June 06, 2018

Meet the Care Home Assistant Practitioner Support Team | Your questions answered…

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We get many enquiries about the Four Seasons CHAP Programme so recently we caught up with the CHAP team to get your frequently asked questions answered and to help you get to know the people behind the programme:

Can you explain your current role within the CHAP team?

Louise Morris, Project Lead - CHAP

“My role is Project Lead for the CHAP Programme across England and Northern Ireland. I monitor and oversea the whole process, from selecting a Four Seasons care home that would benefit from implementing the CHAP Programme, to recruitment, training and supporting qualified CHAPs, their Mentors and the Regional CHAP Leads.

“I also sit on the CHAP Board who are responsible for the development, governance and the regulation of the CHAP Programme.”

Jane Wilde, Resident Experience Care Specialist

“My role and the team are evolving all of the time and there are many different facets to it. It could be meeting both internal and external applicants when they attend their first stage of assessment, giving them feedback on the outcome and, hopefully, seeing them again for their face to face interview. I love letting them know that they got through because their joy at the news is palpable.

“Or it could be supporting and advising the Home Manager, Mentor or CHAP at the Mentor and CHAP induction day, which is always something to look forward to. It is a really important day but we have some fun as well.

“I make sure that I oversee essential learning for CHAPs and their Mentors. For example, each year the qualified CHAPs renew their clinical competency assessments. I make sure that they know what they need to do and work with the Home Manager, Mentor and CHAP to see them through the process.

“Another great part of the job is arranging qualified CHAP forum days and the CHAP Graduation for the newly qualified CHAPs!

“It is also important from a business perspective that the homes recruit according to their required staffing levels so that we all contribute to ensuring that the CHAPs will get the experience they need in the right environment. This involves liaising with the Managing Director, Regional Manager, Home Manager, CHAP Recruiter, CHAP Lead and Project Lead.

“In summary, it involves everything from identifying where CHAPs can be deployed, through recruitment, assessment, training and oversight of the qualified CHAPs.”

What does the CHAP Programme represent?

Stephanie McDowell, Resident Experience Care Specialist Nurse

“The CHAP programme is an innovative programme, upskilling our Care Assistants to discover and develop themselves both personally and professionally.”

Louise Morris, Project Lead - CHAP

“The CHAP Programme represents a lot of different things to the company and the benefits are huge – we see Nurses getting more support and the residents being cared for safely by someone who knows them well. It contributes to a reduction in agency usage in some cases which improves the quality of care that the resident receives.

“To me personally it is about helping our Care Assistant population to develop, not just in knowledge and skills to take more responsibility, but in developing self-confidence and watching them flourish in their role.”

What do you look for in a potential CHAP?

Jane Wilde, Resident Experience Care Specialist

“The selection process is robust and only the most able reach the training stage. They need a willingness to learn and to be 100% behind the Nurses they are working with. The potential CHAP must relish the prospect of championing excellence in everything they do; setting a good example to the rest of the team, boundless energy and passion for getting things right for our residents. Often you spot it when you meet them and it is exhilarating when you do they are a very special person.

“CHAPs take on a lot of extra responsibility when they qualify so they really need to be strong but know where the scope of their role reaches its limitations. By gaining knowledge and skills they can learn to remain calm and professional when faced with challenges - and of course there is a support network around them.”

Robert Hammond, CHAP Lead -Resident Experience Care Specialist

“I look for similar attributes, someone who is forward thinking, possesses leadership qualities and has a willingness to learn. They must also exhibit a caring attitude, be empathetic, a good team player and have good verbal communication.”

Have you seen any great examples of personal and professional growth from one of our colleagues completing the CHAP Programme?

Louise Morris, Project Lead - CHAP

“I have seen lots of people develop, there are too many to choose just one! I absolutely love seeing people shine. It is really rewarding to see each Trainee become a Qualified CHAP and I am so proud of them all. We have had a number of CHAPs that have progressed into nursing and managerial roles now as well which is amazing.”

Nicola Hopkins, Resident Experience Care Specialist (Lead)

“I think one of the most recent examples is a Care Assistant who progressed to CHAP and has just started his Nursing Degree. It is so satisfying to see people reach, and often exceed, their goals.”

How do you see the programme developing into the future?

Louise Morris, Project Lead - CHAP

“The great thing about the CHAP Programme is that it is constantly evolving based on the feedback we receive. We already have CHAPter 1, which is a development programme that our internal Care Assistants and Senior Care Assistants can access to help them onto the main CHAP Programme (CHAPter 2).

“We are now working on CHAPter 3 which will be optional for Qualified CHAPs that may wish to expand their knowledge further.

“In the future, I can see the CHAP Programme developing a structured pathway into Nursing.”

Jane Wilde, Resident Experience Care Specialist

“Also, the Programme is recognised by outside agencies and universities. It is a great career stepping stone but also a good long term career too. As care practice advances there could well be extensions to practice for some CHAPs in certain types of care setting. The programme itself is undergoing development for those that are already qualified and looking to be stretched a little further.”

Robert Hammond, CHAP Lead -Resident Experience Care Specialist

“Yes, it is currently being embraced by all stakeholders and it is a very exciting time for the CHAP Programme there is no limit to how it can progress and add value to the care sector and our colleagues.”            

What makes our programme stand out from our competitors?

Louise Morris, Project Lead - CHAP

“The continuing support - Each trainee CHAP has a dedicated CHAP Mentor within their home who is a Nurse. They are also aligned to a Regional CHAP Lead who is a Senior Nurse Trainer who supports them throughout their CHAP journey. The CHAP Forum allows them to interact with CHAPs across Four Seasons Health Care. Within the CHAP Forum there are feedback surveys and the answers help us to evolve the programme based on what the CHAPs tell us.

“I think what is also different about the Four Seasons Health Care CHAP Programme is the governance and regulation that goes on behind the scenes. We have a register of all of our CHAPs and each CHAP needs to provide evidence that they have maintained their knowledge and skills on an annual basis.”

Elaine Shahabeddin, Resident Experience Care Specialist

“I agree there is real emphasis on support, nurturing and quality outcomes not just “ticking a box”. The trainee CHAP needs to pass every module including Leadership, Clinical Skills, Customer Care, Managing Conditions, Safety and Communication / Documentation. CHAPs are also expected to evidence they are maintaining their competence once qualified and to use reflection as a tool to enhance their practice.

“There is also the opportunity to connect with others across the business through CHAP Chats/Blog, CHAP News, CHAP Lead support visits & CHAP meetings this provides our programme with a unique insight which enables us to continue to evolve the programme.”

What do you enjoy most about training CHAPs?

Nicola Hopkins, Resident Experience Care Specialist

“Seeing their progression and how they grow in confidence over the 12 week programme and beyond. I am constantly amazed at their drive and dedication to reach their goals.”

Louise Morris, Project Lead - CHAP

“Personally it is the way that the training is delivered that I enjoy the most – it is very practical. Even the theory part has lots of practical activities within it. I particularly enjoy meeting a Trainee CHAP or a Care Assistant that didn’t enjoy traditional education or missed out on going onto higher education and maybe thinks that they can’t progress any further. Helping them to learn in a way that changes their perception of training is really rewarding to me.”

Stephanie McDowell, Resident Experience Care Specialist Nurse

“In Northern Ireland we deliver the programme slightly differently. Our CHAPS receive two weeks training initially in a classroom where they acquire the underpinning knowledge from the Resident Experience Team. What I enjoy most is the “lightbulb moment” when a CHAP realises their potential.”

How do you explain the CHAP Role to a potential candidate?

Louise Morris, Project Lead - CHAP

“It is a role that is very much respected and valued within Four Seasons Health Care. The CHAP role was designed to bridge the gap between Nurses and Care Assistants. They are responsible for supporting and leading the team of Care Assistants to deliver great care. They are trained in taking clinical observations such as blood pressure, to identify any changes in residents’ condition quickly and they also have a role to play in quality management as well.”

How does the CHAP role help our Nurses?

Robert Hammond, CHAP Lead - Resident Experience Care Specialist

“In supporting the Nurse, the CHAP takes up clinical skills for which they have been assessed and deemed competent thus freeing up the Nurse to tackle more complex cases.”

Elaine Shahabeddin, Resident Experience Care Specialist

“The Nurses can delegate some of their less complex duties to a CHAP, this could be administering non-safety critical medications, minor wound care or setting up a Gastrostomy Tube feed. The Nurses that work with CHAPs report how invaluable the role is.”

Do the residents benefit from having CHAPs within their care team?

Jane Wilde, Resident Experience Care Specialist

“CHAPs have real insight into someone’s personal care needs as they work alongside the care team and they also know about the clinical and medical side of their care. The CHAP can demonstrate best practice, coaching at the bedside and also provide insight to the Nurse about an individual’s preferences. Knowing your resident is key to making a resident’s experience of care a good one and also improves safety.”

Louise Morris, Project Lead - CHAP

“Absolutely! Any care team that has more skills will benefit our residents – that is without question. Specifically CHAPs are trained to recognise any subtle changes within a resident’s condition. If it is identified early, then treatment can be sought, often this treatment would be within the care home and not result in a trip to the hospital. An example of this is Urinary Tract Infection, this is easily treatable if identified early, but if it isn’t, it can lead to sepsis which is life threatening. Because CHAPs know our residents so well, they may recognise a change in behaviour or continence and because of their training, they would be able to perform a simple urinalysis test and a set of clinical observations. They can then discuss their findings with the Nurse and hopefully get the best outcome for the resident.”

 How can someone apply?

Elaine Shahabeddin, Resident Experience Care Specialist

“I would advise them to talk to their Home Manager, Clinical Lead & other qualified CHAP’s. Access the CHAP forum to get a real feel for how others see and enjoy the role. Contact a CHAP lead all the information, contact details and telephone numbers are available on SOAR, they could even email using CHAP@fshc.co.uk to discuss the opportunities, the training and the support on offer. Accessing CHAPter One will then provide the opportunity to prepare not only for interview but for the CHAP 12 week training programme.

“External applicants can feel free to give us a call for an informal chat or to find out what our qualified CHAPs think visit our YouTube Channel or blog.”

You can apply online by visiting https://careers.fshc.co.uk/

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