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In this month's newsletter:
  • Vitamin D and Winter
  • Stress Management Tips for Healthcare Workers during COVID-19
  • Refer a Friend
Coronavirus ~ COVID-19 🦠

All the information you need regarding COVID-19.

As current Covid 19 cases are increasing this winter please ensure you are kept up to date on the most recent guidance from the HSE & HSPC websites. Remember:

•    All staff must wear gloves, apron and surgical mask for all visits in a clients home.  Correct donning and doffing of PPE must be completed on entering and leaving the home. Change of PPE if needed between tasks such as personal case is permitted once clean PPE is put on.

•    Handwashing must be completed on entering the home and leaving. In between tasks carried out

•    All carers are to wear enhanced PPE (surgical face mask, goggles/visors, full gowns, gloves) when working with a client who is Covid positive. Please contact your local client care manager/nurse manager so this can be provided to you. If you are made aware a client is awaiting a test result or is symptomatic we can provide full PPE in the interim. If negative result basic PPE then will resume.

•    All your clothes should be washed daily using a minimum 60 degree cycle. If possible, leave your work shoes outside or in the car.

Please remember to self-monitor for COVID symptoms minimum twice daily as per guidelines. If you have a sore throat, blocked/runny nose, cough, aches/pain, tiredness/fatigue, loss of taste/smell, severe headache or any other unusual symptom please contact your GP and Myhomecare immediately for advice before continuing your client calls.

Some helpful links are outlined below with guidance and video resources available
Our Core Values 💙 


Core values are what support the vision, shape the culture and reflect what a company values. They are the essence of the company’s identity – the principles, beliefs or philosophy of values. What are our Core Values?

· Customer First – We never compromise on quality – we deliver services to world class standards, nothing less ever.

· Accountable – We represent our clients and customers with dignity and honesty. Our stakeholders trust us.

· Responsible – It is about seeing the whole job through to the end. It is not done until it is all done.

· Empower – Our leaders within the business are encouraged to problem solve, innovate and use the latest technology to support others.

· Effective Communication – Clarity, openness and a willingness to listen characterises our approach to interacting with others.

· Respect – Integrity, fairness, equality, diversity, cooperation, responsiveness and perceptiveness in how we treat others.

Vitamin D and Winter

In the winter months we do need to think about our vitamin D production. From October to March, the ultraviolet light from the sun is not strong enough during the shorter, darker days to produce sufficient vitamin D levels. Instead, unless we're taking supplements, we get nearly all our vitamin D from the food we eat. The problem is that even when we eat the right foods, those foods are unlikely to contain enough vitamin D to make up for the lost sunlight.

Official guidance now encourages us to take action in order to protect ourselves from vitamin D deficiency and associated health risks. According to healthcare experts, this is a job we are all tasked with regardless of age, ethnicity, location and lifestyle. In a statement issued last winter, Public Health Ireland and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advised that "everyone" should take a vitamin D supplement during winter months.

The risks of vitamin D deficiency

Adults and the elderly
In adults, vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue and general aches and pains of various degrees of severity in the ribs, lower back, hips, pelvis, thighs, shin bones and feet. Hairline fractures - a small crack or bruise on the bone - are not uncommon.

In more severe cases, poor vitamin D levels can result in osteomalacia, a condition in which bones become soft, weak and prone to breakage.

Without sufficient vitamin D, the minerals that are needed to make bones strong are unable to enter, resulting in weak muscles and bone pain.
Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that effects the elderly population the worst. Research has warned of the dangers of poor vitamin D levels in the over-50s. It is thought that more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in this age group will break a bone due to osteoporosis. PHI and NICE also caution of the increased risk of falls in older people, which can result in serious injury.

Babies and children

Babies are a high-risk group because some are born with low levels of vitamin D and some are unable to get enough through breast milk, advises the BDA. Vitamin D deficiency can be detrimental to the bone development of growing babies and children because it affects calcium levels. They can develop rickets, which is a condition that includes bone stunted growth, bone deformities, fractures, fits and pain.

Many studies have supported this link between both vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency, and bone and limb problems in children. In one such of 187 children with bone pain and deformities, 32% tested positive for vitamin D deficiency and 8% had vitamin D deficiency.

How to boost your vitamin D intake

Although you may have little control over some of these factors, it's important to be mindful of the ones you can change. The key to boosting your vitamin D levels when it's most needed over the winter months is a combination of healthy lifestyle habits, like supplementing the right foods with vitamin D tablets.

Food for thought

"There are few foods that contain vitamin D," explains Porter. "The best source is oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Other sources include eggs yolks, red meat, certain mushrooms, and fortified products such as spreads, yoghurts and breakfast cereal."

A diet providing the optimum amount of vitamin D from food would contain:
•    Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, trout, pilchards, herring, eel and kippers.
•    Cod liver oil (but don't take this if you are pregnant).
•    Egg yolk, meat, offal and milk (contain small amounts).
•    Margarine, some breakfast cereals, infant formula milk and some yoghurts.
•    Some leafy, green vegetables and certain mushrooms.

One-a-day supplements

This is where vitamin D supplements can make all the difference this winter. But it's important to remember that you will only reap the benefits of supplements if you combine them with a healthy, balanced diet and time outdoors.

According to official guidance you should take a daily supplement of 10 micrograms. Babies under 1 year need slightly less, between 8.5 and 10 micrograms unless they have over 500 ml of fortified formula milk daily. As always, too much of anything can be dangerous and it is possible to take too much, but up to 100 micrograms a day is considered acceptable. BDA also cautions against taking more than one multivitamin a day as too much vitamin A can cause bone and liver problems.

Thankfully, vitamin D supplements and multivitamins are widely available to purchase from supermarkets, health food shops, and pharmacies. An added bonus for parents, they can come in many forms such as flavoured chewable sweets, making them more appealing to children. Pregnant or breastfeeding woman, as well as children aged 6 months to 4 years, may qualify for 'Healthy Start' vitamins containing vitamin D

Stress Management Tips for Healthcare Workers during COVID19

If you are a healthcare worker, you may be exposed to additional sources of stress because of different reasons:
•    You may be working extended shifts or seeing more patients, while trying to stay up to date with evolving COVID-19 treatments and protocols.
•    Your intense work schedule could make it much harder for you to practice self-care and connect with your social support network. 
•    You may be experiencing stress in your personal life due to the crisis - or other unrelated issues – as you attempt to maintain standards of care for vulnerable patients.
•    You may feel tired of and restricted by protective equipment. It could take a physical toll on you, and it may become harder to provide the level of comfort you usually offer to distressed patients in your care.
•    If you have children and are required to work full shifts, it could be challenging to find someone to look after them.
•    You may experience stigma due to your increased exposure to the virus, which could cause you to feel isolated and lonely.
•    You may be concerned about your health and the potential health risk to your family members.
•    You may face an increase in difficult or distressing situations and decisions.
•    You may have to quickly adjust to new colleagues and guidelines, with no time to reflect and adapt.
•    You may have to practice social distancing or isolate entirely from your family and children.
•    Being vulnerable to high levels of stress can increase your chances of becoming overwhelmed. You need to be aware of how you are feeling before you can find ways to cope with your new circumstances.
•    So, if you are experiencing more stress, what can you do to mind yourself in the middle of working on the frontline of a pandemic?

Top tips for healthcare workers:

Pay attention to and notice how you are feeling:

1.    Be aware of your stress levels: stress can accumulate and become overwhelming and chronic unless managed. Keep an eye and monitor how you’re doing.
2.    Remind yourself that feeling stressed is normal under the exceptional circumstances we are living through. It is okay not to be okay.
3.    You may feel like you are not doing enough and that you’re not up to the task. Remember that becoming stressed or overwhelmed simply shows you are human and is in no way a reflection of your
4.    Some stress is helpful in energizing you to keep going in the current situation, but it is important to manage it so that it does not become excessive and overwhelms you.
5.    You may also experience a range of unpleasant and unwelcome emotions, maybe also towards patients, on top of dealing with a lot of uncertainty on a daily basis. You may feel anger for non-compliance with social distancing restrictions, you may feel powerless at times and you may find it hard to feel compassionate towards patients at other times. This is normal and to be expected. However, it is important that you reach out for support if these feelings start becoming unsettling.

Once you recognize that things are impacting on you, you can find new ways to cope with your situation. Remember, even doing something small to look after yourself can make a big difference to your stress levels.

What you need to do:

•    Self-care is hardest when you need it most. You may not feel like it is a priority when you have so much to do, but it is and cannot be negotiable at this time. You need to make sure you look after your basic physical and mental health needs or you won’t be able to look after others.
•    Eat well and look after your body - Make sure you get enough exercise as it is the single most helpful tool to help you manage your mental health. Don’t skip meals or breaks, no matter how busy you are. Stretching or simply getting some fresh air can be a simple and quick way to mind yourself.
•    Beware of unhelpful coping strategies - (Alcohol, tobacco etc), which can easily become automatic ways to try and make ourselves feel better at times of stress. However, these can have a negative impact on your mental health, so it is a good idea to try and keep an eye on them.
•    Get enough sleep – Sleep can be a challenge at this time, but it is essential to your ability to make sound decisions.
•    Find ways to care for yourself - What are the things that help you care for yourself? You may need to get a little creative at this time as some of your self-care tools may not be options due to current restrictions.
•    Connect - You may find yourself somewhat excluded and isolated at this time because of work, restrictions, etc. Try to keep in touch with important people in your life as much as possible (without overdoing it!).
•    Keep healthy boundaries - Beware of the temptation to overwork and skip breaks because things are so busy. These are essential times for you to recharge to be able to give some more.
•    Watch out for excessive stress, fatigue, and sudden exhaustion - Look out for your stress levels worsening, feeling overwhelmed, feeling disconnected from your work and start finding looking after yourself harder as time goes on. Working on adrenaline for extended periods of time can also lead to a sudden onset of exhaustion. Do not blame yourself, as it is not your fault, rather reach out to your line manager/lead to get the support you need to get back on track.
•    Values - Reconnecting to your values can be a helpful way to refocus on why you are doing what you are doing and how you want to do it. Taking a moment to reflect on what these are and how your life and what you are doing every day is matching up against these can help keep focus.

Finally, how about you take a moment to reflect each day: remind yourself of what you have achieved, how maybe you supported or connected with someone, or perhaps you did something to self-care. No matter how big or small, it’s important to celebrate your gains to help you stay well and hopeful about the future.

• MyHomeCare uses One Touch Health app for all rosters & bookings, client care plans, documentation and also as a platform to communicate with staff. Each staff member has an individual log in and password
• No time sheets required – logged shifts are sent straight to payroll via app. Your up to date roster is available on your phone.
• All care plans and relevant client documentation available on One Touch Health App
• Staff can highlight concerns by using the important message tick box option on the notes section. It is important that you record your tasks and care provided in the notes section daily for each client. If you have any issues using the system, please contact your local team who will be happy to help!

Refer A Friend 💶


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My Home Care · Second Floor, Quayside Business Park · Mill St · Dundalk, Co Louth LH · Ireland

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