Advanced wet room facilities
One of three care homes operated by Only Care, Hollybank House in Oakerthorpe is a 40-bed facility caring for elderly residents with a variety of needs. Taking pride in a homely and person-centred approach, Hollybank has commissioned Gainsborough to install a new specialist wet room and accessible toilets for enhanced care.
Located in scenic countryside, Hollybank House was established as a care home 30 years ago by the late property owner Margaret Bradley. She converted the impressive farmhouse and spacious surrounding land so that Hollybank would provide a caring and supportive home for local people. Only Care Limited acquired the business in 2012 and has continued with the ethos of delivering a homely and welcoming environment so that service users feel part of a community. It is operated by a strong team of 41+ specialist staff who provide residential, nursing and respite care. Many residents have dementia and mobility issues hence require support 24/7.
Hollybank’s exceptional level of care, rated good by the Care Quality Commission, is delivered in a compassionate manner through highly established team members, many of whom are either friends or relatives. This rapport adds unique positivity to the atmosphere at Hollybank which is reflected in its excellent facilities. Only Care has invested extensively in modernising the property and its new Gainsborough wet room and toilets represent the latest addition to its programme of enhancements.
As a total bathroom solution provider, Gainsborough was approached by Only Care during 2018 as they were seeking a specialist in accessible wet rooms and toilets. Chris Ashton, Group Operations Manager and Registered General Nurse (RGN), alongside the Business Directors and Jane Brown (RGN), Care Home Manager, decided Gainsborough was the ideal supplier to implement the project in terms of quality, time-scale and budget.
Matt McDermott, Gainsborough Wetroom Field Manager, took the lead on the project and through his 20 years’ of experience, recommended the ideal specification for Hollybank. Floor plans and detailed designs were supplied with quality materials and durable fixtures suitable for a high-traffic environment. The wet room needed to provide more than six showering cycles per day and continuous toileting. Welcoming aesthetics and efficient moving and handling were also of high importance.
During the initial site survey, Gainsborough discovered significant pre-enablement works needed to be completed. The main issue was enhancing infection control through better ventilation, drainage and the elimination of exposed pipework. Hence the Gainsborough design team recommended the ceiling was lowered, the sub-floor was reconstructed and walls were repositioned.
The lowered ceiling provided a cavity for an industrial-standard inline fan and ducting so moisture in the environment could be expelled more efficiently – hence reducing the risk of harmful microbes. Hygiene was enhanced further by high quality anti-slip, hygienic specialist flooring with capped edge coving and all pipework was concealed in walls or within easy-clean cabinets. These factors significantly reduced the rise of bacteria and improved the efficiency of deep cleaning routines.
Installation began in February 2019 and work was completed within four weeks, on budget and on time. Jane Brown, Registered Care Home Manager, was impressed with the attitude of the Gainsborough Tradesmen: “All the installers from Gainsborough were considerate to both our residents and staff. They were pleasant and cheerful and Matt always kept us informed about progress, especially when details needed to be discussed. Protective covers were placed over surrounding carpets and their diligent work ethic was commendable. It was imperative that the work did not cause disruption or compromise the well-being of the residents, especially as several have dementia. Matt and his team were very mindful of timings so we could continue to operate seamlessly.”
High quality care with a homely approach is the main focus at Hollybank House. Jane explains that their new wet room needed to reflect this ethos: “Most of our residents have limited cognitive abilities and therefore need a warm, safe and reassuring space to bathe. We relied upon Gainsborough to provide the best solution to cater for such needs so that the washing experience was pleasant and positive. This involved the specification of appropriate assisted sanitary ware and a shower unit which would allow focused care. Yet the feel and decor of the room still say ‘home’. Several residents have commented on how much they like the new wet room.”
Jane continues: “Infection control is a top priority for us and we now have modern facilities that will assist in strengthening hygiene. We continue to be thorough with our cleaning procedures however Gainsborough’s design has allowed us to be more effective and efficient. Without skirting boards, the coved floor edges do not harbour bacteria and with all pipework concealed, the risk of dirt and grime being present is eliminated. The fact that specialist antimicrobial grout and silicone has been used throughout increases our protection against superbugs. From an access point of view, carers have ample room to manoeuvre hoists and wheelchairs in readiness for toilet or shower seat transfers. Fixtures and features are robust and precisely fitted; overall the wet room boosts clinical excellence yet feels more like a contemporary domestic bathroom. I would recommend Gainsborough to all other care homes looking for a specialist wet room.”
The Hollybank wet room incorporates a multitude of features that will provide long term value and better care. Gainsborough only fits quality products that withstand intense usage so that performance is assured. For example, the latest ergonomic and foldable arm rests have been installed for stability when using the toilet – appropriately designed for users with limited hand dexterity. To stabilise residents when transferring laterally onto the toilet, heavy-duty lugs have been added so that the seat remains static and its fixings are not compromised. The carefully selected TMV shower includes an extended rail and two metre
hose to accommodate both standing and seated residents and the showering area provides seamless wheelchair access. The hallmark of a Gainsborough installation is considered detail – these include the choice of floor and wall coverings. The tone of surfaces was specifically selected by Gainsborough so that walls are dementia friendly in terms of hue, tone and reflective properties.
GROUP OPERATIONS MANAGER TESTIMONIAL
On completion of the project Chris Ashton, RGN and Only Care Group Operations Manager, concludes: “Only Care are very satisfied with the outcome provided by Gainsborough. We pride ourselves on providing care excellence and our new wet room and toileting facilities will enhance this promise. From a service point of view, they were efficient and professional and Matt’s extensive experience clearly added value to Gainsborough’s proposition. Our investment in these quality bathing and toileting facilities by Gainsborough reflects our continual commitment to resident well-being.”
LATEST TECHNICAL SUGGESTIONS
The importance of specialist ventilation
The combination of warm air and high humidity makes it imperative to provide adequate extraction in a specialist wet room, not just ventilation. Condensation forms when the temperature of a surface is below the dew point of surrounding air. This leads to streaming windows and walls, resulting in damp and slippery surfaces, plus subsequent mould growth.
De-centralised mechanical extract ventilation (dMEV) fans are ideal as they provide a preventative form of ventilation – continuously extracting humid, moist air, as opposed to traditional intermittent ventilation systems.
Quality flooring is key
The installation of high-quality flooring is critical for bathroom and wet room safety and hygiene. Brands such as Altro, with capped 100mm floor coving, provide durable, slip resistant surfaces that allow thorough cleaning right to the edge of the room. Materials that are HACCP Approved or Food-Safe PVCu Polymer provide robust surfaces that operate effectively even at 60OC. Meeting EU Directives regarding health and hygiene must also be considered along with substrates that do not include pronounced textures or nodules which could harbour bacteria.
Considered wall surfaces
White gloss walls may look clinical and are easy to clean, however they do not communicate a warm, relaxed atmosphere. Light Reflection Values (LRV) should be considered for dementia environments with at least a 30LRV difference between walls and floors / walls and doors. Reflections can be disorientating for some service users especially if visually impaired and darker colours can be perceived as threatening – hence matt surfaces and neutral hues are recommended.
Advanced CAD design
Part of its all-encompassing G360 services, Gainsborough offers bathroom planning and design. This service leverages powerful BathCAD software, part of the ArtiCAD platform, so that advanced CGI visuals can be provided along with detailed specifications and floor plans.
ArtiCAD ensures maximum usability for architects and designers whilst healthcare clients can appreciate more clearly the visionary solutions that Gainsborough proposes. High definition 3D designs in a highly adaptable interface ensures seamless development during a project – ultimately resulting in a better solution both in terms of practicality and aesthetics.