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Guidance

Healthy Eating for Work and Wellness

By Awareness, Guidance, News

When someone says the words “healthy eating” it is so easy to conjure up images of gloopy grey shakes and bowls piled high with wilted shades of green; not exactly thrilling. We all know that eating healthy has so many benefits, but making that commitment is easier said than done, right?

But, what if adopting even the simplest, cheapest and tastiest changes to your diet could develop life-changing results?

We’re not talking about body image or weight here; we’re talking about your mental health. We are talking about your energy levels and your ability to not only cope at work but thrive.

I, like so many of us have a love/hate relationship with food. It is so easy to delve into a delicious takeaway or get carried away with the sweet treats during a movie night. But when I do tuck into a plate bursting with vibrancy and freshness, it sets something alight. That’s because healthy eating doesn’t just benefit your body, it benefits your mind, too. You may not notice the results right away, but after a few days you’ll realise the better you eat, the better your mood, the better your memory and the more energy you have with less moments of fatigue.

All of these benefits make such a difference in the workplace. Being able to complete tasks with ease, and not be counting down the hours ‘til your head can hit the pillow is a huge relief. Bye bye snooze button, and hello morning smoothie! In addition, suddenly life becomes less ‘eat, sleep, work, repeat’, and you begin to seek more interesting ways to make the most of the time you have outside of work too. If you’ve always been intrigued by a sport or fancy learning a new instrument, try some brilliant healthy brain foods like fish, nuts, berries and wholegrains. Get that brain buzzing for work AND play!

As an employer, we have a great role to play in the importance of healthy eating for the workplace too. Seeing employees in higher spirits, bursting to get the job done with efficiency and energy is inspiring. When the workforce eats well, they perform well, but this isn’t just about promoting the benefits of healthy eating for the good of the firm. It’s about each and every mental health state of each employee within the company. As employers, we can offer ideas, solutions, tips and advice to staff on energy-boosting, hunger quashing snacks to get them through a long shift, or simple, cost-effective meal plans and prepping to keep them organised and energised throughout the week. Healthy eating certainly requires more thought than reaching for those unhealthy options, but with good organisation and a positive attitude, it can become second nature. And it’s our job to help our employees achieve this. After all, they spend so much of their time at work, so we have a duty to make sure they are fuelled and fulfilled to the best of their ability.

Personally, my quick go-to lunches include a salad with all the healthy goodies that I can find; Nuts, fish, vegetables, some feta cheese and dressing! It’s super cheap, fast and filling. Salad isn’t for everyone though, and it’s not the be-all and end-all of a healthy diet, so if it’s not for you, try couscous, eggs or crunchy carrots and cucumber batons with dip. Or if you’re in need of something more wholesome to get you through a long shift, be sure to separate a portion of your evening meal off the night before to take with you the next day. Sometimes, there’s something so wholesome and warming about the leftovers from the night before, isn’t there? And, don’t forget to start your day the right way! If you don’t have time to whip up some eggs and avocado on toast, then throw a vibrant mix of fruits and berries into a blender and whip up a smoothie to enjoy during your commute. Many supermarkets now stock frozen smoothie mixes which are incredibly easy to use, and mean your smoothie stays colder and fresher for longer – Perfect during these summer months!

Check out some of the links below to recipes we love to get us inspired and fill our intake with goodness!

Want super tasty breakfast smoothies? Try https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/healthy/g4060/healthy-smoothie-recipes/

Want a lunch you’ll really love? Check out https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/lunchbox

Need to combat that long shift fatigue? Then read more about The Energy ‘Diet’ from the NHS here… https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/the-energy-diet/

Need dinner recipes that won’t take all our precious evening creating? https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/quick-and-healthy

I think one of the biggest hurdles many people face when considering a change of course to a healthier lifestyle with their food is too much focus is on the benefits to our body. Of course, eating healthy has endless benefits to our physical health, and during these times, the more we can do to keep in better physical health the better (being physically healthier helps ward off illness and fight disease for instance). But, if more of a focus was put on why it’s so good for our mental health it would be easier to appreciate. With the mental health benefits, the results are felt, rather than seen, so if offers an emotional connection. And during these uncertain times, a warming embrace and comforting control over our emotions can only be welcomed.

And if we can eat food that makes us FEEL good, not just LOOK good, that’s got to be worth a try, right?

World Health Day – We Salute All Of Our Nurses

By Awareness, Coronavirus, Guidance, News

World Health Day is recognised on the 7th April to promote awareness on various health related topics from around the world. This day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organisation which was founded on the 7th April 1948.

World Health Day 2020 highlights the current status of nursing around the world – which at the moment has never been more crucial, therefore we should continuously support our nurses over the globe.

This year we are celebrating the incredible work of our nurses and midwifes, which couldn’t be more appropriate during the COVID-19 pandemic. This day is designed to celebrate the work of our nurses and health care workers to remind the whole world of the crucial role in which nurses from all sectors play to keep the world healthy, even more so than ever during this crisis.

Nurses and health workers are all at the forefront of the COVID-19 response and continuously providing high quality care when its needed the most.

These professions are the backbone of any health care team, whether nurses work in emergency services, child health, A&E, mental health, occupational health, NICU, schools, public health and elderly care (to name just a few) – we salute you all.

To honour #WorldHealthDay we have asked some of Acorns wonderful nurses to look at what guided them down their nursing path, previous experiences and what they love the most about being a nurse.

Isabel Burrows – Clinical Lead of Acorn Occupational Health

“When I was 4 years old my dad broke his leg in a road traffic accident and was in hospital for 6 months. During this time we used to visit him once a week. I became fascinated by the nurses. I loved how smart they looked and the discipline they demonstrated. I went over to one of the nurses and asked if I could put my name down on the waiting list so that I could become a nurse when I was old enough. She wrote my name down on the list. I truly believed I was on the list until I was a teenager.

“I was never in any doubt of what I wanted to do. I applied for a student nurse post at the same hospital (North Staffs Royal Infirmary) where my dad was nursed when I was 18 years old. I started work as a student nurse in September 1984. I qualified in December 1987. Our nursing set all passed the course together. We still keep in touch and meet up about 4 times a year.

“I have never regretted becoming a nurse. I have loved every job that I have had. I enjoy caring for people and the versatility of the work.

“My Dad who is sadly no longer with me told me ‘if you become a nurse, you will never be without a job’ and he was so right. My parents used to call me Matron with affection.

“I love working in Occupational Health because it concentrates on prevention rather than waiting for people to become ill.”

Isabel Burrows

Arlene Moss – Senior Occupational Health Advisor

“I trained in nursing from 1973 – 1976. I worked in A&E rising to a Sister over 18 years and I loved it. It always made you feel like you were making a difference and helping so many people.”

“Following having my 3 sons, now 28, 26 and 23, I trained and moved into Occupational Health. I then worked for 19 years as an Occupational Health Advisor and Manager for and FTSE 100 company and worked with a fantastic, forward thinking manager.

“After leaving there, I worked for a year at the Transport Police before joining the team at Acorn as a Senior Occupational Health Advisor, which I love. No day is the same and every case is so different. Spending so much time at work, you really do have to enjoy what you do.”

Arlene Moss

Sharon Proudlove – Occupational Health Screening Nurse

“From a young age, I was always surrounded by ‘medical’ stuff – my dad had spent the latter part of his army career working in the medical corps and then went onto become a First Aider for the Gas Board, taking part in numerous First Aid competitions up and down the UK. He became the go to person for anyone in the neighbourhood long before 111 came about!”

“I was torn between wanting to train as a nurse or to work with people with disabilities  so my careers teacher suggested I train as a nurse for people with Learning Disabilities, I didn’t even know there was such a qualification! So that’s what I did. From 1982 to 1995 I worked in a large hospital for people with very profound learning and physical disabilities and challenging behaviours with complex mental health issues too. I rose through the ranks becoming a Ward Sister and then a Night Shift Coordinator.

“But I still hankered to be an RGN – so in 2004 I retrained and gained my RGN qualification. I love doing all things clinical and medical, give me a mucky wound or an abscess to dress and I’m in my element.

“I’ve worked in various specialities within the hospital setting and am proud of my profession and my only regret is not having got into Occupational Health Nursing 15 years ago.

“I love being a nurse. When someone says if you had your time all over again what would you be? Well, I’d still be a nurse!”

Sharon Proudlove

Claire McMullan – Occupational Health Screening Nurse

“My dreams of becoming a nurse started when I was a little girl maybe at the age of 6 – seeing my auntie being a nurse in her dress, belt and cap. She was my first inspiration.

“I started my career in nursing as a Health Care Assistant in the NHS many years ago. I always enjoyed providing the best care I could to my patients and knowing they were comfortable and listening to everyone’s life stories and experiences.

“I eventually moved into Occupational Health as a Technician which I really enjoyed. I quickly outgrew this role, so I decided to go and do my access course into nursing and then went onto my nursing Degree. During this time I unfortunately lost a close friend who passed away suddenly. She always knew I wanted to be a nurse, where she always kept on my case trying to push me to do it. With her passing I decided to pursue my dream for her and myself.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student nurse over 3 years, I met a lot of knowledgeable, smart and caring professionals along the way which moulded me into the nurse I am today.

“I’m now back in Occupational Health and provide support to employers and employees, and monitor the health of the workforce. Again, I meet a lot of people on a daily basis and I know I make a difference to them. I’m there to support individuals, speak for them when they feel unable to and offer guidance that can be implemented into the workplace.  I still have a lot to learn in this area of nursing, but I know I will shine and continue to do the best I can. I work in a great team of other Nurses, Technicians and of course our Admin Team of whom all support me daily.

“All nurses will be committed, provide care, show compassion, have courage, communicate to others where required and are competent in what we do.”

“I know I contain all these qualities and I will always be the best nurse I can be … I am proud to be a nurse.”

Claire McMullan

To all of the nurses and health care professionals out there that are working hard, not just today, but everyday – we salute you!

Coronavirus Antibody Tests

By Coronavirus, Guidance, News

Acorn now have the opportunity to provide an instant, rapid antibody test for Coronavirus (Covid-19). Please find questions and answers regarding the test detailed below

This testing regarding coronavirus follows requests for this service from many of our customers.

Testing Times:

  • 5 minutes to take the blood sample
  • 15 minutes to read
  • 5 minutes to explain the result to the individual and write a certificate/report

Need to know:

  • The kits are ordered on demand and delivery takes 1-2 weeks.
  • Once the kits have been ordered, they cannot be cancelled.

For more information regarding the antibody test kits please get in touch with Acorn. You can call us on 01260 277797 or email: info@acornoh.co.uk


Questions and Answers:

How is the test performed?

This is a blood test taken from a finger prick. A nurse or technician will attend to employees who are not displaying obvious symptoms (cough and high temperature). The nurse or technician will be wearing appropriate PPE.

What does this test tell you?

The test will provide information on antibodies for Covid-19. This will give the employee information as to whether they have developed any antibodies. The test provides results for both the IgM and IgG antibodies.

What do the antibodies tell you?

  • If no IgM or IgG antibodies are detected it means that the individual has not been in contact with the virus but may be at risk if they do come into contact with Covid-19 or if they have mild symptoms they may be in the “window” with early stages of infection.
  • IgM antibodies detected in an initial blood sample mean that it is likely that the person became infected with Covid-19 virus within recent weeks or they are in the early stages of infection and should self-isolate.
  • IgG and IgM antibodies detected in an initial blood sample mean that the individual is in the active phase of infection but the human body is developing some immunity to Covid-19.
  • IgG antibodies are detected but the IgM is negative, then it is likely that the person had an infection sometime in the past and they are clear of infection meaning that they have gained antibodies and are safe to work.

Does the test need to be sent to a laboratory?

No, the test provides an instant result within 15 minutes. However, like all screening tests further laboratory testing may be required based on both current and future guidelines issued by Public Health England.

What happens if the test is positive?

We will provide advice according to the result

Is the test validated?

The test is validated and CE marked for professional use only. Public Health England have not validated the test yet and when/if they do it is possible that all the test kits will be redirected to the NHS.

What is the accuracy of the test?

This test is 99.2% accurate


If you would like any more information regarding the coronavirus antibody test, give us a call on 01260 277797.

Guidance For People Working From Home

By Guidance, News

A nurse from our team at Acorn has prepared the following guidance to anyone working from home.

There can be many benefits to an employee for working from home including increased flexibility, improved productivity, reduced travel costs, enhanced work life balance and a comfortable working environment. There are however things to consider in order to maintain your health,  well-being and productivity when working from home. Employees working from home are ideally: happy in their own company, self-disciplined and motivated, resilient, able to work without supervision and are able to separate work from home life.

Please see below some points to consider when working from home.

Ensure you have a dedicated work area. If using a laptop, consider having separate mouse and keyboard and continue good principles of good Display Screen Equipment (DSE) posture. If possible and available, use a computer desk and chair and sit with your back supported and arms horizontal to the keyboard.

Make the most of technology

There are many programs, apps and tools available to make it faster and easier to cross tasks off your to-do list. Use these tools to your advantage by setting reminders to be sure you accomplish everything on your list. Keep connected with other colleagues through use of Skype, Zoom and Whats App groups.

Be mindful of of technology distractions – There are so many things you can do with internet access — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, etc. The time you spend “screen sucking” during work hours translates into more time you’ll need to work when you should be done for the day. Occasional checks are okay but try to restrict these during working hours or use a timer to be sure an hour hasn’t passed without you noticing.

Take regular breaks

Breaks are crucial, even if it’s just to walk to the kitchen to refresh your coffee or check the mailbox, a change of scenery can greatly improve your ability to focus and concentrate. Just a few minutes of thinking about something other than work can help to re-energise and focus. This will also allow you to avoid eye strain and keep those headaches at bay.

Plan ahead

Schedule appointments and personal activities at the beginning or end of the day, whenever possible, as you would if you were working in an office. It’s more efficient to go to the dentist early in the morning and work a little later, rather than stopping your work flow in the middle of the day.

Making a to-do list whilst planning will help to prepare what you can to ensure that you can hit the ground running. It will help to kick start the day smoothly.

Enforce willpower

It can be difficult to work from home when you’re surrounded by chores you could do and hobbies or activities you enjoy. Add these into the planning of your day if required, but set boundaries for yourself so that you are continuing to enforce the correct balance when working from home.

General well-being

  • Eat Healthy – Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and drink 6 glasses of water each day. Try to avoid the easily accessible snacks where possible.
  • Exercise – Try to perform 30 minutes of exercise, 5 times per week. This can be a walk at lunch time or yoga in the morning, try something new.
  • Social Contact – Keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues via telephone or Skype.
  • Sleep well – Try to have 7 to 8 hours sleep per night and do not look at monitors and screens prior to bedtime.

Everyone works differently, but hopefully these points will help to guide you in the right direction when working from home.