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Oomph! Wellness Ollie Avery

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.

L&M Healthcare teams up with Oomph! to help residents engage in person-centred exercise and activities…

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L&M Healthcare teams up with Oomph! to help residents engage in person-centred exercise and activities…

The award-winning social enterprise Oomph! are providing fun-filled training and support to six L&M Healthcare homes.

Taking a whole-home approach to activities, teams will have expert-led training in Oomph!’s Wellbeing Leadership programme. This will equip them with everything they need to create and sustain a person-centred plan of varied exercise and activities that each resident loves. The training is tailored to each home and focuses on meeting and exceeding regulatory requirements.

Each home has 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 and meeting a range of interests and abilities –meaning care teams will be able to support residents to tune into live and recorded seated exercise sessions including things like ballet, chair yoga and mindfulness. Residents will also be able to 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, an interactive activity calendar which can be selected according to a desired wellbeing goal or resident’s interests.

Jo Fogg, Operations Director from L&M Healthcare commented…

‘We have some very creative Wellbeing Leads in our homes who have been providing person-centred activities for many years. Adding Oomph to their toolkits enables them to cut down on the vast amount of research time needed for planning and creating activities, leaving them more time to engage with residents.

Initial feedback has been extremely positive, and we are looking forward to seeing how this enhances the provision of person-centred activities and exercise in our homes over the coming months.’

Ben Allen, CEO from Oomph Wellness, commented…

‘We are excited to be partnering with L&M Healthcare 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 L&M Healthcare to ensure we are constantly providing meaningful engagement across every home.’

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

Vindico Becomes Official Tech Partner of Oomph Wellness!

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Vindico Becomes Official Tech Partner of Oomph Wellness!

 Oomph! is pleased to announce our latest tech partnership with Vindico

Oomph!’s latest tech partnership will see us collaborate with Vindico to drive Oomph! On Demand and its related services.

As the UK’s leading wellbeing business for older adults, Oomph! is on a mission to positively change the impact of ageing. They aim to do this through nationwide training, support, solutions, and days out.

And as tech partner, Vindico will now be lending an innovative hand to help Oomph! do just that.

The partnership will cover all aspects of tech related to Oomph!’s On Demand services. Led by Technical Director Ryan Griffiths, Vindico’s Purple Vinjas will be using their expertise to help Oomph! streamline the brand’s digital approach whilst also enhancing the customer experience.

Speaking of the new tech partnership, Vindico MD, Jo Polson says:

“Their wonderful offerings already bring massive improvement to the lives of those in care so the opportunity to be part of this evolution and create an even bigger impact makes all of us at Vindico delighted to be part of the future journey of Oomph!”

Adding to this, Ben Allen, CEO and Founder, Oomph! Wellness says:

“We are delighted to be working with Vindico to refine and develop our technology solutions for care teams. This exciting partnership will enable us to step up our offering and bring a whole new level of wellbeing to the sector.”

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

From Qigong to Bollywood: Care Services Getting Active with New Wellbeing Initiative

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Two organisations have partnered up with award-winning social enterprise Oomph! to provide care services with a huge variety of exercise resources.

This aims to keep service users fit and healthy, with everything from chair-based salsa video workouts to strength and balance exercise plans.

The two organisations, Leap and team BEDS&LUTON, worked in partnership on a joint application to Sport England, to receive vital funding to support care services with access to the Oomph! On Demand digital platform.

17 care services in Bedfordshire, Luton, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes are now using the digital platform, which is full of exercise and activity resources. The resources are designed specifically for care homes, sheltered housing, retirement living, day centres and other care providers.

The platform features a wide variety of exercise content, from adapted chair-based dance sessions to exercise plans and mindfulness videos, and activity content including interactive quizzes, printable activity books and a weekly newspaper.

The partnership is the first of its kind and will robustly track and measure the impact of the support on Bedfordshire, Luton, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes participants using regular forms.

Clare Fitzboydon, Director of team BEDS&LUTON commented:

“We have been delighted to be able to support the Oomph! on Demand pilot as it sits perfectly with our strategy ‘Moving Forwards Together’. I believe that this will support the creation of a new culture with adult social care and beyond, where older people routinely engage in physical activity that will enable them to feel fitter, stronger, happier and more confident to move more. It is important we work in partnership to help those who struggle the most to be physically active and this is a great example of this collaborative approach.”

 A Manager of a Luton Residential Care Home commented:

“Music is a joy to interact with the service users with, residents really enjoy the music and movement session and also the workbooks/puzzles about music – the Oomph! On Demand resources are excellent.”

A Care Home Resident commented:

“I really enjoy the chair exercises, they are so fun to do!”

An Activity Coordinator in a Care Home in Milton Keynes commented:

“The online sessions boosted the residents’ confidence with mobility. One particular resident was left in a very happy and confident mood soon after the session finished, she felt more able to walk and move better”.

Abbi Mckane, Project Participation Manager for Leap: 

“It’s great to be working with Oomph! On Demand on this pilot.  At Leap we are always looking for new and innovative ways to help improve the health and wellbeing of older adults.

We are excited to work in partnership with organisations from Bucks and Milton Keynes to enable their residents to feel more confident, independent and happier to access opportunities that support them to be more active”.

The platform is available 365 days a year, across a diverse range of topics and meeting a range of interests and abilities. It will enable service users to tune into live and recorded sessions, including language lessons, virtual tours and history talks.

Staff and service users are able to select activities according to their desired wellbeing goal or personal interests.

 Matt Hamblin, Business Director at Oomph! Wellness commented:

“Oomph! are delighted to be working with team BEDS&LUTON and Leap on this exciting new partnership. Oomph! On Demand will be able to provide invaluable resources and inspiration to drive meaningful engagement for residents across all participating services.”

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