There has been a significant rise in the number of agencies supplying nursing and care staff to a variety of settings such as care homes and hospitals. I have not come across a care home that is not using agency staff on a regular (if not frequent) basis. For care homes, this is an integral pipeline of staff and for the agency it can be a lucrative business based on supply and demand. Many staff working agency are doing it full time as is often provides flexibility and better pay.
As a learning and development company we are, of course, concerned with the staff experience and that includes that of agency workers. How many agency staff receive an induction, a clear training pathway, care certificate, RCF Qualifications or Revalidation support if nursing?
Whose responsibility is it? The recruitment agency, the care home or perhaps their own?
Thinking of the care worker first, it would not be possible for recruitment agencies who do not directly deliver care themselves to complete the Care Certificate for new workers coming into the sector. This is because the Care Certificate can only be signed off and issued by organisations who directly deliver care themselves. However, they can help by providing access to training that can contribute to Care Certificate knowledge or by sharing evidence of prior training achieved by the staff they supply. Care homes can offer the direct practice assessments that are required to achieve the Care Certificate. This is incentive to have regular agency workers. Before we even get to the Care Certificate, most agency staff report not getting a basic induction at the start of their shift. This means not having any clarity about staff names, individual Service User needs, orientation of the building or fire evacuation procedures.
Developing such a partnership between agencies and the care homes they supply staff to is a challenge. This is because this is a healthcare and social care sector area is still under-evaluated and high turnover. There is gradual recognition of the need to make improvements. Skills for Care do offer some guidance in a series of documents called the “Recommendation for CQC Providers Guide.” Part 4 – Inducting Care Workers provides useful guidance around the Care Certificate and the use of recruitment agencies. www.skillsforcare.org.uk
How can we help you?
At JoCo we have real industry expertise in developing induction and training procedures and resources that not only meet compliance but ensure the legal responsibility of providers are met. Having us as a Learning and Development partner for your care home or agency will improve staff performance and client confidence.