Assessing in the Health and Social Care (HSC) sector
Well, what can I say; it felt like the most natural swap. After working within care since I was 18 and getting made redundant at 38, I was in limbo for 6 months. That was until I applied for a trainee assessor at a large company in the Newmarket area. It seemed the ideal step as it was still within Health and Social care but in a different and more varied role.
Training was on the job, so I had a caseload from day one, which meant I was assessing as I learnt. Once I qualified it became clear that the world of assessing is not as plain sailing as I thought. Within care, it is a colourful and unpredictable industry to assess in.
The colours and sounds of health and social care as I mentioned are more about the variety of people you meet along the way, both learners and the people who are being cared for which is what make it such an interesting experience.
One of the biggest challenges you can come across is understanding that you are going into someone’s home. It may well be someone’s work place but, ultimately, it is where some lives. Which means they must consent for me to be there.
Sometimes there are challenges which make my job and my goal of helping someone reach their full potential a little harder. Some people who are being supported by a learner do not always want a third person to be in their home and this must be respected fully. Having backup plan is very important when you have scheduled an observation.
Some companies use a system to ensure there are enough people on the floor supporting people. So, there are times (quiet a lot) that I have planned to do a Functional Skills (FS) test or knowledge based session and the carer is expected to go on the floor, instead of meeting with myself. As an assessor, I must be prepared for this as I am dealing with people who are vulnerable. The care has to come first. I reassure myself that eventually this person will achieve their goal and reach their full potential as a great carer!
As an assessor within HSC I am always ensuring that I follow the same principles that I am teaching the care worker/manager. I ensure that I am respectful, provide dignity, privacy and compassion to everyone I come across – be that the employer, employee or most importantly, the person receiving the care. This is a necessity within HSC as you will potentially assess carers working with the most vulnerable people in our society.
The value of caring is why I assess in HSC, because, ultimately, we need to show people that we want to improve and develop our ‘best practice’.
Assessing in care for me, is about looking at how to ensure that each learner has enough knowledge and practice to enable them to support someone in a way that meets their holistic needs.
Engaging the employer is crucial in getting them to buy into the course and qualification. It’s important to help them understand the need to complete office sessions, observations and whatever else it may take
As I deal with so many different care homes and group homes, I do come across poor practice and when it’s regarding someone’s safety, I must react straight away and report it. This can cause a strain on relationships, but I find, eventually people appreciate my honest approach. Ultimately, honesty and feedback as to why the practice is dangerous is what is the safest and best solution for not just the client but the carer and the employer.
I do enjoy assessing in health and social care – it is interesting and the continuous professional development can be great as you’re learning from the places you go into. Not only am I teaching and improving health and social care, I am also learning! There are so many different and unique approaches to care that people use and are not known of. If this is something I come across I make it my goal to go back and learn about them – we can only get better! Read my previous blog all about being an assessor!
I have been lucky enough to change practice and give advice and guidance on approaches, which have helped the delivery of care and that is the greatest kind of feedback you can get and is why I love being an assessor with HSC.