Whilst a caring character is a necessary quality to be a good carer, it is not sufficient. Even the most caring person needs to be trained how to care in a way which complies with good practice and regulatory requirements. It is fundamental that carers have all necessary training and equally important that a workable system is in place to meet that need. This article deals with the latter point. All too often, providers’ training records are incomplete and disordered which at best invites criticism from CQC and at worst can mean that staff are inadvertently under-skilled, resulting in poor outcomes for service users. What follows is not intended to be the only system to address training, but is one example that is simple enough to be used by providers of any size.
Step 1 – Identify what training carers need.
An example list might include the following, among other things:
2. Fire training
3. Moving and handling
4. Emergency first aid
5. Mental capacity and deprivation of liberty
6. Food hygiene
7. Health and safety
8. Infection control
9. Safeguarding / Adult Protection (including whistleblowing)
This is not intended to be an exhaustive, or even minimum, list. It is important that each service identifies its own training needs. For example, some services may require training on challenging behaviour or dementia.
Step 2 – Draft a training matrix
Using a spread-sheet might be useful, but it can be done by hand. The matrix should have the list of required courses on one side of the page, and the list of staff members on the other.
Step 3 – Keep up to date
Each month, a manager should check each the ‘Due’ column for each course to see who will need training that month. Training should then be booked and staff notified. As courses are completed, these should be entered onto the matrix. So, if Mary P completes the missing training on 20 October 2011, the date should then be entered. Note that the date should not be entered until confirmation is received that the course has actually been done.
Records such as certificates should be obtained and retained wherever possible. At the same time as planning the coming month’s training, the manager should check to see whether anyone is overdue for training. If the system so far has been followed correctly, that could only occur if a carer missed planned training. The reason for that should be identified and fully recorded, and further training booked.
Step 4 – Squaring the Circle: Following up on training
Increasingly, CQC are asking for evidence that training taken by carers is being absorbed and resulting in improved practice. One way to evidence this is to discuss training in supervisions. Managers should discuss any training done by carers over preceding months and, in a supportive way, test how the training has improved their practice. Supervisions are also an opportunity to ask carers if there is any particular training that would help them develop further. Mandatory training should only be regarded as base level, and further training should be encouraged.
Following these steps will not only help to ensure that providers have a fully trained workforce, but also that there is paperwork to prove it when commissioners and CQC come knocking on the door.