Good hydration can help prevent falls and pressure sores. Yet some people living in Care Homes intentionally avoid drinking during the day. I know, because I met John.
Healthwatch has statutory powers, which include the ability to visit care homes. It was during one of these visits that John told me about his difficult compromise. A desire to stay hydrated, but concerned that he wouldn’t have the help he needed to get to the toilet.
Healthwatch England is a platform that harnesses the contribution of people who want to help the NHS and social care services to do their job. In his blog our chair, Sir Robert Francis, would like to start “a social movement of citizens who really want to make a difference”.
Our actions are often simple, but can have a profound impact. Our social movement has been gaining momentum and you can help make a difference:
5 minutes, that’s the time it takes to leave a short piece of feedback about your experience. We use this intelligence to tip regulators off and highlight the impact of problems in local media. Healthwatch can also use it to influence national policy. Thanks to a local resident, Healthwatch Surrey was recently able to prompt regulatory action against a care home.
Visit a care home
For those able to volunteer a little more time, you can take part in structured visits to local care homes. Some care homes provide fruit shots, alcohol free cocktails and ice lollies to support the hydration of residents. Those initiatives – which many residents value – can then be shared to spread good practice.
Local Healthwatch is powered by the goodwill of local people. A recent report on visits by Healthwatch Surrey left care home staff feeling “motivated and encouraged”. We were also able to represent the individual interests of John and others like him. So get in touch to tell us what you can offer.
NICE is playing its part in this movement too. It’s recent guidance recommended that organisations providing adult social care should consider a range of approaches to gathering feedback from people that use services – including through local Healthwatch.
We can all improve the lives of people like John, and you can do it now.