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Self Directed Support Forth Valley

With the integration of health and social care being high on the political agenda a lot of focus and progress has been on the upskilling of the regulated workforce. Only recently an announcement was made that £1 million pounds of funding was being made available, to support the training and development needs associated with meeting the requirement for registration with SSSC. With the requirement in the future that social care staff be SVQ qualified Emcare has taken the time to look at other aspects of the care sector, who it would appear have not been as fortunate.

Self Directed Support being available to community care supported individuals has meant that there are four options available for the delivery of the assessed support needs. Being aware that there are effectively two sides to the care sector workforce namely the regulated side and the non regulated side partnership working was formed to provide opportunity to look at the provisions for the non regulated workforce.

Emcare has been fortunate to gain a thorough understanding of this through working closely in partnership with Self Directed Support Forth Valley, a user led support organisation based in Grangemouth. A pilot programme was carried out in the Forth Valley area with input and consultancy from SDS Forth Valley and direction and funding from the PA Network. Working collaboratively the programme facilitated understanding of the unique working situation non regulated Personal Assistants are working in and the apparent lack of training opportunities historically available to them.

During the pilot for example, having gone through a Moving and Assisting session, it became apparent that a generalised programme, which was routinely carried out for regulated support staff was not always going to fully prepare Personal Assistants to undertake the techniques at the supported individuals home.

On evaluation concern was expressed that there was limited opportunity for PAs to gain understanding of the types of equipment that are available on the market that would further support the individual they were working with. In addition to this it was expressed that it would be more beneficial if the equipment that was available in the home could be used during the instruction session.

Emcare were quick to react to the comments made on the evaluation forms and through collaboration with the support organisation were able to arrange a visit to the home of a supported individual to experience for themselves the challenges that had been raised. Emcare Trainer attended the home to provide additional instruction applicable to their particular circumstances. This resulted in additional recommendations being made which were beneficial to both the worker and the supported individual, who was delighted with Emcure’s response.

Being given the opportunity to work closely with this group Emcare were able to gain valuable insight into the differences in approach and to facilitate optimum opportunity for those workers supporting individuals in their own homes who are directly employed by the people they support.

Having this understanding and being able to positively and proactively respond to feedback Emcare were able to expand the offer of Learning and Development to other parts of the country. One course had been carried out for a PA employer who had engaged a team of PAs to support both his Wife and Daughter. Taking the time to fully understand their current situation ensured that the learning and development was bespoke and specific to both the supported individuals requirements. In addition to this the courses were carried out at the weekend being the best time when the optimum number of PAs were available. This PA employer was able to additionally benefit from the course being heavily subsidised by the PA network through funding from the Scottish Government.

With this approach gaining momentum Emcare were delighted to be informed of an unexpected result of the availability of this learning and development. An individual had been detained in hospital for a number of months due to there being insufficient appropriately trained staff available in the community to support his discharge. His PAs were trained, as a team, and as a result of receiving the appropriate certification his release from hospital was almost immediate. This individual is now living at home with a team of trained PAs available to provide his support in the community.

It is thought provoking that this group of care sector workers do not appear to have the same opportunities to receive a broad range of transferable certificated training, as a matter of course, as is the case with the statutory training of the regulated workforce.

Being able to provide this opportunity in a number of areas is Emcares aim moving forwards with the support and commitment of partnership working with the PA Network and SDS Forth Valley. You may be fortunate enough never to have experienced disability in your family or have never had to consider the prospect of engaging employees to meet your support needs. However if you do strive to live till an old age then you just don’t know what is ahead of you!

The partnership is willing to liaise with any Local authority area or individual PA employers with a view to making these opportunities available throughout the country truly embracing a TEAM mentality supporting this workforce that seems to have been overlooked.

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Emcare supports the health & safety, health care and social care sectors by providing a broad range of learning and development course programmes for care and support staff which can be tapped into easily and quickly.
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