Hi, I’m Lee Atterbury, your Servicing Co-ordinator here at Hcsuk. I work closely with our Field Service Engineer; Phil Cotton, who I’m sure a lot of you have come to know very well!
Hi, I’m Lee Atterbury, your Servicing Co-ordinator here at Hcsuk. I work closely with our Field Service Engineer; Phil Cotton, who I’m sure a lot of you have come to know very well!
There was not a dry eye in the packed Dementia Care Theatre at the recent Dementia and Care Expo, as our MD Jo Bonser delivered her seminar ‘Served with a smile, made with love: Why mealtimes are so much more than a plate full of food’ with VIP guests including Big Ian Donaghy, Jonathan Cunningham, Aileen Beatty, Dementia Lead at Akari Care and John Walton, Managing Director at Woodleigh Care.
Jo shared her very personal and moving story, described by one delegate as ‘inspiring’ of how she helped transform her Mum’s eating when the care professionals told her that her Mum, who was living with vascular dementia, was close to death, as she had given up on eating and drinking.
Jo took responsibility for her Mum’s mealtimes, did her research, observed her behaviour, made tweaks and interventions to her dining experience, and within weeks, her Mum was back to eating independently and went on to enjoy another 4 Christmas dinners before finally passing on Mother’s Day 2020.
As part of her presentation, Jo shared our new beautiful and powerful short film ‘Made with Love’ to highlight the importance of social engagement and inclusivity at mealtimes for everyone, including people living with dementia.
It has been described as ‘AWESOME, BRILLIANT, SUPERB, MOVING, AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, POWERFUL and a ‘quality 9 minutes’, and has already gone global, including being shared in Australia and America!
We’ll be releasing this video very soon, so watch this space! But be warned, have your tissues at the ready!
We also had a very busy exhibition stand with over 100 visitors, as we invited delegates to take part in our Dementia Mealtime Challenge competition, with the opportunity to win £500 worth of bespoke dining equipment for their care establishment, as well as learn new strategies to help support people living with dementia at mealtimes.
Our MD Jo Bonser, came up with the concept for this competition as she wanted to challenge peoples’ knowledge of mealtime place settings for people living with dementia, as this is just one of many areas, where if we get it right, we can help to minimise eating difficulties for them, helping to increase nutritional intake and overall health and wellbeing.
Jo incorporates this exercise in her new interactive training workshop, ‘The Dementia Mealtime Challenge’ as well as addressing many complex interactions with the mealtime environment, plus other eating difficulties, which prevent nutritional intake for people living with dementia.
Jo delivers her workshop (which includes showcasing our film, Made with Love) to care teams, who are serious about improving their mealtime experience.
Following a request from an Outstanding care provider, Jo has also developed additional services to support care homes improve their dining experience including:
You can also download a digital copy of our Dignified Dining Solutions Guide, which Jo wrote, whilst helping to support her Mum for over 6 years as she wanted to share what she had learned from personal experience with others to help people with dementia to eat better.
It is packed full of best practice advice and our top tips to overcome challenges that we understand you face around nutrition and hydration with people living with dementia, plus recommended product solutions, to overcome these challenges.
Many people have asked me, ‘how much does it cost?’
It’s a FREE resource, and we call it our little gift to the universe.
As we’re sure you’ll appreciate, this has required significant investment of both time and money and so we would be really grateful, if any of these products are appropriate for you, that you talk to us, or purchase them through our website, www.hcsuk.co.uk. This way you can help us back by supporting a small business. ?
If you are interested in learning more about any of our services or book a workshop, please contact us here.
Download your own copy of our Dignified Dining Solution Guide below or visit our website at www.hcsuk.co.uk.
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:
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:
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.
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.
People with diabetes
Patients with high blood sugar levels are prone to experiencing dry mouth and it can lead to further oral health complications.
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.
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.
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.
People with depression
Antidepressants are one of the groups of medication most commonly associated with dry mouth.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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."
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:
‘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?
However, a good oral care regime can help to:-
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.
We have additional great articles relating to oral care that you may find a worthwhile read! Find them here.
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.
Please complete the Application Form and send along with your CV to [email protected] for review.
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.
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 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 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.’
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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]
Our servicing superheroes Phil and Rachel recently came to the rescue of one of our valued customers, when his rise and recline chair stopped working and due to their speedy and efficient teamwork, were able to get it back up and running the very same day! Needless to say our customer was delighted and sent us this lovely testimonial and a box of chocolates to say thanks!
To Phil & Rachel, thank you to you both for coming to our rescue. We are relieved that the chair could be revived and we can enjoy some socially distancing fresh air together. Phil - you are no.1 in our eyes, nothing is too much trouble and you check everything to such a high standard. Thank you both! – LR
Our intrepid engineer Phil, tells us the story:
We had an urgent call out from our customer L, whose husband A’s rise and recline chair had developed an issue when reclining. At the time, A was reliant on his chair due to a leg injury he’d sustained following a nasty fall, and was having continuous nursing home visits to keep infection under control. He really needed the use of his chair to aid his recovery, to raise his lower body up to help alleviate the pressures of the injury and to help him relax during his day-to-day living at home.
As a company, we were already familiar with the couple, due to me having serviced his rise and recline chair and also his power chair, with the previous company that I worked for, and they were more than happy that I’d joined Hcsuk, as we are local to them and they already were customers for other independent living aids they needed.
On arrival I found A seated on a low sofa with his leg up which wasn’t ideal at all, so it was imperative that the chair was either, at best repaired, or replaced as fast as possible, due to his needs.
I proceeded to test all the chair functions and it transpired that the main lifting actuator lower mounting lug had sheared out of its socket and was irreparable. We discussed the possible options of either:
So we decided that the first plan of attack for speed of getting A back into his chair to aid with his continuing recovery, would be a replacement actuator. This would be a more cost-effective solution for our valued customer, which is a priority for us as a company - to always aim to get the best possible outcome for our customer with the most financially viable cost and timeframe option for all concerned especially in these circumstances.
A call into the office to check stock availability resulted in discovering we had a replacement actuator in stock, which was very fortuitous indeed and enabled me to go back out to our customer that same day to get A’s chair fully working, installing the actuator and then testing all the other chair functions, frame and fittings to check they were all in safe working order.
Personally, I got great job satisfaction knowing that I’d been able to assist L and A in a swift and efficient repair service and more importantly, we as a company had saved them from having to dig deep financially to replace the chair with a new one.
I left the couple with A back in his trusty chair and them both very happy with a job speedily done and they said they’d be in touch come the time a new chair was being considered.
All in all, a great conclusion.
Download our brand new, hot off the press "Care Equipment Servicing and Maintenance Guide" below!
I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for an excellent service we received when we had our hoist, hoist slings and weight chair scales serviced. The gentleman who came was very polite and friendly with a professional manner. The reason we choose HCSuk is that we have always received excellent service from you and always received a friendly response when we contact any member of your team.
Stanton Manor Residential Home Manager
If you would like any further information, get in touch with us, we'd love to hear from you!