Arc Seven Blog Archive - November 2015

Good comms must be at the heart of learning disability care changes Posted by: Alistair Clay | 17.11.15

The Government’s Transforming Care programme continues apace with the news that up to half of the 2,600 hospital beds for people with learning disabilities in England will close to move care into the community.

The changes will see the closure of some units altogether, including the last remaining NHS hospital for people with learning disabilities in England.

The news that ‘hospitals will be replaced with homes’, in the form of supported living, has been roundly welcomed by many in the sector as a move that is not before time.


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Care home activities: Are you living your values? Posted by: Gemma Keogh | 17.11.15


We encourage care home providers to organise innovative and creative events, to bring their values to life through the activities within the home.

Sometimes I’m told that there are limitations to the type of events that can be held for residents that have needs or behaviours described as challenging.

To a certain extent yes that is true, but rather than see activities through a lens of limitation I see this as an opportunity to be creative and truly demonstrate living values.

A bit of lateral thinking on the part of the staff and a willingness to make modifications can make a huge difference to the quality of life for the residents and their families.

Staff should put themselves in the shoes of those that they are supporting and ask themselves is this how they would like to spend their afternoon? Also think about what activities the families of your residents would value – what would they like to do with their loved ones if they could?

This doesn’t come easily to all staff and old habits can be tough to change so it may require further training or support from the senior management.

This may well be a big cultural change, and it won’t come for free, but it is a change that is well worth the investment because as well as making a huge difference to residents, a spin off is that truly innovative and personalised events or activities produce exceptional marketing and comms materials.

The providers who already do a great job are the ones producing the engaging content on social media, have interesting stories on their websites and have newsletters packed with features, news and photos.

For those who aren’t quite there yet, it’s a case of thinking differently and adjusting behaviour. Let’s take the usage of what some might deem as ‘infantile activities’ as an example.

Just because the audience might be older does not mean that they want child-like entertainment.

I have a one-year-old and I’ve been to ‘rhyme time’  at my local library and whilst it’s great for babies it isn’t for adults. Would you ever go to your grandparent’s or parent’s house and sing and dance in a silly voice in front of them?

Over the summer I was at a care trade show where I had the misfortune to watch an interactive performance by an independent provider of  ‘care home entertainment’.

The facilitators were dressed in bright pink, armed with feather boas and bubble machines and clapped and shrieked at the audience for a painful 30 minutes.

It left me traumatised. What must it be like for people who endure it on a weekly basis?

Thankfully there are a number of excellent providers who are really living their values and this is reflected in the great personalised activities on offer within their homes, all tailored to the wishes and desires of the residents.

If you’re not one of these then look at what your competitors are doing, check out the trade websites and see the wonderful stories that are being created across the country and see how many things would be possible in your home(s).

Ask your residents what they like to do, what hobbies did they have before they came into the home, speak with families, are there activities that the whole family can take part in together?

It’s a no-brainer. Innovative activities, that enhance the social life of your residents or service users, will improve their quality of life and will also make fantastic, compelling news stories that highlight the values of your company.


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Top 5 tips for social care promo films Posted by: Gemma Keogh | 17.11.15

1. Telling stories

Before you undertake any video production work there are a few essential questions you MUST answer. Firstly, who is your audience? Which people and organisations do you want to consume this piece of content and what action/perception do you want them to take away from it?

Once you’ve identified these stakeholders think key messages – what are the essential messages you want your audience to hear? You can then skilfully thread these messages throughout your narrative.

The narrative is vital – even for a 90 second promo video. Above all else the video must be engaging and creative so it needs a story, a clear beginning, middle and end. Remember, this video is a direct reflection of your brand so if you want to be seen as a quality provider your comms materials must be high quality too.

2. Voices

Ensure that the voices of the people you have a direct positive impact upon are at the heart of your film. Beautiful cinematic shots are lovely, and a great bonus, but ensure the voices of your service uses are heard loud and proud.

And avoid scripting people, this only generates stilted, unspontaneous replies. Let people talk freely, from the heart, and then edit down the best responses. A film needs to make an emotional connection with its audience if it is to succeed in fulfilling its core objectives.

3. Think visually

Once your narrative and storytellers are in place use images and footage to really bring the film to life. Every shot should have a purpose, whether that is reinforcing a key message, demonstrating your services in action or leading into the next scene, be deliberate and always think from the viewer’s perspective. Does this shot create the right effect? Is this sequence as impactful as it could be?

4. Evidence the positive difference you have achieved

The success of your service or facility is judged by its outcomes so make sure that you include evidence of this within the film. If you’ve helped a patient through rehabilitation show them working with their physio and making progress, if you’ve supported a service user to live independently feature them taking part in community events or managing their household affairs. This film is your CV, use it to document the great work that you do and the positive difference that you make to the lives of the people you support.

5. Shareability

When editing the film make sure shareability is top of your agenda. Keeping it as short as possible (max 3 mins) will improve engagement from your audience and the likelihood of them sharing it with their contacts or through social media. You’re not looking to produce the next Director’s Cut of the Lord of Rings Trilogy, the video should be an impactful snapshot of your services, the perfect balance between providing information and inspiration so that they either want to use your facilities or recommend them to someone else.

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#Together4Dementia Posted by: Arc7Admin | 17.11.15

By Esme Davies

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘Together for Dementia’ conference held by BRACE, a Bristol-based Alzheimer’s charity. The event was raising awareness about dementia, with inspiring talks by people living with the condition, as well as doctors and professors.

I was particularly inspired by one speaker, Hilary Doxford. After being diagnosed in 2012, she is now a member of the World Dementia Council, the only member who has dementia, and has come a long way from the shock of the diagnosis. Hilary spoke eloquently about how she was fighting the disease by focusing on the positive changes she had made to her life as a way of adapting and accepting. Dementia caused her to appreciate what she had and stop seeing the world in such a selfish way. What an incredible woman.

This resonated with me, making me aware of my brain and good health which I too took for granted. At 19 years of age, I was predisposed to believe that dementia had absolutely no relevance to me, why should it? Little did I realise was that my attitude to my mental and physical health and the lifestyle choices I make now; for example, my diet, my friends, even my education, could affect my likelihood of getting dementia in my later years. This was explored by Professor Antony Bayer in a fascinating and informative presentation.

An equally inspiring speaker was Norman McNamara, co-founder of the Dementia charity, Purple Angel. His message was about creating dementia-friendly communities by spreading the image of the purple angel, a universal symbol that meant public service providers understood the needs of people with dementia and could cater for them in the community. I realised that there was so little outside personal care that catered for those with dementia, whose needs can be as great as those with a physical disability.

I left the conference that day feeling like I had actually learnt something; I had this new awareness for something that, due to its prevalence, will inevitably play a part in my life. That said, the hope that was reflected by everyone attending the conference has left me with with a feeling of positivity for the future. In the words of Norman McNamara, I too feel that one day, “dementia will just be a memory”.

See @arcsevencomms and #Together4Dementia for our favourite thoughts, facts and quotes throughout the day. Thank you to BRACE and to everyone involved.

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