Arc Seven Blog Archive - September 2015

Why domiciliary care needs to look at its reputation  Posted by: Alistair Clay | 14.09.15


The growth of the domiciliary care sector in recent years is a reflection of the growing desire people have to stay in their own homes for longer as their care needs increase.

Providers have largely escaped the media scrutiny which the residential care sector experiences on a daily basis, however that will change as services become ever more popular.

To avoid damaging headlines progressive providers must take a long hard look at the reputational challenges they face and be ready to tackle these.


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What’s in a name?   Posted by: Alistair Clay | 18.09.15


A care home hit the headlines last week after CQC inspectors reprimanded staff for using affectionate names with residents such as sweetie, love, darling and handsome.

CQC officials alleged the terms of endearment were patronising and demeaning and insisted they were not used.

The home, Brackenley Residential Care Home in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, hit back saying the residents liked the informal terms and said they were indicative of a caring and compassionate culture.

The CQC has since clarified its position with the Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care for the North Region, Debbie Westhead, saying: “There is absolutely nothing wrong about care home managers and staff using affectionate terms of endearment to address people in their care.

“We recognise and welcome this is part of the compassionate and person-centred care approach that we expect providers to deliver and that people simply deserve.

“But what is most important is that people, and their families, are happy and comfortable with all aspects of their care, and whose individual wishes and preferences are always understood and responded to appropriately.

And therein lies the key point – what do the residents themselves (and their loved ones) want?

Quality care should be truly personalised and uniquely tailored to each individual. Having one blanket rule banning terms of endearment is as misguided as thinking it’s fine to call everyone “love”. What does the person you are talking to think and feel?

Certainly when my own grandfather was in hospital at the end of his life I did find it disrespectful that a nurse spoke to him a PATRONISING LOUD VOICE calling him ‘dearie’. So in that incidence it was wrong to use such language.

But other people may like, and be used to, nicknames and informal language – and if they are that’s fine too.

Let’s apply a little common sense to the very useful guidelines and frameworks for elderly care to ensure the residents get the care THEY want.

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A date for your diary – October 1st Older People’s Day Posted by: Gemma Keogh | 14.09.15

Awareness days used to be a staple within a comms professional’s calendar. A creative event planned around a nationwide effort to improve knowledge about a particular medical condition or increase participation in a health initiative, was a useful way to gain media coverage for clients and ensure message cut-through.

But every other day now seems to be an awareness day, the days have increased to awareness weeks and journalists are quite rightly bored of trivial campaigns that prioritise selling a product over actual useful behaviour change. The most amusing example of awareness day overdose that I encountered recently was from a marketing manager who suggested that a care home celebrate National Beef Week to try and gain extra exposure. Go figure.

That said, there are still a few genuine initiatives that we recommend clients participate in, days that actually contribute to a much needed awareness raising effort and encourage dialogue and inclusion for marginalised groups or underserved causes. Older People’s Day on October 1st is one of those.

Even though issues affecting older people are increasingly in the news agenda and we now, as a society, are slowly confronting the challenges that we face and will continue to face in the future with an ageing population, the impact that this has on the daily lives of older people is still not enough.

Older People’s Day is a chance to give voice to the thoughts, concerns and aspirations of a demographic that are often overlooked, despite having contributed hugely to our communities throughout their lives. It’s an opportunity to recognise the value of older people and the benefit that they still bring to our society in a multitude of different ways.

Through dialogue and engagement the loneliness and isolation faced by thousands of people across the country can be drastically reduced and by learning from their experiences we can start to make an effective plan for our ageing population. What better way to learn about and find solutions for the problems encountered in old age than to ask and listen to the people who experience them?

Instead of opportunist PR, I see October 1st as a call to action, adding to the great work of other initiatives such as Care Home Open Day, in making sure older people are not marginalised, and widening the view of our society so that it includes grandparents and great grandparents.

I encourage anyone reading this, whether you work in social care or not, to take time at the start of next month and reach out to an older person that you know, talk to them and listen to their views, you never know you might learn something.

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How to take media-ready images Posted by: Gemma Keogh | 10.09.15


Image-led content is essential for successful and impactful comms – digital or print, high quality, expressive photos are crucial to conveying your brand’s key messages.

Luckily you don’t have to be a professional photographer with an impressive camera to take them. These days an eye for engaging content and a smart phone will suffice. Here are our top tips to get you started.

  • Make sure your photos are high resolution (more than 1MB file size) and are in perfect focus. Most print publications will only accept high res images and they look much better on websites and social media.
  • Be aware of the composition of the photo. Make sure all relevant and interesting items are included i.e. if you are planting a tree ensure the tree and spade can be seen.
  • It’s crucial that the people (subject) or focus of the picture fills the frame. Remember you don’t have to take full figure photos of people – from the waist up is just fine.
  • Make sure everyone in your photo is looking directly into the camera with their eyes open and big smiles.
  • Avoid the backs of people’s heads in crowds or groups. Move around the room so you get a better angle and can see people’s faces.
  • Don’t be afraid to move or rearrange people if you need to. People often feel awkward when having their photo taken so are happy to be told where to sit or stand.
  • Don’t cut off people’s heads and avoid random limbs of other people outside the frame appearing in photos.
  • Avoid taking a picture with the light behind/in front of a window. The photo will be over exposed.
  • Make sure there’s nothing obscure in the background – like a tree growing out of someone’s head.
  • Remember, only take photos of those who have said you can. If you will be using the photos on marketing materials, your website or social media you may need to get written permission of the people in the photo.
  • Think about your brand and make sure your photo represents and supports the brand messages.
  • Avoid action shots, such as people dancing. It’s hard to capture action in a photo so it is better to stage the photo and make sure you get the right effect.
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