Report 41: Prevention in adult safeguarding - Emerging evidence
Priory Group Care Homes: promoting quality care and raising awareness
Dr Dan Nightingale, Director of Care and Dementia Services with Priory Group, explains the joint work between the Priory Group and Action on Elder Abuse to raise awareness of abuse and improve the quality of care for people with dementia.
In October 2010 Priory Group and Action on Elder Abuse launched a joint project. The project has two strands: one is staff training and development to improve the quality of dementia care across all Priory Group's care homes for older people, the other is awareness raising about abuse. The aim of the project is to prevent abuse through developing good practice in person-centred care for people with dementia.
Newly selected 'Dignity Dementia Champions' will lead on raising standards of quality care for people with dementia in Priory Group care homes. The aim is to have two Champions in each of Priory's dozen care homes for older people, one of whom will be the home manager. To equip them in their role, Dignity Dementia Champions will go on an eight module training course, run one day per month over eight months, developed jointly by the Priory Group and Action on Elder Abuse. The training modules include communication and listening skills, abuse and prevention of abuse (a module run by Action on Elder Abuse), legislation, person-centred care, the Dignity Challenge, medication and inclusion.
The training course was launched in January 2011, and the first cohort of Champions will be trained by August 2011. The course is in the process of being accredited by the University of Brighton. This will give staff the opportunity to gain education credits which could contribute to other academic qualifications, so it promotes their personal and professional development.
The work with Action on Elder Abuse involves promoting its telephone helpline as a resource for residents, relatives and staff to use if they are concerned about incidents of abuse. Priory Group Care Homes Division and Action on Elder Abuse have developed and distributed posters and cards to raise awareness about abuse and the helpline in all of the care homes run by the Priory Group.
The Priory Group have invested a lot of time and resources in developing the course, largely from a learning and development budget, but also from the Operations Team who are leading it. The Priory Group gives financial support to Action on Elder Abuse to help fund the helpline.
What's worked wellOpen
The Priory Group believe that this two-pronged approach – staff training and development, and promoting awareness of abuse – will make a huge difference to the quality of care provided across all of their homes. It will help the organisation to fulfil its commitment to implement the National Dementia Strategy (2009) by addressing two of the strategy's objectives: 'Improving the quality of care for people with dementia in care homes', and 'Achieving an informed and effective workforce for people with dementia'.
Will the Champions make a difference? The Priory Group will continue with their own quality assessment processes to keep a check on the influence of Champions on the ground, and the Champions' work will contribute to the outcomes of those assessments. In addition to ongoing evaluation of the course for the Champions, a final full evaluation will take place after the first cohort has completed the course in autumn 2011.
The project has significant costs: just bringing staff together one day a month from all over the UK is expensive.
Advice for othersOpen
Working in partnership with other leading organisations – in this case Action on Elder Abuse and University of Sussex – is the only way to work when establishing new projects.
It is important to shout about what you're doing and the impact of it.
The support of Priory Group Care Homes' Board has been crucial: they are very supportive of this project and committed to improving quality of care.
Good teamwork and leadership is essential. It is crucial to have buy-in from everyone in the service – everyone needs to sign up to the vision and ethos.
The plan is for the training to be run on a rolling programme, although this will take some planning as Priory Group Care Homes is growing so the number of staff to be trained will continue to increase.