Good Work – Sue Evans, Care Council for Wales
The important thing about having a framework is to try and develop a consistent approach for care and support for people with dementia. We know that there is good practice across Wales, but it is patchy, so one of the reasons for developing this Learning and Development Framework is to make sure that everybody has a good understanding of what good care looks like, and what should be happening, and professionals, in particular, start to address some of their skills deficits and can use the Framework to increase their competencies and their understanding and their skills.
Obviously everybody’s learning needs are different and we know that there is good practice, and many people with good skills, but we’re hoping the Framework will enable everybody, who is providing care and support for people with dementia, to understand maybe where some of their knowledge gaps are, or their skills gaps and use the Framework to understand how best to provide care and support by using the best practice set out in the Framework guide.
One of the reasons for developing the Framework was based on our need to respond to the public advising us that care wasn’t consistent. People didn’t always know what to expect, whether it was the person with dementia, their carer or wider family members. So we’re hoping by making sure we responded to the things that matter to individual people, and sometimes it is small things, like treating people with dignity, showing compassion and care, as well as having the actual skills in providing that care. So our Framework has been developed from the voice of the user and, if we are true to our commitment, to make sure that services are person-centred, we need to continuously listen to people with dementia, their family and their carers, to make sure that we keep getting it right. We know that people find it often very frustrating that they may be in one part of the system, whether that’s at the GP practice or in a hospital setting, and they’ll hear terminology and things being described to them that is difficult enough to understand, but when they move into then the social care sector, very often different words will be used.
So by training our staff consistently, using the same methods, the same words, everybody learns at the same time and each person with dementia will be seeing both health professionals and social care professionals. So if we all start using the same language, use the same learning, the same sort of care and support, that helps people to have a consistent approach, a seamless approach to meet their health and their wellbeing needs. I think the wider benefits of the Framework are, as well as helping practitioners and professionals to know what good care looks like and to develop those skills where they perceive the gaps in their own personal learning, it will also help people with dementia, their carers and their family start to identify what a good service looks like, what good care is and to challenge us if we’re not doing as well as we set out in the Framework.
So I don’t think the change and the improvement will happen overnight, but at least by taking a consistent Wales-wide approach, everyone using the Learning and Development Framework, we have a far better chance of doing it together in Wales rather than individual parts of the system doing their own learning and development and maybe things not joining up as well as they could be, and we know that individuals experience healthcare, experience social care at different times of their lives, so we want to make sure there is a much more consistent approach, and that the best practice, that we know exists in some systems and in some parts of Wales, really can be spread across the whole of Wales as quickly as we can make it happen.