Helping older people with mental health needs to engage with social care: Enhancing support worker skills through a prototype learning and development intervention (The HOPES 2 Study)
This study will develop a learning package to enable specialist support workers to better engage older people with mental health needs in social care.
- Dr Kritika Samsi, The Policy Institute, King's College London
- Gerard Crofton-Martin, Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE), London
- Gill Gregory, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust
- Wendy Mitchell, Public Involvement Member
- David Niman, Public Involvement Member
This project is about the care of older people living with dementia and complex mental health needs. Many studies show that outside help can be hard to accept for people living with poor mental health or memory difficulties. Understanding the purpose of care and communicating any worries can be hard. Sometimes people will reject the care verbally or physically, which can result in them being labelled as a ‘difficult person’. Providing care in these situations can be hard, when home care workers are under pressure to deliver care in often short timeframes. As a result, relationships between the individuals and service providers can sometimes fall apart.
Our previous research suggests that “specialist support workers” within community mental health services may help older people living with dementia or with complex mental health needs to accept social care. However, these specialist support workers often say that they do not have the chance to learn or share knowledge, strategies and skills between themselves. Our earlier research also found that the training available is often unsuitable for this group of workers because it is either too basic and does not account for their specialist knowledge from their experience in mental health work; or else too advanced as it expects them to have professional qualifications.
Purpose of the research
The aim of this study is to develop a way of helping support workers to share and develop their knowledge of ways of reducing resistance to care. This will be based on what we learnt in the ‘Helping Older People Engage in Social care project’ (or ‘HOPES 1’).
What we will do
1) Describe what the new learning will include
We will examine what has already been written about developing learning for support workers, particularly what we know about its content and structure. We will also speak to practitioners in this area to ask them what should be included in the learning, how it should be delivered and what format it should take.
2) Co-producing the learning
We will combine the findings from (1), together with learning from the HOPES 1 study, to create a new learning resource. This will be achieved through a workshop with practitioners in support work, and through discussions with service users. Follow-up interviews will allow further detailed work on what we have learned.
3) Delivering the learning
The learning will be delivered in one site. This will allow us to see how this works in real situations. We will explore in more depth
how people feel about delivering and receiving this intervention. This will allow us to develop the learning further.
By the end of this short study we will have a prototype of this learning intervention which we can make available to the social care and mental health care sectors. If the initial delivery of the intervention and prototype are found to be suitable during this project we will then conduct a more in-depth evaluation.