This week, Christies Care has added an extra day of training to its already industry-leading training course. This means that every one of our live-in carers will have gone through an 11 day residential induction training course; which is the most extensive and intensive training course for live-in carers in the country.
All carers get the training laid out in the care certificate, which our regulators expect. However, this takes up less than half of our curriculum. We know that the mandatory training is pretty superficial, and isn’t enough for a good live-in carer. So we make sure that the carers get six days extra training, which gives them the knowledge they will need when they are working.
But Christies Care doesn’t just give carers a fortnight of training and then send them off into the wide world. We expect the carers to learn continuously. Our carers do, (and are encouraged to) ring the training team, whenever they want, for reassurance, to discuss an issue or just to go over something they’ve forgotten. And every year, the carers come back to our head office for a two day update session.
Adding an extra week
Until Spring 2015, we only gave carers a five day training course, which is the maximum most care agencies do now. Then, because we saw demand from both carers and clients, we doubled it to a 10 day course.
This month, we have added an eleventh day of training (a day on end of life care), this time anticipating the demand we expect is there.
What difference has having a two week training course made?
The main difference is one of confidence. Everyone is now confident:
- Our clients: their feedback on our brand new carers, just out of training is good. Our clients like them, are happy being looked after by them, and our client’s relations are happy to leave their parents in our newly-trained carers’ care.
- Our carers: They are confident to start work, with any client. Our carers tell us that thanks to their training, they know what to do. They are confident caring for a client with quite severe dementia, from day one.
- Our team in the office: they are confident introducing a brand new carer, just off training, to a new client, even in an emergency when we haven’t had time to do a full assessment.
What training do we do:
- Dementia: Our two day dementia training course is led by Helen Drain, an Alzheimer’s Society trained trainer. It focusses strongly on teaching carers how to think about the person who has dementia, how to care for that person, in the way they want to be cared for. And it works. According to one carer who arrived at a new Alzheimer’s client’s house to find that she never left her bed or opened the bedroom curtains. The client had no interest in the world around her – she would not even open her eyes. “Six months down the line, with a heap of patience, my client is up, having meals with her husband by her side and even venturing out into the garden. She enjoys sitting having the newspaper read to her and is getting back into enjoying her paintings.”
- Learning Disabilities: We are BILD accredited, and therefore give our carers excellent LD training. The two day LD course that all carers go through complements the dementia training. Both courses are actually teaching the same thing: teaching carers how to think about the person they are caring for, to find the root cause for behaviours, and to work out how to make the person as fulfilled as possible. Live-in care is only a success if it is extremely person-centred.
- End of life: Our end of life course is delivered by our St Elizabeth Hospice trained team. We know that most of our clients are in the latest stages of their lives, and it is pretty likely that a carer will see at least one of her clients die. If carers know about the subject, how to cope with grief, what help to offer families, and how to deal with difficult conversations, they are in a much better position to be helpful.
- First aid: Our first aid trainers give carers twice as long on this subject as expected by authorities. Why? So that they are confident that the carers really do have the knowledge to save someone’s life, if they ever need to.
- Medication: We give carers the knowledge to administer complex medication – many clients are on 20 or more pills a day, and the medication MUST be right
- Manual Handling: our manual handling training means carers can help people to move, safely, whatever their condition. We equip carers to assess risks (and our advisors also visit clients to assess risks), so that in most circumstances, people can be hoisted by one carer on her own, so the client has none of the tiresome waiting for someone else to come and help that they’d have if we followed a ‘it takes two people to hoist’ policy. This means that our client can move about as he or she wants – is free to make his or her decisions without the constraint of someone else’s schedule.
- Emphasis on dignity and thinking of the client: all of our focus, throughout the training, is on teaching the carer to “do as you would be done by”.
- Update training: Every carer must come back to our base in Saxmundham to spend two days having update training. Both to refresh their knowledge, and to teach them new developments.
Who does the training?
- Our training team – an award winning team. Many of the team have been carers themselves, so understand what it is like to be a live-in carer. They all know that with good training, anybody with the right attitude can become an excellent carer. And that without good training, anybody, no matter how caring, will make avoidable mistakes. Here you can see them, individually.
- Our Local Area Advisors also help with carer training. We have a team of 13, scattered through the country, who can and do come out to visit carers to advise them on procedures, how best to do things, if the carer is unsure, or conditions are unusual.
Carer training and induction at the heart of the organisation
Our purpose-built residential training centre in Saxmundham, Suffolk, is the heart of our operation. Our carers stay in our (free) accommodation, and spend two weeks at our head office being trained. Why have we invested so much in this?
- Our carers need somewhere to stay. They may have come from London, Aberdeen, South Africa or Spain, to join Christies Care, and accommodating them while they’re being trained is the least we can do.
- We know that our training centre works well, has the equipment that carers are likely to encounter, and is comfortable. We’d never have that level of control if we relied on an outsourced training centre.
Good training is at the heart of our organisation. We know that if we invest in training the carers well (not just with our award winning, industry-leading training courses, but personal, ongoing access to training), our carers will be confident, will care better for our clients and we will have a virtuous circle of continuingly improving service. It has been borne out in our recruitment figures – over 50% of our carer recruits come through word of mouth. It has been borne out with our clients too: over 80% come through recommendations.
Join our team
For anyone considering a career as a live-in carer, please get in touch so we can show you why Christies Care is a top employer in this sector. We want to welcome people into the team and give you the training, skills and support to make your career in care a happy one that you can be proud of.