Seminar Arlington 2009

The venue for the 2009 autumn seminar was the Mary Hare School, Newbury Berkshire.
Mary Hare School caters for severe and profoundly deaf children between the ages of 5 and 19 years. Delegates were given a warm welcome from Head Teacher, Tony Shaw who explained the work of the school, now in its 64th year. MHSS together with its Primary School on the south side of Newbury caters for 240 pupils who hale from every country within the United Kingdom.

Health and Safety Issues.
They hear imperfectly (prevalence ~ 1/1000 with severe/profound deafness).
They hear without space perception.
Their use of spoken and written language is ‘immature’ for their age.
Their understanding of spoken and written language is ‘immature’ for their age.
They are ten times more likely to have both hearing impairment and sight impairment (prevalence ~ 7/1000 with both impairments).

He invited delegates to have a haircut during the lunchtime! This was a tape entitled ‘Two ears are better than one!’ which demonstrated a very personal introduction to the benefits of binaural hearing. This is an aspect of hearing that students will never experience or benefit from. It is a major health and safety issue!

Cath Dyson, CMIOSH, Health and Safety Director, Barchester Healthcare, gave an update on pandemic planning following her excellent presentation at a previous NASHiCS seminar.  Her pandemic plan had been put into action during the last few months and, in general, had worked well.  The plan has now been reviewed, updated and improved ready for the ‘second wave’ of Swine flu that is predicted over the coming months.

The challenges now are:
• to convince businesses that the threat remains;
• Ensure that a robust and effective vaccination programme is in place;
• Build up a ‘bank’ of replacement staff;
• Manage CRB checks as there will be no easement of the rules;
• continuously revisit and revise you plan accordingly;
Organisations can test their plan against Exercise Prometheus that is available on the Department of Health web site.  Cath also ensures that staff receive simple, concise bulletins at regular intervals.  The key message is that good infection control is essential to limit the spread of this virus.  The possibility of a H5N1 avian pandemic has not gone away, however if you have a robust and effective plan in place that is tried and tested, you can manage this threat should it become a reality.

Annie Stevenson, Head of Older People’s Services, Social Care Institute for Excellence, (SCIE)Launched the ‘Project on the use of restraint in care homes for older people’. This is an excellent web based package that will assist professionals to make informed decisions and ensure that consistent standards can be achieved across this sector of social care. Anne gave a demonstration of this web based package, which was going ‘live’ on the day of the NASHICS seminar. You can find free learning materials and the e-learning resource at http://www.scie.org.uk.
SCIE are endeavouring to raise their profile and the upcoming launch of SCIE TV may help.