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Providing Skills and Competencies to Meet New Training Needs

6 May 2021

Ensuring staff have the required skills and competencies is a high priority for businesses and there are many considerations to make when deciding which is the best route to take. Face-to-face or online; ‘in-house’ or external; free or paid for; robust or awareness; level? The needs of all businesses vary, here we look at some of the considerations around this complex area.

Online Training

E-Learning has always had its place in the training landscape of the health and social care sector. Mandatory training can be undertaken, and knowledge assessed before staff start their roles caring for very vulnerable people in our society. This brings confidence to organisations and the knowledge base given can be built on with good management and systems.

The outbreak of Covid-19 and the profound operational challenges this has posed health and social care organisations has accelerated the need for robust online training systems. There are many fantastic, hosted learning management systems (LMS) that provide catalogues of courses for mandatory and other important training needs.

Our Care Home

At our care home, Oak House Residential Home, we have updated our training provision and taken the step to have online training accounts for our staff. It has been a great decision! We can provide accessible modules in the core, mandatory areas, manage completion and evidence to regulators, all in one place.

We are not alone, these are great systems, and they are being adopted widely across the sector by large and small organisations. Problem solved.

Well not quite…

What happens when a training need is identified that lies outside the scope of the e-learning packages available?

Identifying New Training Needs

The identification of a training need means that it is a fundamental operational requirement and the outcome of investing in and implementing change (both effort and financial) must lead to a successful resolution.

This core question posed leads to a few other questions that need resolving before a decision can be made:

  • Can we identify a way we can provide adequate training ‘in-house’?
  • Do we have the knowledge base to provide adequate competencies in the area, or areas, required?
  • What is available on the market and who is providing the knowledge base?
  • Is there evidence that the investment will achieve our aims?
  • Does our decision-making show good governance and provide the assurances we need?

Dysphagia Skills and Competencies

Over the last 18 months Oak House Kitchen has developed sector leading training courses in the areas of dysphagia catering and management.

Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Competency framework Courses

Our dysphagia management courses have been developed in collaboration with Anita Smith, Laura Jones, and the team at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT). The courses are aligned to the competencies set out in the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist’s ‘Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Competency Framework’. Anita and Laura puled together a whole team approach to the project which included dietetics, occupational therapy, and dental care professionals.

The courses have been the focus of several pilots across the UK, that have not only refined the learner experience, but also provided excellent feedback from learners and led to endorsement by clinicians. As a result, we know have 1000’s of health and social care workers using the courses at NHS Trusts and care homes across England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands.

Online Dysphagia Diets for IDDSI Course

Our dysphagia catering course, ‘Dysphagia Diets for IDDSI’ is a highly regarded course that simplifies the approach to catering for dysphagia that has shown improvements in choice, quality, efficiency and in meeting the requirements of clinical recommendations and IDDSI. Such has been the effectiveness of the course that it has been cited as a core component in The Close Care Home’s achievement of ‘Outstanding in all areas’ by the CQC.

The profound changes caused by the pandemic has meant that we have brought this course online. The course was recorded if full and each section of the 15-module course has its own feature video and is wrapped in interactive e-learning modules to enhance the learner’s experience.

We did not want the requirement of creating an online course to devalue the learner experience, we love the hands-on approach to catering training and know that this is a fundamental way that most chefs like to learn.

Feedback has shown that the online course is robust and effective and brings with it operational benefits that face-to-face training cannot provide:

  • Training is available to chefs before they start their role meaning that there are no competency gaps while a suitable course becomes available
  • Ongoing access to the resource to provide a reference and refresher in all areas of the course – an online manual so to speak.
  • Reduced training, labour, and travel costs

The ‘Online Dysphagia diets for IDDSI Course’ has been piloted by care providers and is now in use in NHS Trusts, County and City Councils, large and small care organisations and in facility management, including schools, prisons, and rehabilitation centres.

No Need to Compromise

We understand that training in this area is not a tick box exercise. The decision to implement training in this area needs more than a nod to the subject, skills and competencies are a must. It would be great to have additional modules added to LMS catalogues by the hosts, but the questions of quality and effectiveness remain.

With this in mind, we have made it easy for you to integrate our dysphagia management and catering courses onto your LMS. They are compatible with all learning management systems and can be embedded alongside your other courses so that users and managers still only need one system.

For those without an LMS provider all our courses are available on our Learning Suite and manager tracking is available to ensure both large and small organisations have oversight and the assurances they need.

Get in touch to see how we can help you…