The University of York has recently published concerning results from their research into patient care and professional development for nursing staff in care homes. The study (funded by the RCN Foundation who aim to support nursing and improve care) found that the learning and development of care home nurses was “mostly ignored”, concluding that they were an “overlooked professional group” who don’t benefit from a defined career pathway or any specific training requirements.
Skills need not fulfilled
In the UK, around 500,000 older people live in nursing and care homes, with the sector now providing more beds than the NHS. With an ever-increasing aging population, and complex healthcare needs, it is crucial to ensure good care standards and indeed, 87 per cent of respondents to the research survey said registered nurses in care homes needed a certain selection of skills, knowledge and experience.
However, the year-long study, which interviewed over 150 care home employees, found that nurses are not provided with any form of standardised training to acquire these skills. Two-thirds of respondents also noted that undergraduate pre-registration nurse education does not adequately prepare nurses for future roles in a care home.
Concerns over care standards
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, commented: “What this report shows is that [nurses in care homes] feel, to an extent, invisible, and little is known about how many of them there are, why they have chosen to work in care homes and what their training and development needs are.”
She emphasised that care home nurses operate at one of the crucial interfaces between health and care, and that they should be a key target group for professional development. This also raises concerns for the standards of care within care homes, when the elderly people living there cannot rely on staff having any formalised training.
Our CEO, Fiona Lowry, commented: “This report raises serious concerns over the neglect of nursing staff, and the lack of standardisation for care training. At the Good Care Group, we provide all our carers with industry-leading care training, including specialist training in medical conditions and ongoing extensive training. We also ensure there is good career progression. We can guarantee your loved ones receive care from motivated, professional and compassionate carers, who understand their needs and will build real relationships.”