Why Is Staff Training Important In Health And Social Care?
Within any industry that works primarily with families, it’s crucial that the people working with them are able to do their jobs competently and consistently. Health and social care is one of those industries.
So, why is staff training so important in health and social care? What we tend to see, is that with so many factors to consider when running a busy health and social care service, staff training can often slip down the priority list. It can’t be overstated how bad an idea this is to have happen in your organisation.
For care providers, there are a variety of benefits to developing the knowledge and skills of staff – including many that you may not have considered before. Not only does regular staff training ensure residents and patients get the best care possible, but it also helps boost the reputation of your organisation, produce a more professional and motivated workforce and helps reduce staff turnover.
Not only that; the CQC looks favourably on services and trusts that actively provide staff training and development opportunities – so if you’re looking for ways to increase your inspection ratings, you’ve found one.
Let’s explore our five key benefits of staff training within the health and social care sector:
Fill the Skill Gaps
Training employees in the health industry not only provides an opportunity to evaluate the abilities and skills of your employees, but it also helps to identify the gaps in their knowledge and areas of improvement that can be plugged via training.
Staff training seeks to discover the strong points of employees and makes them even stronger in those areas to improve their performance and ensure that they are delivering quality and knowledgeable service that is second to none.
With appropriate and necessary training, staff can diversify their skill sets and more easily spread across many disciplines. This will save you money in the long run by reducing the need to hire more people to fill gaps.
Increase Staff Morale
Training your team shows that you value them and want to enable them to succeed in their roles. They are reassured that you are willing to make an investment into their progression as healthcare professionals – so they are more likely to stick around if a competitor starts to target them for recruitment.
Training also brings staff together outside the pressures of their typical working day. Learning together in a fun and inspiring training session, can create a positive team environment and create bonds that last when they come back into their normal working environment.
A team with high morale is far more likely to keep smiling and working hard through the challenges – and this is key for workers that face the kind of stressful situations health and social care workers face on a regular basis.
The CQC Love It
Staff training and development is crucial when it comes to the numerous laws and professional regulators with which care providers have to work within and comply with.
The Care Quality Commission, which regulates health and social care services in England, requires all care staff to receive ‘appropriate training’ and undergo a full induction before they start work. While the Care Standards Act 2000 states that care home staff must receive at least three days of training per year.
Consider this – is your health or social care service truly effective, thorough, responsive and well led if you don’t have staff training in place? CQC inspectors want to see evidence of regular, effective and appropriate training happening. Not training as a one-off event at the induction stage, but on an ongoing basis.
It goes without saying, then, that the CQC looks highly favourably on services that go above and beyond the ‘required’ standards of training and actually* invests* in their employees and standard of care.
Build a Better Reputation
It’s clear and obvious that in recent years, health and social care has not received the best of PR headlines. Especially in 2020, with so much negative press being aimed at social care for its response to the COVID crisis – the industry needs to take a serious look at itself and how it trains and develops staff.
If more services and trusts make training a higher priority, and start to deliver meaningful results, the industry, and those organisations responsible, will see an increase in reputation.
By implementing more individualised training programs, based on the goals and challenges of specific staff and patients, will help to modernise health and social care training by allowing each user to learn at their own pace, without feeling any pressure to take more time over their learning or shame that they are taking too long. This will also demonstrate to external stakeholders that the industry recognises its problems and is not adopting knee-jerk, short-term solutions.
Training enables staff to provide better basic care at the point of contact – for instance, helping people dress, get out of bed and bathe. It also focuses on aspects like dispensing medication, promoting dignity, basic nutrition and hydration, and using equipment like hoists and lifts safely. These might not seem like important in the grand scheme of things, but on a patient and carer level, it’s sorely needed.
Many care homes are also providing training to teach workers how to raise the alarm if they suspect abuse is taking place or see poor quality care being given by colleagues. This is another area that health and social care workers have been found lacking in recent times.
This need to develop staff – and to provide specialist training – is only going to become more acute in the future. The number of people aged over 65 is expected to increase by more than 50% over the next 20 years, and there are likely to be more people living with complex conditions who require specialist care services.
This means our ageing population will increasingly be relying on flexible, trained staff, who have the skills and knowledge to provide quality, compassionate care in the long-term.
How Do I Start Training My Staff?
So, now you know the answers to the question of why is staff training important in health and social care, we suspect you’ll be wanting to know what the steps are?
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Good luck on your journey to bringing a higher standard of health and social care to your residents and patients!