Why Care Providers must check their Staff’s Certificates
Not all certificates are equal
Here’s a little food for thought for care service providers over the Christmas break. Do you use online training programs for your staff? Is it quick? Is it simple and straightforward? Above all, is it cheap? We already know the answer to all of those questions is “Yes!”
So, what’s not to like? Well, quite a bit actually.
Working in the care industry requires a great many skills and a huge amount of knowledge. There are standards, requirements, qualifications, assessments… all of which are there for a reason. That reason is safety. This is why organisations such as Flexible Training exist – to ensure that the carers are fully equipped to deal with the many varied situations they will find themselves in.
It’s totally understandable that companies providing carers look to keep their costs down as much as possible but there are some serious issues around taking the ’cheap’ option. Let’s take ‘Moving and Handling’ as an example.
Moving and Handling is all about the safe and respectful assistance given to an individual when helping them get into or out of bed or a chair, using toilet facilities, giving a bath. There is a range of specialised equipment available to assist the carer in this such as hoists, slings, wheelchairs, braces and cushions, each of which requires certain knowledge in how to use effectively and above all, safely.
Now, there is a huge choice of online training that claims to provide a simple course that can be completed in a couple of hours. The carer reads the course notes, takes an ‘exam’ by answering a ‘tickbox’ paper, often being able to go back to the notes halfway through to ensure the correct answer and then at the end, prints out their own ‘certificate’ of completion. On top of all this ease, the courses can cost as little as £35 per person!
So, what’s the problem? Well, when the Care Quality Commission comes around to check standards, they will take a rather dim view, if there are lots of certificates with little knowledge to back them up. The CQC will want to be shown that the carer actually has knowledge in the area, more than just being able to tick the right amount of boxes. Having a ‘certificate’ showing you’ve taken a ‘course’ won’t cut it. This could lead to staff being told they cannot work, and the Care organisation being put under increased observation. It’s that serious. We have seen this happen.
The Flexible Training Moving and Handling course is a face to face affair. We have access to a range of equipment that the students learn to use by actually using them! There’s a huge difference in learning how to use a hoist to lift a person by reading about all the different options and types of equipment and actually having someone sit in the hoist while you use it to move them around.
Apart from the benefits of discovering what methods work and what doesn’t, we place the carer themselves in the hoist so they can understand what it feels like for the individual to be hoisted up, swung around and lowered again. It helps encourage empathy for the individual. It is important to note that a carer will also need to be trained on each piece of equipment they use, as every model is different.
In 2010, a woman tragically died in a care home in a hoist-related incident. She was placed in a hoist swing that was set up for someone far larger than herself and during the process of being moved, she slipped out of the sling and fell five feet to the ground. She suffered head injuries and fractured her hip and knee. Sadly, she passed away the next day. The care home and its owner were fined a total of £337,000.
When sentencing, the Judge said that “Culpability, in this case, lies with the lack of training”. The owner of the company admitted that the staff had only received ‘generic training’ in using hoists.This was a terrible incident but sadly not an isolated one.
Obviously, some courses do absolutely lend themselves to online training, such as refresher knowledge courses where there is no ‘practical’ element.
So you can see where we are going with this article. If you’re using an online provider for training courses, make sure that the end results meet the expected standards of your organisation and the CQC, and maybe consider that to ensure your staff are providing the best care they can rather than just enough, you need to place them on practical courses to prepare them properly.
Flexible Training believe that this is a very serious issue that is unfortunately all too common in our industry and it is our mission to encourage all care service providers to take a very close look at the quality of training they are currently offering their staff.
We’re here to help you continue to raise standards by offering the best and most appropriate training so please get in touch to discuss this further.