WellChild Publishes 11 Principles For Better Training

Posted on the 13th December 2018

Guidance for health and care professionals on the development and delivery of training for unpaid carers.

WellChild today launches guidance for health and care professionals to help improve the quality and consistency of training for the thousands of families being expected to take on increasing burden of medical care for children living with long term complex health needs.

The national charity for seriously ill children, WellChild is responding to research and feedback from families, NHS Trusts and its network of WellChild Nurses working across all four countries of the UK.

An FOI request conducted in 2017 to 130 NHS Trusts across the UK reported training as one of the biggest barriers to getting a child home from long term hospital stays. It was reported that better availability of complex training for carers, parents and staff locally would help some Trusts improve their discharge, whilst having a dedicated person or resource to carry out this training and a standardised national training assessment tool of care competencies were specifically mentioned.

Recognising a lack of research in this field and a wide variation in provision and practice, WellChild brought together carers and professionals at a summit to identify the challenges they face. This was followed up with surveys to families (57), children’s nurses (38) and informal feedback from members of WellChild’s Family Tree – a UK-wide network of over 2,500 families whose children have serious health needs.

Key findings were:

  • Wide variations in training and assessment parents and carers receive depending on where they live.
  • Parents and carers confidence undermined because they are uncertain of whether they have been assessed and have no record to prove what they are competent to do.
  • Wide range of nurses and other health professionals delivering training with little consistency in how they prepare, deliver, assess and follow up.
  • Few professionals given dedicated time to deliver training to parents and carers.

WellChild’s 11 Principles for Better Training have been developed by a working group of members of WellChild and the WellChild Nurse network, led by Joanna Keating from Imperial College Health Partners. They developed the framework, published today, which provides guiding principles for health and care professionals on the development and delivery of training for unpaid carers.

Director of Programmes for WellChild, Linda Partridge said:

"With this guidance, WellChild hopes to help health and care professionals improve equity of care by defining a level of quality for training of unpaid carers. 
It also gives them a measure against which teams and organisations can benchmark and audit their current practice and guide them in improving the services they provide.

Director of Programmes for WellChild, Linda Partridge

Families with children who have complex care needs are willingly taking on the immense burden of caring for their children at home which can involve undertaking high level medical procedures, using high-tech equipment and managing complicated regimes for things such as medication and physiotherapy.

If society expects these families to take on an increasing role in the provision of complex care, they need to be given the appropriate level of information and training which is high quality, consistent and easy for them to access.  We believe these training principles are a critical first step in addressing a national challenge – how do we properly empower the UK’s growing population of unpaid carers with the skills and confidence they need to care for their children safely at home.”

WellChild is also making great progress in exploring how digital technology can help with information and training and plan to roll out a network of ‘Better at Home’ Training Units across the UK where families can learn the skills and techniques they need in a realistic environment that simulates what they will face when caring for their children at home.

Find out more and read the Training Principles in full

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