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In this month's newsletter:
  • Core Values
  • Staff Training Increases Confidence and Competence
  • Good Practice Guidelines on Handling
  • Caring for a person with arthritis
  • What is Parkinson's disease 
  • Refer a Friend
Coronavirus ~ COVID-19 🦠

All the information you need regarding COVID-19.
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.

Staff Training Increases Confidence and Competence: It's Important!

Regular and ongoing training sessions enable staff to perform better. Training is a safe environment where staff can try out their skills, ask many questions and develop best practice. Completing your mandatory training courses is important so remember to keep updated!

In addition to this, there are always changes and updates within the care sector that staff need to know. Even staff who have worked in care for decades need to regularly update their knowledge.

From a managerial point of view too, having confident staff who know what they are doing means less reliance on you. That way, everyone can get on with their roles in providing great care. Without adequate training, things can inevitably go wrong. Reducing any risks is imperative particularly in an industry supporting vulnerable individuals.

So, equipping yourself with the tools you need to succeed can have an all-round positive impact of your care giving role

Good Practice Guidelines on Handling: Transdermal Medication (Nursing Staff)

Transdermal patches are a safe and effective way for relieving pain when used according to the instructions. However, the patches may cause serious harm to patients and others if the instructions are not followed carefully. Medication errors have been recorded due to old patches not being removed at the time of application of a new patch or due to cutting or taping of patches in an attempt to reduce the dose. It is extremely important to ensure effective handwashing before applying any transdermal patches and even more important after you have applied. Avoid touching your face or skin after you have applied the patch. This should avoid any of the medication entering you skin, nose or mouth

• Exceed the prescribed dose / number of patches
• Cut the patches for any reason or use the patch if the seal is broken, altered, cut or damaged.
• Take the fentanyl patch out of its wrapper until you are ready to apply to the skin site
• Apply a fentanyl patch straight after a hot bath or shower while the skin temperature is still raised as heat can cause a dangerous amount of fentanyl to be released from the patch.
• Expose skin site to external heat sources eg heat pads, electric blanket or hot baths/showers.
• Use soap, oils, lotions, alcohol or other agents which might irritate the skin site

 • Monitor patient for signs of toxicity eg respiratory depression (difficulty in breathing or shallow breathing), tiredness, excessive drowsiness, confusion and small “pin-prick” pupils. Monitoring should continue even after the fentanyl patch is discontinued.
• Remove patch immediately if patient experiences serious adverse events and monitor for 24 hours seek medical advice immediately if toxicity is suspected.
• Seek urgent medical attention for anyone accidentally exposed to a fentanyl patch.
• Remove the old patch first, before applying a new one and avoid touching the adhesive side.
• Ensure the patch is stuck on securely, especially around the edges by pressing for 30 seconds
• Always wash hands after handling fentanyl patches.
• Dispose of the old patch by folding in half as soon as it is removed so that the sticky side sticks firmly to itself and put back in the original sachet
• Store patches safely, securely and out of the sight and reach of children and vulnerable adults.

Caring for a Person with Arthritis


Arthritis is a general term for conditions that affect the joints or tissues around the joint. There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Most types of arthritis cause pain and stiffness in and around the affected joint or joints. Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, also affect the immune system and some internal organs of the body.

Looking after and caring for someone with arthritis is a challenge. You need to achieve the right balance between providing support and motivation. Most people with arthritis will wish to retain as much control over their lives as possible, and you need to help them to retain their independence. This might mean that in certain circumstances help may not be wanted. This can be difficult to judge, and you must be sensitive to signs, which may not be verbal, that indicate you should stand back and not insist on helping with a particular task or activity.

There Are Five Main Ways in Which You Can Help:

Understand what arthritis means – what causes it, how it develops, and how it affects people. In the same way that understanding their condition helps people with arthritis to cope with it, the more you understand about arthritis the more you will be able to provide successful care and support.

Communicate effectively.
Good communication in both directions is essential. The person with arthritis needs to feel well supported. This may mean helping the person with recommended exercises, activities or therapies that they have found helpful in reducing the symptoms of their arthritis. 

Should a carer encourage exercise?
Yes – it is very important to keep the joints moving to minimise pain and stiffness. Try to encourage exercise as a daily habit. Swimming and cycling (it can be on a static bike) are good exercises. Physiotherapists are the experts in this area, but the person with arthritis may have their own preferences about exercise and should be encouraged to express them. If you join in the exercises then this can become more of a social activity and less of a chore. It is important to start gradually with any exercise and increase the amount over time as the body adjusts to the extra requirements being made of it. For more ideas on exercising when you have arthritis, check out Arthritis Ireland’s ‘Be Active with Arthritis’ exercise DVD and booklet specifically designed for people with arthritis, available to purchase on

How does arthritis affect a person’s mood?
It is normal for people with arthritis to experience a wide range of feelings and emotions. They may be tearful, or angry, or upset among other emotions. Encourage them to focus on positive experiences and think about what they can do rather than things they have difficulty with. Arthritis Ireland’s booklet ‘Coping with Emotions’ provides information on the difficult emotions that people living with arthritis often face.

Learn to recognise the signs when the arthritis is bad
As extra support may be needed at this time. Remember that pain can make people irritable, angry and depressed at times.  Be patient if the other person has to do things differently and not as quickly as before. They may find it difficult to carry out normal everyday activities such as housework, picking up a telephone or using a knife and fork. They may find it embarrassing to talk about the difficulties they face, especially if personal issues like washing or dressing are involved. If you notice changes in the way the person behaves it may be because they need help with these activities.

Be sensitive to the feelings of the person who has arthritis – it is very difficult, Encourage the person to find other activities to replace ones which they can no longer manage. Doing useful work can make some people feel better – they might, for instance, involve themselves in voluntary work, or start an educational course. 
For more helpful information please visit




What is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive, neurological disease that
mainly affects movement but can also affect cognition. Parkinson’s disease results from the destruction of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia.

Different parts of the brain work together by sending signals to each other to coordinate all of our thoughts, movements, emotions, and senses. When we want to move, a signal is sent from the basal ganglia to the thalamus and then to the cerebral cortex, all different parts of the brain. Nerve cells in the brain communicate by using chemicals. A chemical (neurotransmitter) called dopamine is produced in a group of cells called the substantia nigra and is essential for normal movement. When the cells die, they can no longer produce and send dopamine, so the signal to move doesn’t get communicated. By the time a person starts to experience motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, they’ve already lost approximately 50% of their dopamine producing cells. People may experience non-motor symptoms from loss of other neurotransmitters up to ten years before motor symptoms are noticed.

All persons with Parkinson’s do not develop the same symptoms, and any symptoms that do develop may change over time as the disease progresses. People will experience both motor and non-motor symptoms. Typically, PD motor symptoms start on one side of the body, and over time may progress to both sides. Often, one side is more affected than the other. The primary symptoms most commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease are:
  • Tremor: Not all persons with PD develop tremor, but this is a common symptom. The tremor is described as a “pill rolling” action of the hand/fingers, usually most pronounced at rest, and may lessen with action, or movement. Tremor often starts on one side of the body—usually with the hand—but may also involve the arms, feet, legs, and chin.
  • Rigidity or stiffness: In addition to making movement difficult, stiffness can also cause muscle aches. This symptom often is initially attributed to arthritis or pain syndromes, and persons often seek medical attention for “frozen shoulder” symptoms or “tennis elbow” and other orthopaedic complaints.
  • Slow movement (bradykinesia), loss of movement (akinesia): Symptoms present with a decreased arm swing on one side, or decreased ability to perform usual motor tasks at usual speeds. Those affected can lose the ability to make normal facial expressions, appearing “mask-like” to the person they are talking with. Family and friends may comment that the person smiles less or appears disinterested when in fact they are unable to make the facial muscles move in ways to help express what they are feeling.
  • Balance and walking problems: Initially persons have difficulty walking at normal speeds or may find it difficult to fully lift a leg, causing the foot to “drag” behind the other foot. Or, they may take unusually small steps to move forward or use several tiny steps to turn around. Eventually postural problems result in a stooped torso with a noticeable shuffling gait. The resulting body imbalance can cause the person to stumble or experience near falls. The person may no longer instinctually reach their arm out to “break” their fall, putting them at greater risk for injury. Most people do not develop postural problems until many years after they have been diagnosed. Some individuals also experience episodes of “freezing” when they cannot move for several seconds or minutes. This is most common when they are approaching a doorway or other contained or small space.
When you're a caregiver for someone with Parkinson's disease, some days you'll need to help them with daily tasks. Other days you just need to give them enough time to do them on their own. This checklist can make life easier for both of you.
  • Make it easy for them. Try an electric toothbrush if their hands or fingers are stiff from Parkinson's. If you help with flossing or brushing, try not to touch the back of their tongue, to prevent their gagging. Keep a small towel handy if drooling is an issue.
  • An electric shaver may make shaving easier. After shaving, have them use lotion instead of aftershave, which may be too harsh.
  • For safety and comfort, use the shower, if possible. Tub baths can be a falling hazard.
  • While they are bathing, have them sit on a shower stool, use a hand-held showerhead, and hold a grab bar.
  • Wrap them up in an absorbent terry cloth robe after bathing. Then they don't have to dry themselves off with a towel.
Getting Dressed
  • Make sure clothes are easy to put on, such as pants with elastic waistbands, bras that hook in front, and tube socks instead of dress socks. Skip pantyhose and clothes that pull on over the head. If favourite clothes have buttons, replace them with Velcro.
  • Avoid shoes with rubber soles. They can cause tripping.
  • Make dressing simple. Lay out clothes ahead of time, in the order they like to put them on. Offer dressing aids like buttonhooks or long-handled shoehorns.
  • Let them dress themself as much as possible. Suggest that they sit down and dress on the side most affected first.
  • Serve fibre -- like whole grains, bran cereals, fruits, and vegetables -- to prevent constipation, a common Parkinson's issue. If they are used to a low-fibre diet, add fibre slowly.
  • Serve a calcium-rich food at least three times a day to prevent osteoporosis. This is a special concern with a person with Parkinson's, because falls that can lead to fractures are more likely. Dairy foods like cheese and vitamin D-fortified milk and yogurt are good choices.
  • The Parkinson's drug levodopa is absorbed best on an empty stomach. Protein can decrease its absorption. So, space out proteins so they are served after they take their medicine, which may be every 3-4 hours. 
  • If they have trouble swallowing, fix moist, soft foods. Avoid foods that crumble easily, like crackers. Thick drinks, like protein shakes, are also easy to swallow. If eating is tiring, fix smaller meals more often.
  • Don't let their symptoms discourage participating in activities. Specially adapted tools are available to help with things like holding a paintbrush. Their occupational therapist can also suggest strategies. If some hobbies become too hard, like playing a musical instrument, go to a concert or listen to music instead.
  • Try relaxing activities to reduce stress, which can make symptoms worse. Listening to music and relaxation guided imagery may help ease tremors. You can learn guided imagery from books, CDs, or DVDs.
  • Besides the daily exercise that their doctor probably suggests, urge them to exercise their face muscles, jaw, and mouth. Sing or read out loud (using big lip movements) or make faces.
The hands-on daily tasks of caregiving can be hard for both of you. But they also bring you together. As much as possible, focus on your client can do. Taking part in their own care and enjoying hobbies will help them enjoy life more.
Below are some useful websites if you would like to learn more about Parkinson’s

• 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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