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Are care support workers given enough training?

Staff training is essential in every industry, but few are as important as the care sector. Of course, there is statutory training which every care support worker must complete to comply with the legislation, but is that enough?

The care industry has long been troubled by its poor reputation. The Care Quality Commission’s (QCC) chief inspector of adult social care was reported by the BBC to have said ‘standards of care in homes is not good enough’. Sadly, reports like this tarnish the reputation of all companies in the sector – not just those which deliver poor service.

Here at Unity Training, we strongly believe quality standards go hand-in-hand with staff training. An unskilled and under-trained workforce can’t hope to deliver the levels of service that’s so essential to the healthcare industry. While statutory training is a legal requirement, many care support workers need additional training to fulfil their duties efficiently and compassionately. For example, Dementia Awareness Training is not a statutory requirement. But it’s essential for care support staff working with dementia patients. Care workers who have attended a Safeguarding Adults at Risk (SAR training) course are much more likely to identify potential cases of abuse and know how to respond appropriately.

The report by the BBC refers to standards in residential care or nursing homes, and that’s worrying. Care workers in residential homes are under the supervision of senior members of staff, who should be immediately aware of any lowering of standards or poor practices. This demonstrates the need for additional training at every level in the care industry. Residential home managers and senior staff must be trained in delivering care and supervision and management skills training to ensure their staff work to the standards required by the CQC.

While training is essential to everyone employed in healthcare, it’s critical for home care support workers who work on a one-to-one basis with their clients. While appropriate care plans must be in place and their work supervised, in-home staff often have to deal with a wide range of unexpected situations which fall outside the statutory training requirements.

Staff training delivers benefits you might never have considered. Training engenders loyalty and an increase in self-esteem. You are seen to be an employer who values your staff. As well as delivering higher standards of service which enhances your organisation’s reputation, you are also likely to benefit from increased staff retention rates.

Today, around 10 million people in the UK are over the age of 65. Society is going to have an increasing dependence on the care industry and its training needs must be addressed today. If we don’t ensure healthcare workers are properly trained today, our own care could be at risk tomorrow!

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