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What is the Fundamental Care Certificate?

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The Fundamental Care Certificate is a set of standards that health care assistants and support workers must adhere. It was introduced in April 2015, after the Cavendish Review in 2013 resulted in increased attention on Healthcare Assistants within the Health Care Sector. This was initiated after reported failings within the Mid- Staffordshire NHD Foundation Trust and other hospitals and care homes. There are currently more healthcare assistants than nurses in the UK, and the report recommends that there should be common training standards across all of these Healthcare Assistants. Based on this it was recommended that a Certificate of Fundamental Care would be developed to ensure that all aspects are covered, and once completed will allow Healthcare Assistants to be given the title ‘Nursing Assistant’ The Certificate is just for Healthcare Assistants, as all other regulated staff will cover the knowledge and skills gained, as part of their professional training.

The 15 standards making up the certificate are as listed and assessed as follows:

• Understand your role

Every Healthcare Assistant must be able to explain their duties and responsibilities that are a part of their role and be able to demonstrate that they can work in the ways expected from the employer. They must understand the organisation that they are working within, and ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities to the individual that they are supporting, and the importance of working in Partnership with others.

• Personal Development

Healthcare assistants should demonstrate an understanding of the need to develop their knowledge and skills necessary to carry out their role efficiently and effectively. Ideally they will create a personal development plan and consistently seek feedback from others, to ensure that they can progress in their work.

• Duty of care

All Healthcare Assistants need to be able to define the ‘Duty of Care’, ‘a moral or legal obligation to ensure the safety or well-being of others’, and understand how this fits into their role. They must also understand where there may be conflicts and dilemmas between what may fall under a duty of care, and an individual’s rights. This can lead to confrontations, and complaints, and it is important that a Healthcare Assistant can demonstrate how they would react, respond to and report these.

• Equality and diversity

The Healthcare Assistant must be able to define Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Discrimination, and understand how they might impact on a working environment. They should ensure that they are working in an inclusive manner, and be respectful of other individual’s beliefs and values. They should also be aware of where to access information about the subject of equality and diversity.

• Work in a person centred way

Each Healthcare Assistant must understand that an individual’s care must be at the centre of any plans and processes, rather than an individual fitting into existing routines and procedures. This can be achieved by focusing on ‘The 6 C’s’ (Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment) Person centred values will be in the daily practice and will include aspects such as, fining out a patients history and wishes, and understanding and individual needs.

• Communication

Healthcare Assistants need to understand and be able to describe the different ways of communicating and which work best for them, and the individuals in their care. Each individual will be different and will have different communication needs. Appropriate communication should be demonstrated both verbally and non-verbally. I.e. Tone, and body language. It is also vital that confidentiality is maintained in all aspects of the role.

• Privacy and dignity

Healthcare Assistants should know the importance Privacy and Dignity, giving individuals space when needed, not making assumptions about their needs and respecting their views, choices and decisions. This includes factors such as using appropriate volume when discussing an individual’s care, and also including them in discussions as must as possible. They must understand that the individual will want some things to be kept quiet and should only voice concerns to a relevant staff or family member, respecting the individual’s rights and supporting them with their choices.

• Fluids and nutrition

This statements covers all aspect of Food Safety including hygiene when preparing and handling food. It also covers the importance of ensuring patient safety, e.g. Drinks and food are refreshed and within easy reach, and any concerns are reported.

• Awareness of Mental Health, Dementia and Learning Disabilities

This is particularly important for those working within a Mental Health setting, but needs to be considered by all Healthcare Assistants who come across conditions such as Dementia, Depression and Learning Disabilities. Healthcare assistants should try to develop a degree of empathy with these conditions to understand the challenges that may be faced and how individual care may need to be amended.

• Safeguarding adults/ safeguarding children

Healthcare Assistants should be able to explain their roles and responsibilities surrounding this topic. This will usually be covered in the Mandatory Training, and includes sections such as understanding why any individual, adult or child, may be vulnerable to harm, or abuse, what the main types of this may be and how to deal with them. There is legislation in place relating to safeguarding, and it would be useful to have a degree of knowledge about these. When working with Children, extra training/ information should be provided with information on what to do is they suspect that a young person is being neglected or abused in any way.

• Basic life support

This standard will also be covered in the Mandatory training, and is essential. The training that is completed must meet the UK Resuscitation Council Guidelines, and if working with Children an additional course should be completed in Paediatric Life Support. This training will provide information on when CPR is necessary, who to report to, or how to carry it out, and, how to assess and respond to a casualty.

• Health and safety

This standard will cover and ensure that the Healthcare Assistant is aware of legislation surrounding Health and Safety in the Workplace (e.g. Health and Safety at Work Act 1974). It incorporates the responsibilities of the individual and the employer, and anybody else in the work setting. Training on this also cover RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). Healthcare assistants must understand their responsibilities, and those of their senior staff with regards to Health and Safety.

• Handling information

The Healthcare Assistant must be aware of the correct ways or recording and storing information, according to Legislation, and understand the importance of keeping information safe, on secure systems. Each service may have its own way of doing this i.e. individual systems, so it is important that the Healthcare Assistant is advised on this.

• Infection prevention and control

The final standard is covered, to reduce and prevent the spread of infection. The Healthcare should be able to describe the main ways that infection can enter the body. They must ensure that the correct clothing, equipment and procedure are followed, and be aware that their own hygiene can affects other workers or pose risk to the individuals that they are supporting.

On completion of the above standards, a Care Certificate can be awarded. It is the responsibility of the employer to judge the competency of workers, and provide additional training and support where required, however, the individual Healthcare Assistant must take responsibility for their own development.

If you require any further information, or are looking for Mental Healthcare Assistant Positions, please don’t hesitate to contact myself, on 01772 208 963.
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