Greener Care

Devon Care home Collaborative


The workshop

At the start of the project, we created a survey that was disseminated within our collaborative. Some of you may have seen this survey and filled one out. The aim of this initial survey was to get a picture where we are as individual homes with regards to reducing our carbon footprint. The survey can be found here.

Following this survey we held a workshop on the 10th of November. The aim of the workshop was to show the participants the results of the survey and to initiate a discussion around what it means for a care home to become more sustainable. The video of the workshop can be watched here.

The results of the survey

Summary of the Online Greener Care Workshop held on the 10th of November.

Following the survey, we send out earlier this month we held an online workshop aimed at setting a strategy for the members of DCHC to become more sustainable. The event was attended by 16 members of the collaborative.

We started by sharing the results of the survey, See pictures above

Next, we heard about the importance of making a start with the measuring of our carbon emissions to reach the targets set by many governments around the world to stay below a 1.5C degree temperature rise. These targets will be challenging to reach but as we discover where in our organisations, we can make a difference we can start making changes. There was an interesting discussion around the methods to choose for measuring these emissions and it was shared that it is hard at this stage to arrive at a consensus what tools to use for this. The Tools can be found on this website

One participant shared that the health sector can feel a little bit isolated in comparison to other sectors where the measuring tools are already being implemented. The formation of the greener care workgroup and the work being done to find a strategy is being seen as a chance to share and develop plans as to how to address climate related issues ourselves. It was agreed that the greener care forum could act as a good platform to share ideas and good examples from niche areas. To share within the collaborative where some changes have already been made with some good results in reducing emissions but also costs by being more efficient.

Participants in the workshop also shared that it can be difficult to know what the right decision is to make. As an example, the purchase of a new boiler was given. Again, it was recognised that sharing experiences within the collaborative could benefit other homes within it, saving time and money in finding out what deals there are out there.

We also discussed issues around waste. Waste collection practices vary across the county and is dependent on the council your home is situated in. This can mean that for different homes you can have different practices. Since waste collection is a major expense for all of us it was suggested, we could start gathering data around the waste collection. The buying group could take this data and use it to negotiate a better and more user-friendly deal.

On the topic of transport, we covered the use of electric cars. It was shared that DCC may have money available for electric cars, each home would have to apply for the money themselves, but DCHC could offer support to help set this up. More information on this will be soon forthcoming. We also discussed the hire and/or purchase of electric bikes. At this stage we still need to investigate what the best scheme for the collaborative would be.

Next, we discussed lighting and the installation of motion sensors. Part of the discussion was around where and in which rooms, the sensors would be most suitable in relation to safety of the residents. There is a risk that lights go off whilst residents are still in a room, the toilet for example, this increases the falls risk and needs to be carefully considered when installing these types of sensors. One member shared a type of lighting they have installed in their homes where the light dims to about 10% luminescence which is a safer option. Easier locations to install motion sensors could be staff rooms, break rooms and offices.

We also had a discussion around the supply chain and what can be done by making different choices in products you choose to buy for your homes. Interestingly some greener alternatives are also cheaper and produce less packaging. The buying group will investigate what can be done to reduce the cost further and streamline the process of ordering certain products.  There was a short discussion around the supply of incontinence pads. It became evident that practices across the organisation vary. Some homes reported to get part of their supply through the NHS/local council and others were purchasing them themselves. This has the potential to be more streamlined too. It is also a product that sometimes needs a relatively quick delivery through places like Amazon which could have a negative impact on the carbon footprint of your supply chain. Clarification from local councils is needed to help us reduce the number of drops. Companies like CLH could be involved in these discussions.

Food and beverages were briefly discussed, and it was shared that the buying group is looking into this for the collaborative. In the next newsletter we hope to share more details around food and beverages.

Next, one of the participants was able to share how they have used the BRE assessment tool, a tool that can be used to look at your energy use and carbon savings that can be made. The tool is relatively easy to use and can be found through the DCHC website or by searching for BRE tool through a search engine. The tool looks at building efficiency and shows you where quick wins can be made.