In 2013/14, following the findings of the Francis Report, the Trust launched a programme aimed at improving health and social care for older people. The programme has so far committed around £3M on making a real difference to the lives of older people. As part of this programme, the Trust worked with Picker, a health and social care research charity that advocates person centred care for all, to deliver a report of piece of research which comprised both a systematic review of any existing research on the link between education and training and health outcomes and broad range of focus group and stakeholder engagement activities (including a Public and Patient advisory group) to assist in understanding the evidence of how education and training relates to older people’s care quality.
The report has found a need for tailored training, more continuing professional development, and for recognition and incentives for those choosing a career in health and social care for older people.
Other findings included:
- existing research is scarce and its results are inconclusive;
- the amount and quality of education and training seems to be varied and inconsistent across regions and professions;
- education and training are important but continuing professional development, access to knowledge and information and a positive and supportive culture, which has person-centred care at its heart, were more so;
- there seem to be organisational barriers in the NHS to making change, together with a perception of lack of recognition and reward for good practice.
As a result of the report, the Trust will, amongst a range of other actions, be sponsoring a new category at the annual British Medical Journal Awards which celebrates excellent team-based and person-centred care for older people. In addition to this, it wants to work with UK medical schools and faculties of health and social care to identify and celebrate education and training initiatives which embody the principles of excellent person-centred care and individuals who are playing their part to develop a healthcare culture which is underpinned by kindness, empathy and dignity.
 Picker is a leading international charity with expertise in research in the field of person centred care, with a history of supporting those working across health and social care systems measuring patient experience to drive quality improvement in healthcare.
“There are a number of complicated issues at play with regard to caring for older people … These are exacerbated by the time and financial constraints experienced by medical professionals and social workers, but also crucially by differing recruitment practices, training standards and requirements for these staff. Understanding whether education, training and ongoing professional development is impacting patient experience is vitally important, as is understanding the role that workplace culture and staff engagement plays in older people’s care”.
Professor Rod Hay, former Trustee and special adviser to the Trust