Innovative nursing assistants programme: Report published

13 June 2016

For immediate release

Supporting senior care workers to become nursing assistants can tackle the shortage of nurses in care homes, improve the quality of care for residents, and support career development and retention.

A new report by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, published today, evaluates care home provider HC-One’s Care Assistant Development Programme (CADP). The programme, which has received RCN Accreditation, consists of blended face-to-face and elearning, ongoing assessment, and mentoring support from a qualified nurse.

SCIE’s independent evaluation of the programme found that:

  • Retention rates are high – with 97% completion rate
  • Nursing assistants say the programme prepared them well for their new roles the nurse mentor role is a valuable element of the programme, with 89% of nursing assistants surveyed saying they felt supported by their nurse mentor
  • Residents receive greater consistency of care, more person-centred care and a more timely and response care due to increased capacity across the home
  • Early communication with residents and qualified nursing staff can alleviate any concerns or confusion over the new role.

The evaluation report, which was commissioned by HC-One, says:

In the first year of its implementation our [SCIE’s] evaluation findings paint a positive picture overall of a well-planned programme that continues to be refined and developed. The overall learning and development package is regarded as a key programme asset and nursing assistants rate their training highly as preparing them for their role. The face-to-face learning and development programme in particular was highlighted for providing a quality learning experience.

SCIE’s Chief Executive, Tony Hunter, says:

We were pleased to conduct this evaluation because any initiative that can improve the lives of care home residents, whilst at the same time creating exciting career opportunities for care staff, is worth focussing on. The evaluation looks at the programme’s first year and I hope that the project continues to thrive and offers insights to how other nursing homes can respond to capacity issues.

HC-One’s Chairman Dr Chai Patel says:

In response to the acute shortage of nurses in recent years, HC-One developed the Care Assistant Development Programme in conjunction with the Royal College of Nursing. This has created excellent new opportunities for carers to develop their skills and begin a new journey of personal development, as well as meeting the sector’s skills gap within the context of a changing demography in health and social care needs. HC-One are delighted to work with SCIE to evaluate this new project from its inception and thereby create real-time learning. We are very proud of our industry leading, multi-award winning training and career development programme for colleagues, which runs across all HC-One homes. SCIE’s report is evidence that our programmes make a positive difference to the people we care for in a safe and effective way.

HC-One's Non-Executive Director, John Ransford, says:

The Care Assistant Development Programme is an enterprising scheme to release the ambition and increase the skills of kind, caring staff. SCIE grasped the potential of this immediately and developed their evaluation in a dynamic and constructive way. This really is promoting social care excellence and I commend their capacity for active, critical friend evaluations.

Notes to editors

HC-One’s Care Assistant Development programme (CADP) aims to develop senior carers into nursing assistants, trained up to assist with medication and care planning. The programme enables newly-trained nursing assistants to support registered nurses, taking on some of the nurse-related tasks that nurses have predominantly done. This also works towards improving the quality of care provided to residents, and encourages care workers to take on a more fulfilling role helping them to progress their careers.

The programme is delivered through a mixture of online and face-to-face training. The CADP was the first programme of its kind to be accredited by the Royal College of Nursing. HC-One says that the CADP underlines the organisation’s commitment to innovation in training, staff development and providing the kindest care with the most professional workforce.

SCIE’s evaluation service

SCIE is a leading social care improvement agency and registered charity. SCIE provides a range of services – including independent evaluation undertaken by professional researchers with experience in the social care sector.


  • Scoping interviews with stakeholders
  • Sixty nursing assistants took part in before and after survey
  • 42 homes took part in survey of residents and relatives
  • Six qualitative case studies with homes
  • Fifty interviews with home managers, deputy managers, nursing assistants, senior carers, carers, residents and relatives
  • Two interviews with HC-One stakeholders
  • Three interviews with external stakeholders
  • Sixteen homes took part in analysis of Key Performance Indicators

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