The ninth annual NASHiCS event took place on Thursday 20 June at Manchester Concorde Centre. Now known as the National Learning & Development Forum, this year’s gathering unfolded beneath the iconic Concorde aircraft in a specially designed conference hall located in a hanger next to the airport.
Chris Jackson, National Chair NASHiCS, opened proceedings after he emerged from Concorde and walked down the boarding staircase, walked through the delegates gathered at tables underneath and took to the stage.
Chris talked about the changing and growing nature of risk in social care and the work NASHiCS are doing to try and influence the National agenda. He was able to report that despite difficult times the NASHiCS membership continues to grow.
Sharon Blackburn, Policy & Communications Director for the National Care Forum, was introduced as Forum Chair for the day and she outlined the day ahead for delegates. She likened the safety measures taken in the aviation industry to the careful and detailed health and safety that is needed in social care.
The next event in the main Hanger was a presentation by Sarah Waller, Programme Director “Enhancing the Healing Environment” Kings Fund, who described recent work related to improving the care environment for people with dementia. She began by sharing the story of “Jim” through a moving video presentation.
The Kings Fund work has shown that care of people with dementia needs to be done in a therapeutic environment where colours and textiles and natural light are able to set the tone. They also need an ability to express themselves through art and creativity.
This was emphasised by several visual examples of environments that have been improved after consultation and often with the help of the service users themselves.
Sarah then explained how service users get confused by competing signs when only the most important are necessary to aid orientation and way finding.
Design, she said, is so important and organisations should de-clutter, consider lighting levels, change flooring and layout where necessary, remove superfluous signage and create spaces and things to do.
She closed by saying that there are many examples on the Kings Fund website. http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/enhancing-healing-environment
Philip White, Director Operational Strategy Division HSE, then gave a general news update with particular emphasis on the implications of the Francis Report on Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and the effect this report has for the future regulatory role of both the HSE and CQC. He explained the current process for enforcement and how this may change in future to make people more accountable for their negligence. CQC, for example, may be able to refer cases to HSE as well as prosecuting themselves.
Good leadership qualities in Social Care and carer competencies are under the spotlight.
He announced that HSG 220, Health & Safety in Care Homes, is out for consultation on updates with a deadline of 5 July for replies.
Also the much awaited HSE Social Care Forum will meet for the first time in September and will involve NASHiCS.
Finally he mentioned the work of the HSE challenge panels and the myth-busting website which seemed to be working very well.
After a break for refreshments and a chance to view Concorde and the exhibitors, the Forum went into three breakout sessions.