New perspectives on training
A pioneering technique in the way carers are trained has been revealed to journalists during a special session at RMBI care home Prince Michael of Kent Court in Watford
On 18 June, journalists from BBC Breakfast, Reuters and Radio 4 joined care home manager Elizabeth Corbett and her team to take part in the RMBI’s innovative training programme, Experiential Learning. The initiative puts carers in the shoes of their residents, helping them to understand what it might be like to live in a care home.
During the session, journalists were given the opportunity to experience some of the daily challenges faced by some 400,000 older people who live in care homes across the UK. Scenarios included being pushed in a wheelchair while blindfolded, receiving supported feeding to eat a meal, being hoisted from a seated position and wearing a wet incontinence pad.
An individual approach
The RMBI has practiced ‘person-centred’ care in its homes for a number of years. Adopting a person-centred perspective is a way of providing tailored care and support based on the resident’s point of view – ‘standing in their place’ and appreciating how they might be feeling. This is a very different approach from treating everybody in the same way and makes the care that RMBI provides individual to each resident.
Louise Bateman, Director of HR at the RMBI, explained how the need for specific training in this area was identified: ‘In 2014 we reviewed our recruitment and induction programmes for new care staff. We wanted to ensure that we were recruiting individuals not solely upon their technical skills or abilities, but on the basis of their values and attitudes to care.’
Bateman said that the RMBI realised it was important for its carers to have an empathic approach and to be able to step into the shoes of residents under their care. ‘We talked to recently joined carers as well as managers to develop our thinking.
From this we redesigned the induction programme to include the Experiential Learning initiative so that we could improve the quality of our service and provide residents with a deeper level of person-centred care,’ she continued.
The initiative has been in place for all new care staff in RMBI care homes since October 2014 – from nurses and activity coordinators through to carers and shift leaders. Plans to expand the training are also well underway, with additional scenarios to be included, such as brushing someone’s teeth.
Senior Care Trainer Nina Stephens, who led the Experiential Learning session, said: ‘This new way of training carers has already improved the lives of the people in our homes. It allows RMBI care staff to have a greater insight into some of the challenges faced by our residents. We feel that experiential learning should be adopted by the whole care sector, as part of the drive to raise care standards to the highest level.’