Care Home Training | Impaired Cognitive Function & Consent – Inspired Ways of Helping Our Residents

As a Worcestershire care home that prides itself on the distinctive quality of the care home training and continued professional development on offer, so as to ensure we continually benefit both our staff and residents, we are always aspiring to achieve the very best in safeguarding. At Stanfield Nursing Home, along with the very latest techniques in caring for older people, we are also keenly aware of introducing new procedures and innovations that help to improve our residents' quality of life.

We do this by keeping up to date with the latest developments in care standards and legislation. It’s a key element of our commitment to the welfare of our residents and forms a central part of how we improve the quality of life for them. One of the steps I took recently in light of this was to enrol staff at our care home Worcester on a bespoke consent training programme.

A fundamental ethical consideration of caring for the elderly will always be the issue of consent. Consent is a basic human right for any individual, but can become a much more potent issue in a care home setting where often residents will present with impaired cognitive or communicative function, due to either brain injury or diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia. Consequently, the expression of an exchange of consent becomes much more complex and challenging.

Picture, if you will, the scenario of offering a cup of coffee between two adults free from any such impairment. For most of us, with no impaired speech or movement, this is a very simple, and most likely, verbal, transaction: “Yes, please and thanks for the coffee,” etc.

But, for someone who has impaired speech or movement, this exchange requires a different set of skills on the part of the care home staff to ensure safeguarding of the resident. And it was this that I wanted to enhance in our Worcestershire care home staff.

Our Inspired Approach To Care Home Training On Impaired Cognitive Function & Consent

With that in mind, I approached Gebeai Training to develop and conduct a bespoke care home training programme that married legislation governing the care of residents who no longer have the capacity to effectively care for themselves, with an emotional understanding around the concept of consent when cognitive skills are impaired.

My view is that for my care home Worcester staff to achieve our desired outcome of improved quality of life for Stanfield’s residents, there is a greater requirement for them than mere legislative input. It’s imperative that they correlate with the law and understand the implications of applying it in a care home setting. Gebeai are a training body whose ethos matches mine in holding true that having the understanding and ability of how to apply knowledge to the workplace is the definitive benchmark for success. In our care home environment this translates to a greater understanding of the resident’s world and the ability of our staff to improve that world and respect their individuality

As such, the care home training methodology I approved was bold relative to industry norms and stepped out of the mundane. For the care home staff who undertook it, it meant creating a world that was close to what many of our residents may experience - a world of dysfunction, disorientation, misunderstanding, one dimensional communication, and managed emotional conflict.

Delivered through a series of activities, role plays and a debriefing session, as well as linking to legislation and working procedures, the Gebeai care home training encouraged the Stanfield Nursing Home staff to contextualise their thoughts and feelings and relate those to the possible dilemmas for our residents. It enabled our care home staff to deepen their empathy in understanding the enormously complex issues around giving and withholding consent. Ultimately, it aligned with our goals of creating a safe, secure, happy environment for the residents of Stanfield Nursing Home.

To date, 50% of our care home staff have received the training. I am delighted to say that I have already seen changes taking place that reflects the ethos of the care home training undertaken.

It’s my sincere belief that using the Gebeai training in our Worcestershire care home marries the disparate elements that go towards caring for our residents. Legislation is one thing, but then it has to be applied to our residents – and everyone, of course, is an individual who has their own individual needs. It’s about applying this training to ensure we’re achieving a quality of life for people with dementia and other illnesses.

Feedback from our Stanfield Nursing Home staff who undertook the training show it’s clear that it has had a positive impact on them too, and it’s worth finishing this blog by listing a few of their comments:

  • “A truly amazing experience – the best I’ve encountered in my professional career”
  • “Relevant, thought-provoking and timely”
  • “I like the fact that instead of telling us what to think about something we were made to think about it by being put into situations. It really gave you a sense of perspective and empathy.”

I look forward to writing more about the benefits of the Gebeai consent training in future blogs.

Some useful links if you wish to read more on consent are here: Mental Capacity Act 2005, GMC’s Consent guidance: Assessing capacity, and Alzheimer’s Society.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Stanfield Nursing Home, please call us on 01905 420 459.

You can also read more about safeguarding at our Worcestershire care home on our previous blog.

Yours,

Richard White
Managing Director
Stanfield Nursing Home