The cost of staff development is easy to measure – it’s there in black and white on budgets and cost reports. But what about the cost of not training? How do we measure that?
Clearly, it’s much harder. The implications of underinvestment in training can’t always be linked to a figure in a financial report. But implications there are – and pretty serious ones at that.
Community Care carried out research into CQC inspection reports to see if there was a relationship between how care homes were rated and the training and competence of the care workforce.
The fact that there is a relationship isn’t the surprise. The surprises were just how strong that relationship is, and the fundamental areas of training that are being missed. They are often key competencies that anyone would expect from an institution that was looking after old and vulnerable people.
Gaps in training, particularly in homes rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’, covered areas such as dementia, safeguarding, the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Standards.
We know that when staff are trained in dementia, care residents are calmer, happier and enjoy a better quality of life. They are less prone to erratic or challenging behaviour that create a stressful working environment. Other training gaps relate directly to residents’ wellbeing and human rights – how do you put a cost on that?
While basic training may be in place in most cases, gaps in the specialist training concerning the care of adults with complex needs puts people at risk.
Because training is a direct and measurable cost some providers are tempted to cut back – particularly in the face of financial pressures and staff shortages. But surely this is a false economy.
When you invest in people they are more loyal. You have fewer staff shortages and recruitment issues to manage. Confident and competent people are also more productive. They create the kind of environment where people would be happy to see their elderly relatives being cared for, which can also relieve some of the financial uncertainty a care home might face.
Training is a commitment and an investment. Without investment in key areas that cover complex needs of vulnerable people you may be a care provider in name only – and not really equipped to look after the people who trust you with their wellbeing.