

    6)   Ensure there are adequate systems in place for maintenance and inspection of hoists and slings in line with the manufacturer’s instructions, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and LOLER. The MHRA device bulletin on managing medical devices, DB2006(05), gives some guidance on this topic.

    Hcsuk have a dedicated and knowledgeable team who will be more than happy to answer any questions or queries you have relating to hoist maintenance and service, including LOLER. Testing. We can also assist with the risk assessment and measurements for slings and the proper usage of different slings.

    Grab your free sling measuring guide by emailing [email protected] and subscribe to our weekly new bulletin designed to add value to every care organisation.

    Other Hcsuk Articles you might find interesting...

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    How are care homes coping without access to care professionals to help with essential care equipment assessments during lockdown?

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  • How to achieve accurate and instant temperature checking for staff and visitors to care homes

    How to achieve accurate and instant temperature checking

    Hcsuk Mounted Thermometer

    According to the British Geriatrics Society latest resource: Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic in Care Homes

    ‘For most residents in care homes, the risks of exposure to COVID-19 from visitors outweigh the benefits. Exceptions may include residents nearing the end of life and some residents with a mental health disorder such as dementia, autism or learning disability where absence of visiting from an immediate family member or carer would cause distress. Therefore, visiting policies should be based upon individualised risk-assessments and shared decision making with residents, their families and care home staff.

    The guidance is clear that even as lockdown measures are being slowly lifted and visitors are being allowed tentative contact with their loved ones, the very real risk of exposure to COVID-19 remains and care homes are all extremely anxious to take every precaution to avoid a second wave.

    The full guidance for Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic in Care Homes can be viewed here.

    With temperature checking now becoming a normal part of life in care homes, for residents, staff and visitors, this can be time consuming, labour intensive and with ongoing costs on consumables.

    Using a wall mounted infrared thermometer allows staff and visitor temperatures to be screened instantly and effectively and without contact. A motion sensor on the thermometer is activated with the infrared enables the temperature to be taken. It protects residents, staff and visitors, improving health and safety without creating queues or delays.

    With our care homes opening up to more visitors and with staff, who have been in self isolation and in some cases screened, processes to allow access need to be not only robust but also easy and time efficient to allow staff to be where they are needed and not checking temperatures of visitors and returning staff.

    Hcsuk have been researching this with a number of care homes and this wall mounted thermometer has proved to be one of the best solutions. We now have these thermometers available to care homes, nursing homes and also for offices and other facilities such as clinics and nurseries.

    In the main reception areas and staff entrances you can now do the following:

    • Fast, effective temperature screening

    • Non-contact – to avoid cross-infection

    • Instant audio/visual warning if temperature is high

    The thermometer can be set up exactly where you need it:

    Thanks to long lasting battery power, with auto power-off (or the USB power lead, included) you can set position of this thermometer anywhere. Wall fixings are provided, but with a screw fitting on the bottom, the thermometer can be fixed to a tripod or stand, too. Making this a very versatile and very useful piece of equipment which can be used time and time again to help protect residents, staff and visitors.

    The guidance states that the thermometer should be placed in an area for up to an hour before first use. This gives the thermometer time to acclimatise to the room which it is situated in. We also advise that this is not placed too close to an entrance where there may be a cold breeze for example. If you have difficulty with this we do have engineers on hand to help understand where the best position would be to have the thermometer placed within your facility.

    https://hcsuk.co.uk/wnews/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/21213-Wall-Mounted-Thermometer-Image.jpg

    Specification

    Dimensions: 170mm x 115mm x 140mm

    Measuring distance: 5cm - 10cm

    Response time: 0.5 seconds

    Infrared measuring range: 0ºC - 50ºC

    Measuring accuracy: 34ºC - 45ºC ± 0.2ºC

    Power: USB or 18650 Li-ion rechargeable battery

    Input: DC 4.2 - 5V

    Certification: CE ROHS FC

    How does this automatic thermometer work?

    This infrared thermometer is designed as a screening tool to detect high temperature in individuals as they enter a building. The thermometer can be wall mounted, using the rear screw hooks, or stand mounted, using the screw fixing on the bottom.

    Here is a short explanatory video...

    The non contact temperature sensor detects motion, using infrared read a person's temperature instantly and display it on the LED screen. Healthy temperatures are accompanied by a single beep and green LEDs; high (fever) temperatures are accompanied by a continuous warning beep and red LEDs.

    Readings are high accuracy (34ºC - 45ºC ± 0.2ºC).

    Because the thermometer is automatic - responding to motion and then reading temperature using infrared - it not only means that contact is not required and therefore avoids cross infection, but also means an employee is not needed to take the temperatures. This makes it perfect for shops, factories and warehouses, schools and medical centres, where many people are likely to enter a building through the day and will need their temperature taking quickly and easily.

    Order your Mounted Infrared Thermometer here

    To get a FREE copy of a Staff Temperature Monitoring Chart please email [email protected]

    Contact Us Today

     

    Other Hcsuk Articles you might find interesting...

    Are your mattresses hygienically clean, or just physically clean? Our complete guide to mattress decontamination. 

    At a time when infection control and prevention is paramount in care homes, how do you ensure that your mattresses are hygienically clean as well as physically clean?

    Read more...

    How are care homes coping without access to care professionals to help with essential care equipment assessments during lockdown?

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  • How improving oral hygiene can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19

    As part of National Smile Month which aims to help us achieve good physical and mental well-being by promoting and improving oral health, we wanted to highlight just how important good oral care is right now and how it can help to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

    We know that in most cases, COVID-19 infection is spread via respiratory droplets such as coughing and sneezing and as these droplets are derived from saliva, the effect of lowering levels of bacteria and viruses in the mouth through toothbrushing and regular cleaning of dentures can only help to reduce the number of viral particles present in the atmosphere.

    In addition to these measures, regular rinsing with mouthwashes that contain 1% Hydrogen Peroxide have been demonstrated to be effective against COVID-19.

    Therefore supporting mouthcare for residents who are unwell with COVID-19, or symptoms, is not only an important part of their overall patient care, but can also reduce the spread of the infection to others.

    Here at Hcsuk, we have set out the latest best practice guidance on oral care for residents with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19, from Public Health England and guide you through our fit for purpose oral care product range helping you to give your residents the best possible mouthcare to improve their health and wellbeing.

    If oral hygiene is neglected, residents’ mouths will rapidly become dry and sore. The aim of good mouthcare is to maintain oral cleanliness, prevent additional infection and reduce the likelihood of developing bacterial pneumonia.

    On admission, it is important to include an oral assessment for each resident in their care plan.

    When providing mouthcare for residents with COVID-19 staff must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent contact and droplet transmission. This means wearing disposable gloves, plastic apron, eye protection and a fluid resistant face mask. Delivering mouthcare is not an aerosol generating procedure. However, the environment you are working in may require the use of enhanced PPE (e.g. if working where patients are ventilated.)

    Two additional really useful tools to have handy when delivering oral care are a pen torch to enable you to see properly what is happening inside your resident’s mouth (which can be a dark place) and also a Bedi Shield designed to help facilitate oral care with dignity and in a safe, efficient and unobtrusive manner.

    Mouthcare for non-ventilated residents

     • if residents are having oxygen via a face mask, check with the nurse in charge before removing this for the time needed to carry out mouthcare 

    • assess your resident and consider if they can brush their own teeth, or if you need to help them to keep their mouth moist and clean

     • these residents are more likely to cough when performing mouth care, be gentle, stand to the side or behind them, take breaks to allow the patient to rest and swallow 

    • if possible, sit your resident upright

    • if your resident has a dry mouth, encourage sips of fluid (unless nil by mouth), hydrate with a toothbrush or an oral swab dipped in water or apply available dry mouth gel to their tongue, inside of their cheeks and roof of their mouth using an oral cleanser 

    • make sure your resident’s lips are kept moist with a nourishing lip balm particularly before cleaning

     • if your resident can brush their own teeth give them a soft, small headed toothbrush  with a smear of non-foaming toothpaste 

    • do not use an electric toothbrush as this may cause droplets and splash

    • if your resident can spit, give them a disposable bowl to spit into  

    • if your resident is unable to spit and bedside suction is available, and you are trained to use it, then use gentle oral suctioning to remove excess saliva and toothpaste

     • after brushing rinse their brush, and store with their toothpaste in a sealed named container 

    • if a resident has false teeth (dentures) encourage them to remove these after meals to clean off debris with a toothbrush. Remove dentures at night and store dry, in a named denture pot.

     • residents may not wish to wear dentures when unwell and it is important that they are stored in a named denture pot to avoid them getting lost 

    • if eating, encourage residents to have a few sips of water after meals to clear any left-over food from their mouth

    • if a resident is confused, refuses, or resists care, stop and try again later, remembering to record any non-compliance in their care plan.

    To try and help make life easier for you during what must be both an incredibly busy and stressful time for care managers we have put together a COVID-19 Complete Oral Care Solution Pack which contains everything you need, as described above to deliver effective oral care for your residents with COVID-19, or suspected COVID-19 in one hygienic and reusable plastic box.

    This guidance outlines mouthcare for adults and children with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 who are non-ventilated and those having step down or end of life care.

    If you would like any further information, assistance or samples of any of our oral care products included in this article, then please don’t hesitate to contact our Business Development Manager Jan Kelly on her mobile 07968 994660 or email her at [email protected]

  • Are your mattresses hygienically clean, or just physically clean? Our complete guide to mattress decontamination.

    At a time when infection control and prevention is paramount in care homes, how do you ensure that your mattresses are hygienically clean as well as physically clean?

    Regulation 12 of CQC KLOE’s – safe care and treatment outlines that Providers must make sure that equipment being used is safe and that includes prevention of and controlling the spread of infection.

    Close contact between residents and mattresses means that transmission of microorganisms between residents and mattresses and vice versa is facilitated. Bed components such as bed frames, mattresses and side rails may become contaminated with micro-organisms through direct contact with the skin scales and body fluids, thereby becoming the source of infections and or cross infection.

    Poor maintenance of foam mattresses and their covers may lead to staining of the foam or inner surfaces of the mattress covers. Recent research highlights that different types of trauma to mattress covers can result in damage which is not visible to the naked eye, but can allow fluid to enter the mattress.

    During the current epidemic, infection control is paramount, and although wiping down of a mattress can give the illusion of physical cleanliness, it does not guarantee that the risk of infection is eliminated.

    When wiping a mattress over for a general clean think about the zips, the whole top cover including the covers over the zips, under edges of mattresses where a build-up of contaminate is at most risk, bases of the mattresses and if the cover is damaged the interior foam/cells might be contaminated.

    We have a FREE Complete Mattress Decontamination Guide available when you subscribe to our weekly news bulletins. Email us at [email protected] to receive your free copy today.

    What’s the difference between cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of mattresses?

    There is more than one correct method for decontaminating mattresses. The recommended method varies depending on the perceived infection risk and prevention protocols.

    Here are the key differences between each method:

    • Cleaning physically removes dirt, germs and bacteria from the surface of the mattress using detergents. You should use a disposable cleaning wipe, or a clean cloth dampened with warm water (at least 40 °C) and detergent.
    • Disinfection uses chemicals to kill bacteria on the mattress. You should use a disinfectant, such as a mild chlorine solution, on a disposable cloth. Then wait, don’t wipe the mattress dry immediately, leave at least 5 minutes so the disinfectant has enough contact time to kill the bacteria. A hot washing machine cycle is also an option for disinfecting mattress covers.
    • Sterilisation uses heat or chemicals to kill all microbes on the mattress. This means that sterilisation eliminates harmless microbes as well as harmful ones, ensuring anything which disinfection may have missed will also be destroyed.

    Here's how to clean your mattress according to risk level...

    Infection Risk - Low

    When the mattress has not been in contact with a patient or has only been in contact with healthy skin.

    Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning

    Infection Risk - Medium

    When the mattress has been in contact with mucous membranes; is at risk of contamination with virulent or readily transmissible organisms; has been in contact with blood or bodily fluids; or is going to be used for someone with a compromised immune system.

    Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning followed by disinfection

    Infection Risk - High

    When the mattress has been in close contact with broken skin or broken mucous membranes or is going to be used in a sterile area.

    Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning followed by sterilisation

    It is recommended, as part of the PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) that all mattresses undergo a decontamination process at least once a year or more if needed in order for your organisation to remain compliant.

    With our mattress decontamination service, you can rest assured that your residents’ mattresses are just as clean as their sheets.

    Hcsuk offer a full certificated decontamination, diagnostic and repair service on a wide range of static, hybrid, dynamic alternating pressure, bariatric and turning mattresses as well as air/foam cushion seating supports and cot bumpers.

    The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency recommends that mattresses have their covers removed and are inspected inside to check the surface and the mattress core for staining or contamination.

    With our Mattress Decontamination Service we can take care of it all for you, ensuring the mattress is cleaned to MHRA standards - we will even arrange your collection and redelivery*. Your residents can sleep snug-as-a-bug in a clean, safe bed.

    To book your mattress decontamination now, contact Rachel at [email protected]

    This essential service:

    • Meets PUWER regulations - from the HSE
    • Meets DoH95 (18) - regulations
    • Immersion process formulated to kill HCAIs (Healthcare Associated Infections)
    • Demonstrates you are operating a ‘Safe’ service to CQC, under Regulation 12.

    The decontamination facility we use has been built with infection control in mind throughout, including separate “contaminated” and “decontaminated” areas. Both areas have their own entries and exits to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

    Staff at all times adhere to strict hygiene policy, and colour coded gloves/aprons are used in each of the areas.

    The facilities have been viewed and approved by NHS/PCT trusts and our service offers a swift turn-around, usually 7-10 days.

    What is the decontamination process used?

    The top/base cover of each mattress is removed and laundered to DoH specification using only non-biological detergents.

    The inners (cells) of the mattress are then transferred into our immersion tank which is filled with a biocidal solution that is proven to kill HCAI's (healthcare associated infections) includingMRSA, C-Diff, Ecoli, Salmonella. It also has a pleasant fragrance which removes unpleasant odours. The chemical actually kills on impact but the whole tank process takes around 20-30 minutes to ensure that every mattress gets an intensive decontaminatio

    In addition to cleaning your mattress, it will also go through a diagnostic health check as part of our service and we can provide quotes and recommendations for any repairs to ensure you get the most life out of your mattresses too. No work is carried out until you have agreed to quotes for any work required.

    Want more? What about a loan mattress?

    For £40 we will loan you a mattress to use whilst yours is being cleaned! So you can be sure you have the equipment in place for your residents as all times.

    All equipment has a complete audit trail, once cleaned and quality checked, all systems are certificated with a decontamination certificate as evidence that the equipment has completed our decontamination procedure.

    Book your mattress decontamination by contacting Rachel at: [email protected]

    Don't forget your FREE Complete Mattress Decontamination Guide by subscribing to Hcsuk weekly news bulletins. To subscribe, email us at [email protected] to request your copy.

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    Saying hello to Jan, newest member of our Hcsuk family

    We are delighted to announce that Jan Kelly joined the business and has a wealth of experience working In the care sector, having worked for Medequip, Essential Healthcare and Wallace Cameron.

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  • How are care homes coping without access to care professionals to help with essential care equipment assessments during lockdown?

    With care professionals unable to visit care homes at the moment due to lockdown, to undertake assessments and make recommendations to improve comfort, safety, independence and mobility of residents, Hcsuk are pleased to be able to add to our already extensive range of products and services to care homes, by offering you a remote equipment assessment service via our latest recruit to the business, Jan Kelly, who is a  Level 2 qualified SADL Trusted Assessor with many years’ experience working in the care industry, with well respected companies including Medequip.

    I asked Jan, in her vast experience, how this service can help care homes during this challenging time.

    By utilising my skills as a qualified Trusted Assessor to conduct remote assessments for equipment and aids to daily living in care home environments, I am able to help care providers:

    - Reduce unplanned hospital admissions,

    - Reduce the current wait time for an OT visit,

    - Improve the quality of care and experience for care home residents and...

    Increase staff confidence levels and assessment skills for nurses in care home settings.’

    In normal circumstances, an assessment would require a care professional to attend in person and interact with a resident and staff both verbally and physically. In the absence of this being achievable, currently, we are able to assist with remote assessments to get as much information as possible to make an educated decision that leads to prompt care and the best outcome for the resident.

    Jan went on to say:

    ‘I am able to assess residents remotely, working in conjunction with the resident and care home staff communicating in real time between ourselves .

    Although such consultations can be done by telephone, in many cases, video provides additional visual cues and therapeutic presence, so by using technology, including Zoom or WhatsApp we can work together to achieve improved resident outcomes.’

    Being able to see residents in their environment is paramount, as it provides additional information to what is being communicated verbally and can give me clues which may not be verbalised by the resident or noticed by the care staff.

    Regardless of the ability to obtain a visual assessment, verbalisation and talking to the resident and carers can provide additional valuable information. Having both verbal and visual abilities exponentially increases information, but this is not always feasible.

    We are hearing from care providers that in the current crisis there is a lack of availability of care professionals to undertake assessments even when residents conditions are deteriorating. This can lead to avoidable unplanned hospital admissions which can be confusing and unsettling for residents who are often frail and potentially lead to further deterioration in their condition.

    By undertaking remote assessments we hope to reduce unplanned admissions, reduce the current wait time for a professional’s visit, improve the quality of care and experience for the care home resident and increase staff confidence levels and assessment skills for nurses in the care home setting.

     

    If Jan can help you with any remote assessments or queries or challenges you may be having with  seating, moving and handling, pressure area care or any other area to help improve the safety, comfort, and independence of any of your residents at this time, then please don’t hesitate to contact Jan on 07968 994660 or email her at [email protected]

  • Good news on PPE! And how Hcsuk is monitoring stock levels of essential products to help fight COVID-19

    Some good news at last for social care this week, that temporary VAT zero rating for Personal Protective Equipment has been agreed to aid sectors that cannot recover VAT on such goods due to their VAT exempt status. This will help care homes, to relieve the burden of VAT on the price of purchasing PPE used for protection from coronavirus by front line workers.
    This measure is effective from May 1st – July 31st 2020 .

    Products covered by the zero rate include:

    • disposable gloves
    • disposable plastic aprons
    • disposable fluid-resistant coveralls or gowns
    • surgical masks – including fluid-resistant type IIR surgical masks
    • filtering face piece respirators
    • eye and face protection – including single or reusable full face visors or goggles

    Full details can be viewed at: www.gov.uk

    As PPE as well as other products continue to remain a hot topic in the news, we receive many calls from customers wanting to check on our stock levels and supply chains of vital products. As a result, we thought we would take the opportunity in this week’s blog to update you with where we are with our stock levels and what we do have to offer you to help you to protect your staff and residents during the COVID-19 epidemic.

    Please be assured of our continued integrity throughout these unprecedented times, that we are working in partnership with our suppliers and have made a commitment to them that we will only supply essential items of PPE to front line care workers and that we will not artificially inflate any of our pricing.

    Disposable Gloves
    We are currently continuing to receive ‘business as usual’  monthly stock levels on our medial grade vinyl gloves, and we continue to manage our stock by  prioritising our existing customers requirements exclusively. You may notice we have disabled certain products on our website, this is to protect certain lines to ensure we have sufficient stock available for our loyal and existing customers.

    The supply of nitrile gloves continues to be a challenge and at the moment we are being conditioned that this may not change until July.

    Disposable Aprons
    The supply chain on disposable aprons is quite challenging at the moment with our regular supplier quoting us dates in July for our next shipment, and we are getting close to exhausting our current stock levels.

    We are following up some potential supply opportunities, and whilst we remain hopeful that we will be able to obtain additional stock in the coming weeks, we would always also want to remain transparent with our customers and not promise something we can’t deliver on. So we will keep you updated as and when we have more news on stock availability of these items.

    Face Masks
    We are continuing to promote our alternative UK manufactured non-disposable respirator face masks which are now in stock and available for delivery.

    The manufacturers have put a lot of thought into the design, functionality and safety of this mask to ensure it is:

    • lightweight and comfortable for the wearer
    • meets infection control protocols and being
    • is effective against both droplets and airborne particles
    • superior in quality to the surgeons masks and
    • giving peace of mind to both staff and providers that they are getting enhanced protection.

    Eye Protection

    We have secured a credible supply of CE marked disposable lightweight face shield with soft elasticated strap and an anti-fog coating which protects the face and eyes from splashing or spraying of infectious or hazardous substances.

    The disposable face shields are manufactured from optically clear polyester for maximum visibility, whilst the soft elastic strap and PU foam headband provide additional, long-term comfort and durability.

    The product can be worn with or without additional face protection, such as prescription or protective eyewear and face masks.

    Key Features

    • Anti-fog protection
    • Optically clear visor for maximum visibility
    • PU foam headband for long-term comfort
    • Soft elasticated strap
    • Lightweight design
    • Protects the face and eyes from splashing or spraying
    • Can be worn with or without eyewear protection and face masks
    • CE Marked

    Hand Hygiene

    Effective hand cleansing is still classed as the best first line of defence against coronavirus and we are now receiving regular deliveries again of our best selling Cutan Foaming Soap and the 1 Litre dispensers for safe dispensing.

    Hand Sanitising with an alcohol based sanitiser ( with a minimum of 60% alcohol as an active ingredient, compliant with BE EN 1500:2013) will kill germs and provide a high level of skin disinfection on visible clean hands.

    We now have good stock levels of  Sterile 73% Alcohol based Gel Sanitiser available in 12x500ML bottles.

    A quick acting, non-tainting food safe alcohol hand rub approved to both BS EN 1500 and BS EN 2176, Sterile is suitable for frequent use in medical and care service applications and is effective against a wide range of common organisms.

    Built in skin conditioners prevent drying of skin whilst not leaving any sticky residue.

    Proven to kill Influenza Type A Flu Virus Effective against Avian and Swine flu viruses Kills 99.999% of E-Coli and MRSA.

    Premium Red Soluble Strip Laundry Sacks

    Our premium quality laundry sacks offer a hygienic solution to handling soiled laundry and avoid double handling of dirty linen. They are designed with a special dissolving strip that dissolves when in contact with water.

    We have good stock levels of these available to purchase.

    New product! Orange heavy duty clinical waste sacks for safe infectious waste disposal.

    Using orange clinical waste sacks to dispose of your infectious waste ensures that you and your care facility complies with current best practice infection prevention and waste regulations.

    Customers have been requesting best practice advice and product solutions for the safe disposal of infectious waste so we have added this to our infection prevention range.

     

    Effective Surface Decontamination

    The Coronavirus is not currently available for commercial laboratories to test against so although we cannot give a definitive contact time and dilution rate, our surface disinfection product Selgiene Ultra Virucidal Cleaner has been assessed for virucidal activity following test methods such as BS EN 14476 and BS EN 14675. Results show they are effective against a range of viruses such as the H1N1 influenza virus, Norovirus, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and the Ebola virus.

    We would therefore recommend using the below product for general disinfection in the infection prevention and control for the 2019-nCoV on frequently touched surfaces including hand rails, door handles, light switches etc.

    Product                       Concentration       Contact time
    Selgiene Ultra (5 litres)      1:10                    5 minutes
    Selgiene Ultra RTU              Neat                   5 minutes

    We have good stock levels of Selgiene Ultra available now to order.

    Where specific cases are suspected or identified we would recommend an additional step of applying 1000ppm bleach (after pre-cleaning with Selgiene). We advise the use of Selgiene for pre-cleaning to minimise the risk that the cleaning cloths become a source of cross contamination.

     

    To achieve 1000ppm bleach see below:
    Product                 

    Chlorine Tablets

    Preparation:

    1 tablet in 1L water

    Concentration:      

    1000ppm

    Contact time:

    15 minutes

    Please note, all of the products listed are subject to availability, we advise you to order any  stock you may need today to avoid disappointment.

    If you would like any more help or information regarding how to protect your  staff, residents and your home from Coronavirus please contact Hcsuk on 01773 713713 or email us at [email protected]

     

     

     

  • How Hcsuk Servicing is helping to keep care homes safe and compliant with LOLER testing of essential patient lifting equipment during COVID-19, in conjuction with latest HSE guidance

    The HSE has issued new guidance for care providers on LOLER testing during the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) due to challenges faced by industry in meeting the requirements to complete statutory thorough examination and testing (TE&T) of equipment to meet duties under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).

    They have identified four key issues which may cause difficulties in completing routine TE&T:

    • Reduced availability of engineers to complete TE&T due to sickness absence or self-isolation as a direct result of COVID-19

    • Owners of equipment (dutyholders) refusing access to premises for TE&T as they feel unable to accommodate visiting engineers while maintaining social distancing (SD) in the workplace

    • Refusal of engineers to enter a dutyholder’s premises to carry out TE&T due to concerns over social distancing arrangements being adequate

    • Equipment being unavailable for TE&T if a workplace or site is closed due to COVID-19 SD restrictions

    Effectively in these cases TE&T may not be taking place due to either unavailability of or unwillingness of competent persons to deliver the service, or due to dutyholder's inability or unwillingness to give access to the equipment for testing.

    CEO of the British Healthcare Trades Association, Simon Festing, has responded to concerns that health and care establishments are cancelling equipment maintenance visits; and that people may not receive the support they need for equipment in their own homes:

    “Inspection and testing of equipment such as hoists and bathlifts is necessary to ensure these items continue to be safe for use, as covered under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER) Regulations 1998*.

    “If establishments are in lock-down, consideration should be given to whether the equipment can be brought to an outside location for testing and maintenance. If this is not possible, a risk assessment should be carried out, balancing the risk of allowing access to the equipment in situ and then cleaning and disinfecting, against the risk of the item failing if it is not taken out of use until inspection and testing can be carried out.

    “Service providers will need to exercise judgement to determine what would be classed as essential need based on a risk assessment around patient /client safety, especially where a home visit may be necessary to assess, install and service equipment.

    “Hospitals and care establishments will need to consider the wide range of equipment in use and ensure essential maintenance is carried out.  Access to deliver staff training on the safe operation of equipment may also be essential, especially if staff are being switched to roles they would not normally carry out.”

     *The Provision and Use of Work Equipment (PUWER) Regulations 1998 also require that lifting equipment used at work is maintained, and a blanket lock down on maintenance may result in equipment that is used on a daily basis having to be taken out of use.’

    HSE states
    ‘Care providers are expected to make all reasonable efforts to arrange for TE&T to be carried out within statutory time limits. Equipment should only be used outside of its test regime, if the dutyholder can demonstrate that its use is critical and that it can still be operated safely. They may have additional concerns that as well as possible problems in the availability of a competent person to undertake the TE&T, the vulnerability of those they provide care for means that additional COVID19 infection measures need to be implemented. Before agreeing to give the competent person access, they should undertake a risk assessment to review if the TE&T could be undertaken in a way that managed the COVID-19 risk to those receiving care and the visitor to site.’

    Here at Hcsuk, we wanted to reassure you that our servicing division continues as usual, albeit with the following appropriate measures being put in place, to ensure that you can continue to operate your lifting equipment safely whilst remaining compliant and protecting your staff and residents at the same time:

    • All of our team members have undergone basic infection control and hand hygiene training
    • We are fully equipped with appropriate PPE, portable hand sanitisers and virucidal cleaner, and understand the relevance and correct use of them all.
    • We understand and comply with social distancing measures which have been introduced.
    • We are working with individual servicing customers to respect and comply with any specific requests to maintain hygiene and safety whilst on site at their premises.
    • We have issued additional items of uniform to allow for more frequent laundering to maintain optimum hygiene levels.
    • We have a range of  moving and handling equipment available for purchase to eliminate the need for testing, and retain those out of test for subsequent use once they can be cleaned and examined at a later date.
    • Where possible we encourage portable equipment and slings be cleaned appropriately and moved within the premises to a point where infection control and social distancing measures can be observed to allow our team to  complete thorough examinations, or it is exchanged with equipment that has been tested.
    • We maintain real time information on all of our servicing customers who have either suspected or confirmed COVID- 19 cases so we can be fully prepared and take extra precautions when attending these sites.

    We can also help you with conducting remote moving and handling assessments, at a time when we can’t visit you personally. Our new Business Development Manager Jan Kelly, is a qualified equipment assessor and moving and handling is one of her specialised areas.

    If you require any assistance please contact her on her mobile number 07968 994660 or email her at [email protected]

    If, for whatever reason, you are unable to have your equipment tested in a timely manner, these are the steps you need to take:

    • Any equipment that is not needed is clearly identified as being taken out of use until arrangements can be made for TE&T at a later date.
    • Individual risk assessments are completed for fixed lifting devices where access  cannot be arranged. This includes communication with the our servicing team about additional checks that could be undertaken to help reduce the risk to those being cared for and the staff. Equipment under these additional risk control measures need to be clearly marked, to ensure checks are undertaken and so the lack of TE&T can be remedied at the earliest opportunity (once current restrictions ease

    Care providers need to document all of these measures, their risk assessments, decision making processes including, where relevant, the factors considered to justify continued use of equipment.

    If you would like to talk to us further about any aspect of this article or to discuss how Hcsuk Servicing could benefit your organisation, then call Rachel TODAY on 01773 713713 or email her at [email protected]

  • Hcsuk helping you to achieve latest best practice guidance on mouthcare for residents with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19

    The importance of good oral care in care settings has been in the spotlight since NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) published guidance over 3 years ago, and this has now become a priority with the Care Quality Commission. There is mounting evidence that shows an association between poor oral hygiene and a wide variety of illnesses including Pneumonia.

    Therefore supporting mouthcare for residents who are unwell with COVID-19, or symptoms, is an important part of their overall patient care.

    Here at Hcsuk, we set out the latest best practice guidance from Public Health England and guide you through our fit for purpose oral care product range helping you to give your residents the best possible mouthcare to improve their health and wellbeing.

    If oral hygiene is neglected, residents’ mouths will rapidly become dry and sore. The aim of good mouthcare is to maintain oral cleanliness, prevent additional infection and reduce the likelihood of developing bacterial pneumonia.

    On admission, it is important to include an oral assessment for each resident in their care plan.

    When providing mouthcare for residents with COVID19 staff must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent contact and droplet transmission. This means wearing disposable gloves, plastic apron, eye protection and a fluid resistant face mask. Delivering mouthcare is not an aerosol generating procedure. However, the environment you are working in may require the use of enhanced PPE (e.g. if working where patients are ventilated.)

    Two additional really useful tools to have handy when delivering oral care are a pen torch to enable you to see properly what is happening inside your resident’s mouth (which can be a dark place) and also a Bedi Shield designed to help facilitate oral care with dignity and in a safe, efficient and unobtrusive manner.

    Mouthcare for non-ventilated residents

     • if residents are having oxygen via a face mask, check with the nurse in charge before removing this for the time needed to carry out mouthcare

     • assess your resident and consider if they can brush their own teeth, or if you need to help them to keep their mouth moist and clean

     • these residents are more likely to cough when performing mouth care, be gentle, stand to the side or behind them, take breaks to allow the patient to rest and swallow

     • if possible, sit your resident upright

    • if your resident has a dry mouth, encourage sips of fluid (unless nil by mouth), hydrate with a toothbrush or an oral swab dipped in water or apply available dry mouth gel to their tongue, inside of their cheeks and roof of their mouth using an oral cleanser

    • make sure your resident’s lips are kept moist with a nourishing lip balm particularly before cleaning

     • if your resident can brush their own teeth give them a soft, small headed toothbrush  with a smear of non-foaming toothpaste

    • do not use an electric toothbrush as this may cause droplets and splash

    • if your resident can spit, give them a disposable bowl to spit into

    • if your resident is unable to spit and bedside suction is available, and you are trained to use it, then use gentle oral suctioning to remove excess saliva and toothpaste

    • after brushing rinse their brush, and store with their toothpaste in a sealed named container

    • if a resident has false teeth (dentures) encourage them to remove these after meals to clean off debris with a toothbrush. Remove dentures at night and store dry, in a named denture pot.

    • residents may not wish to wear dentures when unwell and it is important that they are stored in a named denture pot to avoid them getting lost

    • if eating, encourage residents to have a few sips of water after meals to clear any left-over food from their mouth

    • if a resident is confused, refuses, or resists care, stop and try again later, remembering to record any non-compliance in their care plan.

    To try and help make life easier for you during what must be both an incredibly busy and stressful time for care managers we have put together a COVID-19 Complete Oral Care Solution Pack which contains everything you need, as described above to deliver effective oral care for your residents with COVID-19, or suspected COVID-19 in one hygienic and reusable plastic box.

    Explore the COVID-19 Complete Oral Care Solution Pack

    This guidance outlines mouthcare for adults and children with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 who are non-ventilated and those having step down or end of life care.  

    If you would like any further information, assistance or samples of any of our oral care products included in this article, then please don’t hesitate to contact our Business Development Manager Jan Kelly on her mobile 07968 994660 or email her at [email protected]

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