Dementia training to put care home residents needs first

Andrea Bayston (Hica) with Lorraine Haining and  Hica staff
Andrea Bayston (Hica) with Lorraine Haining and Hica staff

The largest ever staff training programme is underway at leading Hull-based dementia care specialist Hica Group. 


More than 1,000 employees across 20 care homes in the Hull and East Riding area are set to receive fresh and enhanced training.


Initially this investment involves training the entire senior operational team in advanced methods of dementia care to ensure skills are embedded within the organisation, ensuring managers are qualified to train future employees.


The programme is being delivered by dementia expert Lorraine Haining to provide the highest standards of care across all of Hica’s homes, as well as up-skill its staff in caring for those with sensory and cognitive impairments. Lorraine has over 15 years of experience in dementia, stress and distress training within the NHS and private sector.


Penni Brown, chief executive at Hica Group said: “This is a significant investment by the organisation in staff skills and development. As specialists in dementia care we recognise our people need to be at the forefront of the best provision in the sector. We want a higher level of expertise within Hica to ensure we have the skills to train future staff.


“So far, our staff have done a fantastic job implementing the training whilst also educating and training their colleagues. Together, the Hica Group team is paving the way for innovative, effective dementia care which puts our residents at the forefront of everything we do.


“The training strategy has already been incredibly successful, and we have noticed a much more structured and successful approach to quickly breaking down communication barriers and also treating the symptoms of dementia with the four step plan.”


She added that this extensive training programme was a key part of a continuous improvement drive across the organisation.


The four step model of care helps to break down communication barriers between carers and residents, especially those who suffer from memory loss, dementia or other issues which may affect mental and physical health. The training helps staff to identify the wants and needs of residents through prompts including cards and special ways of communicating to help ease distress, which is a key symptom of dementia.


Trainees are given the opportunity to learn first-hand the experiences of someone with dementia, with the use of specialist equipment to simulate sensory and cognitive impairments. They are then provided with a ‘toolkit’ to help identify any needs a resident is trying to express, which can be things as simple as what drink or item of clothing they would prefer, up to more serious issues such as any pain or discomfort they are feeling.


Almost 180 senior Hica staff, including managers and activity coordinators will be trained by autumn this year, with two ‘dementia champions’ chosen from each home to train all other staff before the end of the year.


Due to its initial impact and success, in 2017 the programme will be rolled out to Hica Group’s domiciliary care arm, Hica Home Care.


The Hica Group is a not for profit organisation, which operates a portfolio of 20 residential care homes, five of which are for people with a learning disability, along with two retirement villages.  The company also runs a home care service providing approximately 11,500 hours of support and care from four regional offices in the North of England.



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