Building confidence and skills for carers

Hannah Johnson is truly passionate about high quality care. Nineteen years ago she started working as a carer in the Bethesda Care Home in Torquay and since then has delivered expert, personalised care and support to hundreds of elderly residents. Now as Registered Manager of the home, Hannah explains how Rowcroft’s education programme has been invaluable during her journey: not only has the training shaped her and her colleagues’ knowledge and skills in end-of-life and palliative care, it has also helped them to develop the confidence that’s key to their roles.

What Hannah Johnson from Bethesda Care Home says:

“We can’t speak highly enough of the Rowcroft training courses,” says Hannah. “It’s an amazing free resource and the quality of the training is fantastic. Over recent months, the staff have completed training in dementia, mouthcare, and end-of-life care, including the five priorities of care for end of life – which covers many different aspects of caring for people who are at the end of life, including involving the person in all choices and decisions, communicating sensitively, supporting the person and their loved ones, how to plan and deliver the care, and how to recognise that someone is close to death.

“The workshops are particularly important for carers who don’t have experience in end of life. It’s a very specialist area and the training gives the staff crucial practical information and skills for supporting residents.”

Rowcroft’s training for care workers

“There are so many wonderful examples of how the Rowcroft training makes a difference every day in our care home. For example, one of my night staff, Lesley, says that the training has given her so much more confidence in supporting our residents with palliative and end-of-life care, and sharing pertinent information with other healthcare professionals. Lesley recently took part in a Rowcroft training course about managing challenging behaviour in people living with dementia. She asked one of the Rowcroft trainers about controlling pain for a resident with really complex dementia (the resident can’t talk for themselves and struggles to communicate). After talking to the Rowcroft team, she gained the skills and confidence to do a pain assessment, and then to pass the relevant information to the community team and GP.

“Another member of the night staff, Sue, said that she can’t recommend the training highly enough. She said the training has given her greater clarity of residents’ needs and fears associated with end of life, and has enabled her to better listen to residents – both verbally and non-verbally – and to ask the right questions. She’s also been able to use the learning in her personal life too.”

Developing confidence and skills

“The courses have also been really helpful in my own personal development and have definitely helped me to gain confidence to support residents at the end of life. For example, the course I attended about ‘having difficult conversations’ gave me the confidence to be clear as I possibly can be when talking to residents and their families. If you’re giving bad news to someone, they’re in a heightened emotional state and they don’t always hear what you have to say, so if you’re not being completely clear and open, there could be miscommunication. I’ve learnt that it’s important to make sure you’re in the right environment with no distractions, to be very clear and direct, and to give people time to absorb the information. It’s about having the right tools and confidence to communicate effectively.”

The Rowcroft Education Team

“We trust the Rowcroft team 100% – they are professionals in end-of-life care and they draw on lots of real-life anecdotes, scenarios and experiences. It’s not just textbook speak; it feels real and it’s based on their own hands-on experience in nursing – that really shines through in the training.  It’s very obvious that they are all highly experienced and expert nurses and clinicians.”

How Rowcroft’s training has made a difference

“Here at Bethesda, we’ve become very good at what we do with regards to end-of-life care and this is a direct result of the training we’ve received from Rowcroft. Good end-of-life care is about respecting a journey that is unique to each individual, and it’s about tailoring care to their own personal choices and needs. We’ve had lots of glowing feedback from our families saying that we’ve managed residents’ last days in a highly sensitive and expert manner, and I can only say that this positive feedback is a direct result of what we’ve learnt from Rowcroft’s Education Team.”

Further information

Since this article was written, we’ve been sadly informed by Bethesda that the care home is due to close in the coming months.

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