A guide to meeting Care Certificate standards: awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability

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The numbers speak for themselves:

1 in 4 people in the UK have a mental health condition.

1 in 6 over the age of 80 have dementia.

1.5 million people have a learning disability.

When it comes to those in need of homecare, often the most vulnerable people in our society, you can expect those numbers to be even higher.

In Part 4 of our Care Certificate Series we’re focusing on awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability, one of the 15 care standards your carers have to meet.

What do your carers need to know?

As a quick reminder of what this standard involves, it is split into 6 key areas of understanding. Your carers must show that they understand:

  1. the needs and experiences of people with mental health conditions, dementia or learning disabilities
  2. the importance of promoting positive health and wellbeing for these individuals
  3. the importance of early detection of mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities  
  4. the legal frameworks, policy and guidelines relating to mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities
  5. the meaning of mental capacity in relation to providing care
  6. the adjustments in care delivery needed to meet the needs of people with mental health conditions, dementia or learning disabilities

Understanding mental health disorders, dementia and learning disability, which are all complex and often intersecting conditions, is not something that can be achieved through classroom or e-learning alone. This is particularly true in the context of the last of the 6 areas identified above, adjusting care to meet the needs of those with these conditions.

There is no course or textbook in the world that can cover every single scenario a carer will face in when dealing with service users with mental health conditions, dementia and/or learning disabilities. But nonetheless, it is paramount that your carers develop an in-depth understanding of these conditions in order to provide high quality care, which maintains both the dignity and safety of your service users.

Why the awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability standard matters

Providing care for those with mental health conditions, dementia and/or learning disabilities often means facing aggression, frustration and depression. If your carers don’t know how to properly manage the resulting challenging behaviours, both carers and service users are put at risk of harm.

From a service user standpoint, this can mean the indignity of inadequate care, complaints from their families and the potential pursuit of legal action against your agency.  

From a carer standpoint, ill-equipped with the necessary skills, the pressure of facing such challenging situations on a daily basis can result in even the most dedicated carers burning out and taking sick leave. Your remaining carers are left to pick up the slack, putting themselves under greater strain.

The final fallout: carers leaving your agency, service users being unable to build long-term relationships with their carers, damage to your agency’s reputation, and a drop in care quality.

How can On.Board help?

In addition to essential theoretical knowledge of mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities, your carers need to know how to manage these conditions on a day-to-day basis in the real world. This requires soft skills and support, both of which On.Board can help with.

1) Support every step of the way

On.Board’s Performance Hub connects your carers to their mentors and managers, so they know exactly who to turn to for help and feel part of a supportive network. This is especially vital at the start of their care training when they lack the necessary experience or skill set to best cope with the challenging care situations they encounter.

2) Nurturing soft skills

Dealing with the variety of often unexpected situations that arise when caring for someone with a mental health condition, dementia or learning disability requires the ability to think on your feet, adapt, empathise and show compassion. These are not skills that come easily to everyone and simply cannot be taught through e-learning or similar formal approaches.

Soft skills are best taught through one-to-one connections with mentors who can share their own experiences. On.Board puts mentoring at its heart with managers reminded to provide regular feedback to their carers throughout their care training. Manager feedback performance can easily be tracked through On.Board’s reporting system, so you can take the steps needed to ensure the mentoring of your carers stays on track.

To see exactly how On.Board can help your carers deal with the demands of some of their most vulnerable service users, request your free demo here.

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