Maximising the potential of the care at home workforce – Sussex Health & Care Partnership
31 May 2023
3 min read
- Individual employers
Karen Stevens, Locality Manager (London & South East) Skills for Care and Renee Jasper-Griffiths, ASC Training and Development Consultant (PAs and VCSE) at East Sussex County Council share the work that’s been happening in Sussex to include personal assistants (PAs) in the integration agenda.
We’re part of a Maximising the Potential of the Care at Home Workforce Group in Sussex.
We co-chaired the group since it was first formed in 2021 until recently. We first started co-chairing the group following a series of workforce transformation workshops offered by the Sussex Health and Social Care Partnership (SHCP), to consider what the workforce planning priorities needed to be. These workshops focused on using the Health Education England STAR approach, which looks at how different areas of health and care work together.
As a result of these workshops, we identified the social care workforce supporting people in their own home as a priority, including personal assistants.
There’s always been a strong approach to the support of individual employers and personal assistants in Sussex, reflected by the work of “Support with Confidence” - an accreditation scheme for PAs - and other direct payment support organisations such as Independent Lives - an independent living advisory service - both of whom are part of our ongoing project group meetings.
The group continues to meet on a regular basis, and is now chaired by a learning and development lead for the SHCP and involves colleagues from health and social care considering how we recruit, develop, and support the care at home workforce, including personal assistants in Sussex.
We’ve taken the opportunity to look at:
- overall engagement and communication;
- how we can ensure the PA role is considered in recruitment activity;
- how PAs are supported in their development, for example clinical skills to support people with complex care requirements and more recently discussions on the role of PAs in prevention of hospital admission and supporting discharge;
- and then ensuring that PAs are considered in other ICS activity such as more recent focus on the ICS violence prevention strategy and retention activity.
Activities so far have included sharing information about the PA role with job centre work coaches and other recruitment and retention leads across Sussex; linking with steering groups to ensure that PAs are considered and included in discussions and decisions, and starting a task and finish group to consider how PAs might be developed to support hospital discharge and prevention.
Including the role of the PA workforce is a vital part of integrated working.
Integrated health and care ensures that PAs have access to training and support to develop skills and provide truly person-centred care and support.
We’re all aware of the recruitment challenges facing the social care sector. We know from our knowledge of the local area that smaller agencies are either closing or no longer offering support in rural communities.
By developing and training ‘local people’ to become personal assistants that can provide safe and effective care, we can help both funded as well as self-funded clients remain in their own home, get continuity of care, help prevent a crisis from occurring ,and provide specialist support for a safe and timely hospital discharge.
Find out more about integration between health and social care with our #UnderstandingIntegration spotlight.
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