Oxford-based healthtech company Cognitant has been given funding by Innovate UK to deliver a smartphone-based training scheme for care home and community care staff.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, care home residents and those receiving community-based care are recognised to be at great risk from the virus. Although highly experienced in general care of frail patients, care home staff are under tremendous pressure to keep up-to-date with new medical and government guidelines as they learn to safely manage patients. Technology and business innovation has a key role to play in supporting care staff in managing these difficult circumstances.
Cognitant will be developing and delivering training for all care staff to access via smartphones. The programme will be shared amongst care staff by care organisations and by staff themselves using peer-to-peer networks and social media. It also includes a self-assessment component and a certificate of completion to ensure quality training. This new innovative approach will support and train care workers with minimal disruption to their time and work duties. The smartphone-based approach makes the content accessible and creates a mechanism to provide updates to care staff as policy and procedures adjust over time.
As part of the development of the training programme, Cognitant is conducting a survey of care workers to ensure that the training addresses the areas of greatest need.
Cognitant will also be delivering the support and training for care workers to assist them in acquiring essential new skills. This includes:
- Support care home staff as they care for patients affected by COVID-19 in care homes and in the community.
- Up-skill care home staff to be able to carry out clinical observations for the monitoring of patients (inc. blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, as recommended by the British Geriatric Society).
- Ensure that care staff are equipped to be able to liaise effectively with remote clinical teams (GPs and 111)
- Improve the confidence of care staff in managing patients
- Reduce anxiety of patients, their relatives and staff
Cognitant’s chief executive Dr Tim Ringrose said: “The pandemic has put enormous strain on care home staff, who are caring for the most vulnerable members of our society. This programme aims to ensure that each member of staff has easy access to trustworthy information and training. We will be working closely with the network of care homes to support care home staff in their vital role looking after our loved ones”.