in house training

Care Home Assistant Practitioner

What is a Care Home Assistant Practitioner (or CHAP)?

Care home assistant practitioners are care workers in care homes, that bridge the gap between the role of a care worker and a nurse. CHAPs are able to get more involved in the management and clinical aspects of residents’ care, carrying out many of the same tasks that nurses would undertake in a care home.

What does a Care Home Assistant Practitioner do?

CHAPs take on some of the clinical duties that are most common in a care home. For example:

  • Dressing and caring for wounds, pressure relief
  • Catheter and stoma care
  • Clinical observations
  • Canulation/ECG/venepuncture.
  • Diabetes management
  • Managing and administering medicines

However, care home assistant practitioners are not the same as qualified nurses and must not take on, be given, or pushed into the full responsibility of a qualified nurse’s role.

It is important that CHAPs are fully aware of what they can/should and can’t/shouldn’t do as part of their role. Some tasks still need to be carried out by registered nurses.

CHAPs will work under the direction of registered nurses but can carry out the tasks they have been trained in themselves without direct supervision.

In addition to taking on some of the duties of nursing staff, care home assistant practitioners often act as leaders, or examples to emulate for less experienced care workers. For example, they will usually help instil the values and practice of person-centred care.

Marking someone out as a CHAP can also create an informal point of contact for care workers seeking advice and guidance in the care home, in short, they know who to go to if they need the opinion of someone with experience.

How did the Care Home Assistant Practitioner role begin?

The CHAPs programme was initially created in the UK in 2015, following consultations between Care England, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care Services (ADASS) and the Royal College of Nursing.

The driving force behind the creation of the CHAPs role was to help address shortages of nurses in the UK, which is exacerbated by the need, although essential, for nurses to be on duty in every care home.

Benefits of Care Home Assistant Practitioners:

Aside from helping to address nursing shortages, having CHAPs on duty means you are less reliant upon nursing staff to take care of people’s needs.

This support means residents can have a better experience with nurses who are less stretched and rushed. Residents can have many of their clinical needs met by the staff they know well as part of normal daily life. Having this extra level of support for nursing staff can also improve safety and reduce risks.

Now, you might be wondering ‘how else will my care home benefit from staff completing the CHAPs programme?’. Well, let’s dig a little deeper! By providing care assistants with the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge further, this will improve job satisfaction therefore having a positive correlation on the service they provide.

Research from Skills for Care, and research from The Local Government Association and partners has all demonstrated how important both skills and professional development are in retaining care staff.

Becoming a care home assistant practitioner is a great way for care staff to acquire more skills and responsibility. It can improve job satisfaction, wellbeing, help build leadership skills and overall retain your most experienced care staff.

Expert guidance on how to improve recruitment and retention of care staff can be found in the free downloadable guide ‘Caring for the Future’.

CHAPs training

Becoming a care home assistant practitioner requires you to undertake additional training and gain a certification, which is usually valid for three years.

Previous practical experience as a care worker is required to take the course and it is advisable to do some research into the areas you will be learning about, such as:

  • Clinical observations
  • Tissue viability, dressings, wounds, and pressure relief
  • Venepuncture and blood sugar monitoring
  • Administration of medication and syringe driver
  • Catheter and stoma care
  • Dysphagia
  • Diabetes management

At the end of the training, you will undertake full assessments on these and other areas, to ensure you have the skills and knowledge to undertake specific clinical procedures safely.

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