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a blended programme

kindest care. That meant having a workforce that was competent, confident, and compliant, and that’s what drove this programme right from day one. Our first and most important priority was to have a compliant workforce. Each of the regulators required that we undertook mandatory training. That’s where we started, and we put all our energy into delivering that programme, first of all face to face, and then we put much of the material online. We wanted to build something that was fun and yet meaningful, and that people really wanted to do. It’s unusual for people to want to do health and safety training, but we made it interesting and fun, so that they chose to do it as opposed to being told to do it. We have such a mix of roles from maintenance operatives to housekeepers,

catering assistants, carers, nurses, clinical leads, home managers and administrators. So of course, that attracts a number of different people, but all of them are ‘people people’. They want to spend their time with their colleagues and with the older people that we care for. So they’re not necessarily the sort of people who would want to sit down at a computer or sit in a classroom. There were naturally a number of constraints in developing and rolling out this programme, particularly around things like geography. There were no networks in the care homes, so we had to put them all in. That meant taking down ceilings and walls in people’s homes. That was difficult, especially when it was a couple of hundred miles away, and you were relying on contractors to do the work for you. We had time constraints too. We launched HC-One in November 2011, and we promised that we would deliver this programme by September 2012. So we had ten months to network a whole group of care homes and to develop the bespoke programme, and run workshops and road shows as part of the communication plan. It was tough but we had a great team who believed in what we were doing. We required a certain amount of change management with this programme

having inherited such a disengaged workforce. They were resistant to even more change, and they put up lots of barriers. We expected that; the usual: “I’ve never used a computer. I like to be with the residents all the time, not sitting in a classroom.” So we worked through those, and we managed to break those barriers down slowly by using stories from the pilot. One of the most important things that we did to introduce the programme to all

colleagues in the group was to have a really strong communication plan. We drip- fed little pieces of information to the group, building up anticipation of what was to come. We also created an identity, which has stuck absolutely through everything that we do, and that’s the identity of Touch. Touch is a fully blended learning programme. We have a number of different ways in which we deliver content. We have face-to-face workshops, of course, and traditional e-learning. We’ve also shot a number of videos using our own people with residents, all very short, showing a practice or a procedure. We have short animations, which get over key points with the aid of music. We’ve created games for people to play. They even play them with residents.

We have a number of what we call ‘spark cards’. This is where someone might have a few minutes with colleagues, waiting for something to happen, like a lunch trolley to arrive, and they will debate a subject that’s on the card. So they say, “Well, if it was Edith who had this problem, what would we do?” It’s brilliant,

We drip-fed little pieces of information to the group, building up anticipation of what was to come. We also created an identity, which has stuck absolutely through everything that we do, and that’s the identity of Touch.

because it makes people think, yet there is no right or wrong answer. We also gave all our learning and development facilitators flip cameras and audio recorders, so that they could make their own podcasts and little video clips of something that they’ve captured when they’re in the homes. So it’s about peers contributing to their own learning, and they love it. Another part of the blend is something that we term offline activities, in which we ask people to demonstrate what it is that they have learned, say putting someone in the recovery position. Now, watching it on an e-learning module doesn’t mean that they know how to do it. So we get them to practice it and someone who’s supervising them signs it off. It’s about being competent, not just having knowledge. It’s so important to keep learning alive. While we require our colleagues to do refresher training, maybe every 12 months, two years, three years, you can’t just leave it for all of that time. We like to just remind them about the salient points within the learning. So this is when we would use mini movies as a little reminder, a little mind jog to say: “These are the most important points that you need to carry out.” We do keep it alive also with performance support tools, through spark cards and things like that, that you can use any time of the year. We also make sure that their learning is discussed in supervision or at

handover, so it’s never lost; it’s always on the agenda. People are always talking about, “What if? How would I react? What do I need to know?” The results that we’ve had from the Touch programme have been absolutely

incredible. In the first two years, we have run 52,000 workshops and over 400,000 online modules have been completed. When we did an evaluation of what people thought about Touch, when we first

launched, we had over 90% who said that they loved it. Now, that is brilliant. We also asked them in our staff survey each year, “What’s the best thing that HC-One has done for you?” Three years running, it’s been training and development, which is absolutely thrilling, especially as there is no prompt – they could have said anything.

But of course, we can’t ignore the fact that we’ve had external

acknowledgement too, with no less than eight national and international awards. We have been recognised by Camilla Cavendish in the Cavendish review of healthcare training, following the Francis Report. HC-One was highlighted as being best practice training for healthcare, and we are being used now to help design a programme for healthcare assistants in hospitals and in care homes across the country, which will be launched next year.

Touch is about giving people the skills to do their job to the best of their ability, and to give them the confidence that they are doing the very best they can do for the residents.

e.learning age april 2015

n Dr Chai Patel, Chairman, HC-One An organisation can have an aspiration to be whatever it is they want to be. In our case, we’ve taken on the pretty daunting, rather ambitious task of wanting to be the kindest care home operator in the UK. You can’t achieve a goal like that without providing the best people, who we’re trying to recruit, with the best skills. Touch is the

platform with which we do that. Touch is a way of saying, ‘We mean what we say 17

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