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Hartford Care invests in bringing digital delights to its 16 care homes

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Hartford Care invests in bringing digital delights to its 16 care homes

Leading care provider Hartford Care has teamed up with well-being specialists Oomph! and the Digital Rainbow to equip its 16 care and nursing homes with the latest digital technology, designed to improve, enrich, and enhance the lives of its residents and teams.

Each home now has an interactive table provided by The Digital Rainbow, which delivers digital delights to residents and team members using a wide range of Google Store apps.

The care homes can download the apps most suitable for their own individual needs, for example, organising a games session, accessing a range of quizzes, or enjoying a musical concert.

The interactive table, which resembles a giant iPad, is also designed to improve the wellbeing of residents living with dementia with specialist sensory and reminisce apps through which they can touch, explore colour and listen to music.

Equipped with a rechargeable battery, each table is built on wheels, allowing it to be moved around. This enables even those residents who are confined to their rooms to enjoy all its digital activities.

Hartford Care’s care homes now have full access to Oomph!’s new digital platform, Oomph! On Demand. This platform provides engaging exercise and activity content 365 days a year across a diverse range of topics, meeting a wide range of interests and abilities.

Care teams can support residents tuning into live and recorded seated exercise sessions including activities like ballet, chair yoga and mindfulness. Residents can also enjoy a wide variety of activity resources – fromm virtual tours of Scotland to language lessons, from history talks to music concerts.

The site is full of interactive quizzes, activity ideas and an interactive activity calendar that can be selected according to a desired wellbeing goal or a resident’s interest.

Kevin Shaw, CEO of Hartford Care, says:

“It’s been an exciting time for us as we introduce Oomph! and the Digital Rainbow tables in all our care homes. It’s a huge investment for Hartford Care but both products will greatly enhance the well-being and lives of our residents, their families, and our teams.

“Having so many exciting and ground-breaking new resources at hand 24/7 will ensure everybody has non-stop enjoyment helping them to live their best lives with us.”

Jonny Milburn, Managing Director of the Digital Rainbow says:

We are delighted to have been chosen by Hartford Care to assist with this project and seeing all the lovely feedback so far.”

Matt Hamblin, Business Director at Oomph Wellness, comments:

“We are excited to be partnering with Hartford Care to drive person centred wellbeing in the homes and ensure that staff and residents have access to inspirational wellbeing activities 24/7, 365 days a year. Oomph! will work closely with Hartford Care to ensure we are constantly providing meaningful engagement across every home.”

Already, the digital tables are proving a huge hit at Hartford Care’s homes. Kay Jerrams, manager of Ashley Grange Nursing Home in Downton, Wiltshire, says:

“The digital table is the best thing ever to happen to care homes. Our residents are currently having a great time bowling on it. It really a fantastic way to engage and inspire everybody.”

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

Oomph On Demand and ZooLab form exciting Content Partnership…

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Oomph On Demand and ZooLab form exciting Content Partnership… providing inspiring animal content for residents across the UK!

Animal experts, ZooLab, have formed a partnership with Oomph! On Demand to provide a series of virtual animal encounters that educate on a variety of different species from the animal kingdom – from tree frogs to snakes, to giant millipedes and African land snails.

The content will provide meaningful engagement for residents across the UK that will amaze, educate and inspire, as part of a wider range of activity resources that are available on Oomph On Demand covering multiple topics.

Oomph! On Demand provides engaging exercise and activity content 365 days a year, across a diverse range of topics and meeting a range of interests and abilities –meaning care teams are able to support residents to tune into live and recorded seated exercise sessions including things like ballet, chair yoga and mindfulness. Residents also enjoy a wide variety of activity resources, from virtual tours of Scotland to language lessons, and from history talks to music concerts.

The site is full of interactive quizzes, activity ideas, and an interactive activity calendar which can be selected according to a desired wellbeing goal or resident’s interests.

ZooLab will become an integral  part of the Oomph On Demand platform, where they will be hosting a range of themed workshops, as well as providing a selection of activity resources. They have been visiting care homes with animals for over twenty years, and their rangers are dementia friend trained which gives them a great understanding when interacting with residents in a care setting. Now ZooLab also provide virtual animal sessions with their team of experts to be able to reach even more residents more often, with their portfolio of engaging and educational animal content

ZooLab are looking forward to delivering virtual sessions for Oomph and reaching residents in a large number of care homes. Residents can interact with the presenter through the chat function and ask questions about the animals, and they will also have access to printable animal quizzes. Workshop sessions will be themed capturing key calendar days such as Halloween and Christmas. 

“ZooLab are very excited to be partnering with Oomph! We’ve had huge success with providing animal therapy sessions face-to-face and online in care settings over the years. On Demand is a fantastic way to give staff another method of providing activity sessions to residents and help increase social interaction.” – Diane Mathison, ZooLab Managing Director

“We are all delighted here at Oomph! to be partnering with ZooLab. Not only will we be able to bring exciting animal encounters to all of our clients who have access to Oomph! On Demand, but we will also be able to bring Georgie’s engaging enthusiasm and knowledge. These workshops are only the beginning of a long and exciting relationship that will have a positive impact on so many people’s wellbeing. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!” Jack McKechnie, Content Creation Lead

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

An insight into David Wilson-Wynne’s role at Balhousie Care Group…

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An insight into David Wilson-Wynne’s role at Balhousie Care Group and his thoughts on what care quality really means…

“I am so glad there are organisations like Oomph! taking a therapeutic approach to care. The care sector has come so far and couldn’t have done it without businesses like Oomph! It is incredible.”

What is your role at Balhousie?

“My name is David, and I am the Quality and Improvement Partner for Balhousie Care Group. We are the largest operator of care homes within the Northeast of Scotland, currently operating at 26 sites, and my core focus is to identify areas of improvement across the portfolio of homes and to align with the Care Inspectorate’s requirements. But also, to look at good practice within our homes and to drive consistency, across every site.”

What does quality mean to you personally and what does quality mean to Balhousie?

“I think for myself quality is all about consistency and how we can ensure that our residents can continue to live a full life.  I think in our sector there is a tendency to focus on what’s negative, particularly in the media. From our point of view, quality is about little golden nuggets every day and our staff – we call them our Everyday Heroes – are essential to maintaining residents’ quality of life. To me that’s what quality encompasses.”

In your opinion, what is the difference between good and outstanding wellbeing in a care home?

“Being good is about always offering alternatives and choice within care practise and being quite specific about what we can do. Outstanding is whereby we can do that while still maintaining an individual’s cultural and social identity, which is absolutely crucial. My background has always been dementia and dementia practise specifically, and I’m in a position now whereby we can look at what is good within our care homes, but how can we always strive to be better, so whether it be, for example, fully utilising the On Demand platform in every home and how we can make everything truly person centred.”

Why do you think Oomph On Demand is a great resource?

“When I was first shown a demo of the whole On Demand platform it was just jaw dropping, because within a very short space of time Oomph! have been able to capture true person-centred content with such breadth and variety. For example, I searched with just the word “horse” and I could not believe the amount of resources that came up utilising one word. If I had had that 15 years ago it would have been absolutely incredible. “

How has Oomph On Demand supported staff wellbeing?

“We’ve all been through a difficult time because of the pandemic, but predominantly for our staff, who have sacrificed so much to ensure that the residents have true consistency, it has been difficult.  Oomph! has provided a different spin on things whereby staff themselves are sitting down with residents and engaging in something which is very positive, brightly coloured, attractive, and engaging. I’ve seen that from myself first-hand which is fantastic for both residents and our staff.”

What in your opinion would you like to see moving forward from the platform, are there any additional features you would like to see?  

“It really is about being as targeted as possible with very specific content to meet the needs of specific conditions and individual residents.”

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

The importance of mindfulness to enhance care staff wellbeing…

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The importance of mindfulness to enhance care staff wellbeing…


The last few years have highlighted more than ever the importance of looking after our own mental health and wellbeing. Covid-19 has further highlighted the impact stress, anxiety and neglected mental wellbeing can have.

A recent UNISON survey shows a substantial proportion of care workers have suffered problems during the pandemic including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with more than two thirds (68%) saying their mental health has declined. With stress and anxiety rising in the care sector ways to support these essential workers is crucial. Mindfulness has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way of increasing overall wellbeing.

Mindfulness – the facts

Mindfulness is defined as “Paying attention to something, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non judgmentally” (Kabat- Zann 2003). However, what does this really mean? And how can this help us as individuals? Simply put, Mindfulness exercises are ways of paying attention to the present moment using techniques like meditation, breathing, and yoga. Training helps people to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, they’re better able to manage them.

Research has shown that practicing mindfulness can improve anxiety, stress and the feeling of ‘burn out’ (Chiesa A, Serretti A, 2009) whilst also improving cognitive skills such as improved reaction times, comprehension scores, working memory functioning and decision-making (Zeidan F et al, 2010). Other research suggests that employees who practise mindfulness have less emotional exhaustion, better work-life balance and better job performance ratings. (Hafenbrack et al, 2013). In fact 66% of GPs say that they would support a public information campaign to promote the potential health benefits of Mindfulness meditation (ICM survey, 2019)

With 70 million working days lost each year due to stress and anxiety (mind.org.uk) costing employers between £33-£42 billion a year (Thriving at work report, 2017) it seems vital for organizations to invest in wellbeing support.

By providing mindfulness and wellbeing workshops companies can increase productivity, organizational performance, reduction in staff stress and therefore time off work and increased job satisfaction.

OOMPH and Mindfulness

Oomph Wellness are partnering with Kate Thubron – Mindful care Consultancy to do just this. Launching interactive workshops that provide staff with a ‘mindful toolkit’ on recognizing, addressing and managing the signs of stress, anxiety and poor mental wellbeing whilst also providing on demand services such as exercise classes and relaxation sessions. The toolkit includes techniques in mindful breathing and how to focus on the movement of their breath (whilst being aware) but not engaging in thoughts at that present time. Breathing correctly can have a physical impact on the body to help reduce bp, pulse and respiration rate whilst increasing brain waves to release serotonin.

Staff are taught techniques to help manage modern day stress by using the 4As approach and the Circles of control. Understanding what they can control, what they can influence but also what they are unable to control in a particular situation. Allowing this to be used in 1-1s, supervisions or independently as a reflective practitioner. The GLAD technique is also shared where staff are encouraged to focus on paying attention to certain positive aspects that are around them, but which frequently go unnoticed. Looking at one thing they are grateful for in that day (G), one thing that they learnt (L), an accomplishment(A) ( big or small) and a delight that touched them that day(D).

Staff are given time and the sense of being given the permission that it is okay and in fact it is needed to stop at times to refocus your mind. The mindfulness practice is also shared with those that they care for with mantras, guided imagery, chair based yoga and colour breathing meditation. Providing mindfulness for both care teams and residents.

How organizations can support staff wellbeing

  • Investing in mindfulness and wellbeing programmes for staff
  • Ensure that there are inclusive polices in place to recognise staff’s mental health
  • Enrolling a wellbeing ambassador to show staff that the company commit to supporting them


In essence, providing mindfulness opportunities to staff has several benefits. While it can bring awareness to staffs own mental health needs it has also shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and overall wellbeing. By allowing staff to feel supported this can increase organizational performance, making it a win-win situation for both parties.

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

The National Care Forum and Oomph! Wellness renew partnership with a shared ambition to create positive change for older adults

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The National Care Forum and Oomph! Wellness renew partnership with a shared ambition to create positive change for older adults

Oomph! Wellness, the UK’s leading wellbeing business for older adults, and the National Care Forum (NCF) are both committed to positively supporting people who live and work in the social care sector to help improve their wellbeing post-pandemic.

In their recent research Age UK aims to measure how older people in the UK are doing. Their research highlights ‘the most striking conclusion from our Index is the importance of maintaining meaningful engagement with the world around you in later life – whether this is through social, creative or physical activity, work, or belonging to some form of a community group.’ https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/policy-research/wellbeing-research/

Professor Vic Rayner OBE, CEO, NCF said:

“The need for engaging activities tailored specifically for older people is essential to a life well lived, particularly after the pandemic when access to such vital wellbeing resources were limited. Our ongoing partnership with Oomph! Wellness enables our members to access both On Demand resources and engaging exercise and wellbeing training.”

Matt Hamblin, Business Director, Oomph Wellness said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the NCF to drive meaningful engagement across the care sector. Additionally to have the opportunity to connect directly with NCF members and share our thinking and guidance for future innovation and support.”

Oomph On Demand is offered at a discounted rate for all NCF members. It was launched to provide a flexible digital resource that provides activity, exercise and TV content all in one easy to use wellbeing platform. It provides a wide range of resources to support residents, clients, care givers and family members to improve meaningful engagement and overall quality of life.

Content is available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Content is created by a combination of Oomph expert instructors as well as trusted partners including History Hit, Instructor Live and Arthritis Action to mention just a few.

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

10 top tips for dignified mealtimes for someone living with dementia

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10 top tips for dignified mealtimes for someone living with dementia

 Oomph Wellness in partnership with Kate Thubron,

Mindful Care Consultancy

  1. Set the scene

Dining rooms should be inviting, welcoming and have a family feel. The environment should provide sensory cues that it is time for a meal.

  1. Beware of the tableware and crockery

Use plain tablecloths, placements, and crockery. Patterned tableware can cause confusion and visual disturbances. Additionally, ensure that the plate and tablecloth are different tonal colours with the food also a different colour to the plate. E.g. white mashed potato on a white plate may be difficult to be seen.

  1. Advanced decisions

Avoid asking the person what they would like in advance – e.g in the morning after their breakfast! People with dementia experience difficulty with their short-term memory and will often struggle to remember what they requested. Allow the person to choose the food they want to eat at the time they will be eating it.

  1. Visual choices

Provide visual choices at mealtimes. This may be in the form of a visual menu or showing plated up meals to allow the person to use all their senses to decide what they would like to eat.

  1. Presentation of meals

Present the food in a nice manner, including pureed meals. Ask yourself whether you would be happy to receive and eat the meals provided.

  1. Protective clothing

Always give choice on whether someone would like to wear protective clothing for mealtimes and make sure these are dignified and not childlike. E.g dining scarfs.

  1. Finger foods

For those that find it hard to eat a full meal, finger foods may be more beneficial.

  1. Family mealtimes

Sit, eat and engage with residents at mealtimes as a family. Do not stand at the side and watch.

  1. Opportunities for independence

Provide opportunities for independence. This could be serving vegetables from a self-serving bowl on the table, using adapted cutlery or putting sugar in their tea with assistance.

  1. Hand under Hand

Become aware of Teepa Snows Hand under Hand technique to help those needing assistance with mealtimes.

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

10 top tips for better communication with a person living with dementia

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10 top tips for better communication with a person living with dementia

Oomph Wellness in partnership with Kate Thubron,

Mindful Care Consultancy

  1. Positive approach

Before you speak, make sure the person can see you approaching and are in eye view without blocking their personal space.

  1. Feeling heard

Address them by their name and provide your full attention, ensuring that the person feels heard.

  1. Speak clearly avoiding lots of questions

Speak slowly and clearly in short sentences. Avoid open ended questions or offering too many choices

  1. Listen well

listen carefully with empathy and understanding.

  1. Respectful language

Never use childlike language to the person.  Remember and be respectful of their past and experiences

  1. Meaning behind the words

Avoid criticizing, correcting, or arguing – Look for the meaning and feelings behind the words

  1. Give time

Allow time for a response. It may take a little longer to think about the message and respond.

  1. Awareness of nonverbal communication

Be aware of your nonverbal communication and body language. Provide visual cues to help deliver your message.

  1. Diminish Distractions

Be aware of background noises and reduce this as much as you can

  1. Positivity

Be positive, sensitive, and encouraging

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

10 top tips to help a person living with dementia in distress

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10 top tips to help a person living with dementia in distress

Oomph Wellness in partnership with Kate Thubron,

Mindful Care Consultancy

  1. Know the person

Find out about the person’s life history. This may help in understanding what might cause moments of distress and ways that you can help them.

  1. Knowledge of the brain

Gain further knowledge and understanding on the functions of the brain and how damage in certain areas may affect behaviour. This will help in understanding why someone may be feeling distressed but also ways to help.

  1. Remain calm

Try to remain calm. The person might say something upsetting to you when they are distressed. Take 5 to 10 seconds and think about what you’re going to say before you reply

  1. Mind your tone

Use a soothing and steady tone of voice

  1. Look for any unmet needs

Look for any signs that they have a need that is not being fulfilled. For example, are they in pain?, Need something to eat? Need comfort or reassurance?

  1. Provide validation

Reassure them that you are listening to them and that you are there to try and help

  1. Be aware of the environment

Observe anything in the environment that could be causing any further distress. Minimise distractions.

  1. Provide opportunities for meaningful engagement

Provide opportunities for the person to engage in an activity that is meaningful and enjoyable. After validating and listening to their feelings a shift in focus may help calm the person down.

  1. Avoid labelling

Using words or phrases that label, stigmatise and depersonalise people can have a big impact on someone. It can change the way they feel about themselves, their feelings and self-esteem. Labelling can also cause the way they are treated. For example, if someone is labelled ‘aggressive’ it may cause approaches to care to be unintentionally confrontational.

  1. Gain support

Sometimes asking for help can provide a fresh and new perspective on what may be causing distress and how to help.  Do not be offended if a person prefers to be cared for by someone else in that moment in time.

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

Is a cup of tea always the answer?

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Is a cup of tea always the answer?

Authored by Kate Thubron – Mindful care consultancy in Partnership with Oomph Wellness.

In support of Dementia Awareness Week, it is said that a cup of tea can solve everything, whether you’re a fan of an Earl grey, green or classic breakfast tea.

A cup of tea can indeed make you feel better, but is this always the answer for someone living with dementia who may be experiencing some form of distress?

Imagine you wake up not recognising the place you are in. You look for your partner or some form of clue to where you are and why you are there. However, your surroundings are unfamiliar and there is no-one around that you know. People are around and they look like they should be able to help. They are wearing uniforms and smiling. You try to ask for help, but you cannot express the words as you would like. They come out jumbled. They continue to smile, but your frustration grows because you need to know where you are, and no-one seems to be listening to you. You just want to go home! However, you are led to the dining room with other people you do not recognise and given a cup of tea.

As care partners it is vital that we reflect on how we would like to be treated in that situation. Stop and ask yourself:

– How would you feel in this situation?

– How would you feel and react if you did not feel listened to?

– Would shouting or crying be a valid human reaction in this situation?

– Would the cup of tea help you?

– What actions would help you?

The chances are, that the cup of tea would not help you recognize the people or place, nor would it help you feel safe and familiar in your surroundings. Therefore, this reaction of shouting or crying results from an unmet need.

The word ‘unmet’ is essentially saying a need has not been addressed. As care partners, we can start to address a person’s unmet need simply by acknowledging the persons feelings. All human beings have needs and when they are unmet, this can cause upset or distress, but we develop the ability to express these needs to help us address them.

Knowing that this is likely a reaction to something that is not right, we can start to ensure that we acknowledge the persons feelings and help appropriately. These needs could include warmth, comfort, food, love or company. People with brain changes or damage still have these needs. However, it may be more difficult to express these needs easily in a way we understand. As care partners, it is therefore vital that we look for alternative ways a person may be trying to communicate with us.

Teepa Snow identifies three areas of unmet wants and needs to look out for:

Unmet physical needs

Hunger and thirst

Tired and/or overstimulated

Bowel or urinary distress



Unmet emotional needs






Unmet psycho-social needs







If distressed behaviours, such as shouting or crying, are a form of communication, we need to consider the language we use for them. Labelling these behaviours as ‘aggressive’ or ‘challenging’ demonstrates we are not acknowledging or addressing the unmet need. Instead, it places an emphasis on how the care partner is feeling about the situation. This will not lead to the person’s unmet need being met and will likely increase in distress.

Teepa Snow asks us to, ‘Be a detective and not a judge’.

Acknowledge the distress, investigate the unmet need from the lists above and take action to help provide what is needed. Don’t expect a cup of tea to solve all physical, emotional or psychosocial unmet needs. It just won’t! However, once that need is met, a cup of tea may well be enjoyed in the way intended!

For more information about Wellbeing Training and Oomph On Demand please contact Oomph here.

Oomph Wellness partner with Kate Thubron, an Award winning Dementia Care Expert and trained Occupational Therapist…

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Oomph Wellness partner with Kate Thubron, an Award winning Dementia Care Expert and trained Occupational Therapist…

Oomph are delighted to partner with Kate bringing even more specialist expertise to assist with training and content development and driving further diversity of the overall Oomph product offering.

Kate is a trained Occupational Therapist and previous Dementia Care lead for a large care home company, covering 37 care homes and overseeing a team of 68 dementia leads. Plus additional training and experience received from University of Stirling, Teepa Snow as an official UK Trainer and the Dementia Alliance.

Her experience to date has covered advising, coaching and training diverse teams and supporting companies to develop Dementia training and Wellbeing training in line with national guidelines and policies. Additionally experience in developing company care strategies and the tools required to implement and review this alongside auditing and carrying out quality care inspections.

Kate Thubron commented

“I am delighted to partner with Oomph to help develop specialised content for their training and on demand service. Having worked with Oomph before in previous roles I have seen first hand what amazing support and services they provide for care providers. To be part of this development is very exciting.”

Ben Allen, Chief Executive, Oomph Wellness commented

“We are delighted to be working with Kate and to be able to enhance our specialist expertise from both a training and resources perspective. Kate has invaluable experience within dementia care and will be able to play a significant role in the future evolution of the Oomph business and the services we provide.”

The partnership enables Oomph to provide more specialist and evidence based support such as Cognitive Stimulation Therapy and will be invaluable in supporting the development of both training content and resources for our On Demand platform.

Outside of work Kate is married with twins who are 18 months old, is a Big football – ITFC fan and animal lover with two miniature dachshunds called Frank and Audrey…

To find out more about Oomph! On Demand, please get in touch here.