Above: Staff member Lichai experiences what it is like to need support with a meal. Training Manager Susan Hudson shows her what good care feels like.
Lichai Liu, a new staff member at Zetland Court, in Bournemouth, recently took part in an innovative training programme called Experiential Learning. Through this induction, the staff member had the opportunity to experience first-hand what it might feel like to be a resident and receive personal care and support whilst living in a care home.
Staff member Lichai wears arthritis simulation gloves to complete a crossword. This shows how challenging activities can be if staff do not meet the residents’ abilities.
She was presented with different challenges, such as wearing a wet incontinence pad throughout the training session, doing a crossword while wearing gloves that simulate arthritis, and wearing goggles that simulate impaired vision. The aim was to help give her a better understanding of how residents should be cared for, and develop a greater sense of empathy in her role.
Susan Hudson, Zetland Court’s Training Manager, said:
All our staff members, at every level, go through this induction to experience what it feels like to be a resident living in a care home. It is important that our team have a real understanding of what good care should feel like in order to be able to support our residents appropriately.
There is a great difference between simply providing care and helping a resident to feel empowered, valued and enabled (which also gives them a sense of dignity and pride.) Thanks to our Experiential Learning sessions, our staff can have more understanding and empathy for our residents.
As part of the training session, staff members also took part in a variety of scenarios, such as:
- Being pushed in a wheelchair with artificially impaired vision.
- Being supported to eat a meal by another trainee.
- Having their face and neck washed by another trainee.
- Being left on their own in an empty room whilst unable to move from their chair.
New staff member Lichai Liu sits in a wheelchair, wearing a pair of simulation glasses that impair her vision. Meanwhile, Care Assistant Grace Moore pushes her around the garden at Zetland Court.
The programme was first launched in 2014 and has been refined and expanded with different scenarios in recent years. Louise Bateman, Group Human Resources Director at RMBI Care Co., says:
Learning through experience can be very powerful; this programme has become a vital tool in supporting new staff members to empathise with residents and to care with compassion.
We want to ensure that we recruit individuals not solely upon their technical skills or abilities, but on the basis of their values and attitudes to care.
Lichai Liu, new staff member at Zetland Court and one of the trainees, said:
Compared to a previous care home I worked at, this is really good. I have never done this type of training before! It was really helpful for me to better understand the way I need to support and care for older people, in order to help them live a more enjoyable life.
[Summary: Lichai Liu, a new staff member at Zetland Court, in Bournemouth, recently took part in an innovative training programme called Experiential Learning. She had the opportunity to experience first-hand what it feels like to be a resident and receive personal care and support whilst living in a care home.]