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The importance of training your care staff

The importance of training your case staffAs the care industry evolves, increasing focus is being placed on the training of staff.

For care providers, there are numerous benefits to developing the knowledge and skills of staff – including many that you may not have considered before. Not only does regular staff training ensure residents get the best care possible, it also helps boost the reputation of your organisation, produce a more professional and motivated workforce and avoid high staff turnover.

Improved care

Training enables staff to provide better basic care – for instance, helping people dressed, get out of bed and bathe. It also focuses on aspects like dispensing medication, promoting dignity, basic nutrition and hydration, and using equipment like hoists and lifts safely. Many care homes are also providing training to teach workers how to raise the alarm if they suspect abuse is taking place or see poor quality care being given by colleagues.

And this need to develop staff – and to provide specialist training – is only going to become more acute in the future. The number of people aged over 65 is expected to increase by more than 50% over the next 20 years, and there are likely to be more people living with complex conditions who require specialist care services. This means our ageing population will increasingly rely on a flexible, trained staff, who have the skills and knowledge to provide quality, compassionate care.

Benefits for care providers

Boosting the ability and performance of your staff also has direct benefits for your organisation. By improving the care you provide, you’ll enhance your reputation and help your business run more smoothly.

Better trained staff will also reduce the likelihood of accidents, injuries – to staff and residents – and, therefore, the potential for legal action.

Staff training also has long-term advantages for your business. Providing development opportunities and progression routes helps staff feel valued and engenders a supportive working atmosphere. This, in turn, increases job satisfaction, loyalty and creates a more motivated and committed workforce.

Avoid high staff turnover

Investing in your workforce helps you recruit and keep your most talented employees, and avoid the excessive staff turnover that currently plagues the care industry. Because if you can offer attractive career opportunities, you’re more likely to stand out in the current marketplace.

Laws and standards

Staff training and development is crucial when it comes to the numerous laws and professional standards with which care providers have to comply.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates health and social care services in England, requires all care staff to receive ‘appropriate training’ and undergo a full induction before they start work, while the Care Standards Act 2000 states that care home staff must receive at least three days per year.

Negative headlines

But it appears many providers are falling short – as the recent stream of scandals and negative news stories shows.

To illustrate the point, a recent study by Community Care and Unison suggested that residential and nursing home staff still aren’t getting the training they need – particularly when it comes to knowledge about safeguarding, the Mental Capacity Act and deprivation of civil liberties. All of which has resulted in residents – including those with complex needs – being treated with a lack of empathy and understanding.

Community Care analysed 300 care home inspection reports published by the CQC. Of the 250 homes told to improve by the CQC, training gaps were identified in 71%. In fact, almost half of the homes were in breach of regulations that require them to have a ‘suitably trained and supported workforce’. And of those 250 homes, 69 were found to fall short on providing training on dementia, even though 66 of them listed the condition as a specialism.

The CQC says this has worrying implications for the protection of vulnerable people’s rights.

A brighter future for care

While these findings don’t reflect all care providers, there’s no doubt that everyone can improve by providing staff with an ongoing programme of training.

And, as we’ve seen, this will mean a higher standard of care residents, better-equipped providers and a brighter future for the industry’s workforce.