Friday, 26 September 2014

Toothpaste, Vinyl versus Latex and ‘DNACPR’

Helping out at a home owners and registered managers’ event recently I noticed three interesting topics were animating discussions.

One: toothpaste as a hazardous substance. This started off as a tale told to emphasise another ludicrous CQC inspector going over the top— until somebody posed a personal care scenario where toothpaste could really be potentially harmful. It is worth weighing the benefit of toothpaste to basic dental hygiene against the possible dangers to eyes from misuse, we learned.

Next: the relative merits of latex and vinyl gloves was in terms of practicality versus cost discussion. It centred on a contractual requirement to use only latex. Apparently both makes of gloves meet the same standards for infection control purposes. So, if this is the case, why the insistence on latex given vinyl is half the price? We speculated on the added sensitivity to touch of the latex and contractor ignorance of how and when gloves are used. However according to one home owner there were potential savings of £1,000 per year – and it’s a matter of personalised practice for another?

Three of three: DNACPR stands for ‘do not attempt cardio-pulmonary resuscitation’, which came up discussing the 5 key questions CQC will ask of registered social care services. In true workshop fashion, the questions were allocated around tables for discussion, and the table that had: Are they responsive? came up with a really helpful description of how the practitioners in their care home respond to situations when possible resuscitation may be a matter of choice – and may be potentially more harmful than beneficial. Clearly, caring and common-sense make it not only responsive to the resident and their relatives but importantly professional. On a personal level it gave me useful information that I could have done with several months ago, when my father was terminally ill.

So what did these three vignettes teach us at this event – besides, that is, the subject matter of the day (the Care Act and CQC Fresh Start)? We learned that it is often the little things, the details, which make the biggest differences in people’s life — indeed, they are often the crucial difference between harm and benefit.

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