At Somerset Care, we believe strongly in training and developing our workforce and we invest substantially in doing so.
Indeed, we have our own training company – Acacia Training and Development ,which provides training to our care and support staff, as well as to other organisations and individuals.
Recently, our first cohort of Advanced Healthcare Practitioners completed 18 months of clinical training on a Quality Credit Framework Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care programme, jointly run by Yeovil District Hospital Academy and Yeovil College.
These new Advanced Healthcare Practitioners are working in our nursing and residential homes, as well as in our home care service, and play a key role alongside our nurses, in providing high quality clinical care to our residents and community customers.
Home care workers are now expected to care for customers with a wide range of health needs, as well as personal care; even our basic induction training covers many health-related topics, including: the administration of medication, hearing aids, stoma care, catheter care, compression stocking, infections, diabetes, COPD, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, depression and, of course, dementia, which is an area of expertise for the whole company.
Somerset Care has received national awards and recognition for our specialist dementia care support services. We call this the PETALS service which means: Person-Centred, Empowerment, Trust, Activities, Life History and Stimulation.
We’re involved in award-winning research work, recognised nationally, which we use to inform and develop our services to improve the lives of people living with dementia. We also use a tool known as Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) to check the quality of the support and care being provided.
In addition to providing our specialist dementia care support services in our care homes and people living in their own homes, our Mendip Community Services base now provide support in their new ‘Dementia Active Centre’ in Frome.
The service focuses on short to medium care and support for people with dementia and their families. The Centre is open 6 days a week from 11.00am – 3.00pm providing a variety of stimulating activities including:
• Support with cooking, gardening and other daily tasks.
• Reminiscence, life stories, sing-a-longs and music therapy.
• Light exercise, bowling, walking and outings.
• Games, quizzes, flower arranging, arts and crafts and other creative activities.
Please call a member of the Mendip Community Services team for more information about The Emma Sheppard Dementia Active Centre on 01373 473703.
A recent survey conducted by UNISON of more than 1,000 care workers employed by councils and private firms across the UK, revealed that staff receive inadequate home care training, putting the elderly and disabled at risk.
For example, of the homecare workers surveyed who administer medication, 24 per cent had received no training despite some administering controlled medication such as oramorph (liquid morphine) and insulin, 59 per cent had received no training in how to attach or change a convene catheter, 52 per cent had received no training in how to undertake stoma care, 45 per cent had received no training in how to change a catheter bag and 38 per cent had received no training in how to carry out peg feeding.
More than two thirds (69 per cent) said they cared for people with dementia, with approximately 42 per cent of the care users that they have visited in the last six months having the condition. Despite this, 27 per cent of home care workers have received no training in caring for people with dementia.
At Somerset Care, we agree with UNISON that this situation is unacceptable and are committed to continuing investment in improving and extending clinical training, and development of our home care and residential care workforce, despite the fact that national and local government funding for social care makes it uneconomic to do so.
We’re now looking forward to our next cohort of Advanced Healthcare Practitioner trainees, which includes more home care workers, starting their training and wish them well for their course.
Dr Jane Townson
Interim Lead Executive Director