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The need for Regulation of HEALTH CARE ASSISTANTS in Ireland Brigid Barron RGN RM RPHN FFNMRCSI Innovation & Programme Manager Caring for Carers Ireland

Chioggia (Ve) Thursday, November 28th 2013


Government Policy Community and home-based care should be developed to maintain older people in their own communities for as long as possible and to support the important role of the family carer


Government Reform 2012 -2015 • More people will be cared for in their own homes • Care will be delivered at the point of lowest complexity • Primary Care teams will include Health Care Assistants and Home Helps


Challenges • • • • • • • •

Reduced budget for health services Long waiting lists for treatments An ageing population Increase in chronic illness Unemployment Emigration Reduction of the health workforce Rural isolation


Regulation • Regulatory standards will be extended to social and continuing care settings by 2016. (Future Health Action 37) • Primary legislation and resources will be required to introduce a statutory regulation and inspection for the home care sector.


Home Care Services • Unregulated and Under resourced • Workers lack formal identity and leadership • They work with the most vulnerable in society • Their own vulnerability needs to be recognised • Urgent need to improve standards of education and training • Establish professional registration and regulation


Health Care Assistants • Training is inadequate for the tasks they undertake, sometimes they are expected to take on tasks usually performed by nurses. • They generally work alone and their work is unsupervised. • There is little ongoing training provided • They have no collective voice


Training Requirement Level 5 FETAC training requires the satisfactory completion of 8 modules each with a credit value of 15 total = 120 credits Mandatory modules are: Care Skills, Care Support, Health & Safety at work. Optional examples include: Nutrition, Care of the Older Person, Communications etc.,


Why the need for Regulation? •

To provide Advice and direction on policy and how it effects or impacts the work of a professional Health Care Assistant.

Increase access to Continuing Professional Development

Provide networking opportunities to share best practice

Enables workers to positively influence policy through lobbying

Work to gain recognition as a professional Health Care Assistant

To ensure that best practice standard of care is developed and adhered to.


Regulation Body The role of the proposed new Association of Health Care Assistants in Ireland will be to ensure the protection of service recipients through the promotion of high standards of professional education, training and practice and professional conduct among Health Care Assistants


KEYFORA programme That Family Carers, Home Care Workers and Migrant Care Workers would benefit from this focused Caring Skills and Competences programme by updating skills they possess, identifying their strengths and weaknesses before or in the workplace and increasing and improving key skills, essential to all businesses and jobs.


KEYFORA our Experience Participants gained confidence and were affirmed in their knowledge, skills and competences They were confident and ready to embark on a more demanding programme of training They gained a greater understanding of the needs of Family Carers in the home They felt recognised supported and empowered


KEYFORA Given that the needs of the target group ( migrant workers and home carers ) are quite different, the KEYFORA training provided an introductory Level 3 programme combining the key skills of Communication and interpersonal skills themed around healthcare and equality issues.


Equality training is important • • • • • • • • • •

Under the equality legislation discrimination based on any one of 9 distinct grounds is unlawful. These grounds are: Gender Civil status Family status Sexual orientation Religion Age (does not apply to a person under 16) Disability Race Membership of the Traveller /Roma /Gypsy community


What do Family Carers need? Service providers should assist carers by targeting social and practical support and education that focuses on coping strategies and preparation for the carer role. Carers want to know what their role entails, how to manage symptoms, where to source help and support to sustain their own well-being.


Caring for Carers Ireland Is an independent voluntary support organisation working in partnership with Family Carers and those for whom they care. Currently there are 113 local Caring for Carer groups Rooted in the Carers’ Charter launched by Soroptimist International Republic of Ireland in the 1980’s Caring for Carers Ireland focuses on the recognition of the role of the Family Carer, the provision of practical support, respite care, information and training, whilst advocating for the rights and needs of carers at local, national and European levels.


Caring for Carers IRELAND

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Thank you for your attention For further information contact:

bbarron@caringforcarers.org www.caringforcarers.ie



Brigid skills qualifications and certification (1)