TLC Care provides care to hundreds of residents across North London, Hertfordshire, Cambridge and Surrey. Many residents in care homes suffer from hearing loss without being diagnosed, they may be completely unaware of their condition. Sometimes the residents who suffer from hearing loss are at risk of withdrawing from activities in daily life as they find it hard to engage with other residents and family members.
One of the biggest problems faced in the care sector is access to specialist services, such as ear and hearing health services. Care home staff lack the training and tools necessary to assess residents’ ears, so they must organise GP and hospital appointments. This requires extra staffing time and cost, increases the risk of falls, outside infection and distress to the resident, especially if they have dementia. What’s more, because the NHS is under a lot of pressure at the moment, most patients are facing substantial wait times before they can attend their appointment.
“There has always been a problem getting any sort of services because they are not classed as emergency services, getting somebody’s hearing loss checked, it can take weeks, or even months.” – Pradeep D’Cruz, TLC Care Home Manager
TLC Care continuously strive to deliver outstanding care and enhanced wellbeing to their residents. They were the first care operator in England to look for a better way to deliver this care to their residents. They wanted an innovative solution to provide in-house ear and hearing healthcare for their residents.
As a result, TLC decided to trial the Tympa system – a portable, all-in-one hearing health assessment device. It enables residents to under- go digital otoscopy, microsuction wax removal and a hearing screener all in the comfort of the care home. TLC team members deliver the service so the resident already knows and trusts that person, and is happy to undergo an assessment. What’s more, residents can receive this care from anywhere within the home, whether that be from an armchair, a wheelchair, or in bed. In doing so, many of the associated risks of attending outpatient appointments can be avoided.
“The familiar surroundings is what really makes her comfortable…every time we mention the hospital to her, it’s no, no I’m not going to the hospital. So having it looked after here and having some people that understand what the problem with the ear is, is a great thing for me.” – Son of TLC Care Resident
Delivering this service not only helps to provide an extra level of care for residents but offers a unique upskilling opportunity for care home staff. TLC team members were directly trained by TympaHealth, who are a team of Audiology and ENT experts. Once signed off, TLC team members are empowered to deliver this service to their residents. What’s more they are accredited by ENT UK, The British Society of Audiology (BSA) and The British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA).
Arguably, the most important part of this in-house service is the “remote review” feature. If required, TLC team members can call upon expertise from Tympa’s team of Audiology and ENT experts. If a review is requested, an Audiologist or ENT will look at the patient’s images and video and can provide support with diagnosis, and guidance given. This means residents have access to specialist care without the need to wait for and attend an outpatient appointment. It is even possible to send images and video of a resident’s ear directly to a GP, who is then able to prescribe directly, without the need to assess the resident in person or wait for an appointment.
Thanks to this innovative new solution TLC can now provide an extra level of care to residents. It’s not just wax removal, but cleaning and maintaining hearing aids, carrying out regular hearing assessments, and providing instant access to care when needed. Residents remain engaged and active in the care home community and staff can more easily communicate with residents, making their job much easier.
After a successful trial using the Tympa system, TLC are now expanding from 3 homes to all TLC Care homes. It has been an overwhelming success and the residents, staff and family members all approve of the new service.
The Tympa system is revolutionising the way care home residents access ear and hearing health services. Bringing these services into the home ensures residents receive outstanding care whilst minimising any risks. The aim should be for this approach to be adopted more widely across the care sector so more residents can benefit from vastly improved ear and hearing health.
You can see the Tympa system in action at