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Careerforce registered assessor, Frances Stapleton recently supported eight caregivers at the Ultimate Care Allen Bryant Rest Home to graduate with health and wellbeing qualifications. The training required the support workers to achieve over 70 credits from a variety of topics including personal skills, elder abuse, personal care, encouraging independence, loss and grief and dementia.

“These caregivers have worked hard to achieve this qualification, attending teaching sessions fortnightly. They bring a high level of knowledge to their clinical work at Allen Bryant,” says Frances.

Allen Bryant is the only facility in Hokitika that provides both rest home and hospital facilities. It’s a community-based facility with a homely ‘West Coast’ feel. It offers home care, hospital level care, respite care and palliative care.

Careerforce registered assessor Frances Stapleton, left with Ultimate Care Allen Bryant staff members Kayla Millar, Teri Gilbertson, Barbara Keast, Milagros Paneda, Maizabin Ali, Sunita Adhikari and clinical service manager Astra Pagaddu-Hornby.

Frances has been a huge support and source of inspiration to more than 100 trainees over the years and is now retiring to take things a little easier.

For the past two years Frances has been a Careerforce registered assessor at Allen Bryant. Previously she taught in the aged care sector for nearly ten years on the West Coast. “I commenced as a tutor at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth offering levels up to stage 3 for caregivers. These were compiled by Health Education Trust,” says Frances.

“During this time, I was an assessor for caregivers under Health Ed Trust at Allen Bryant, Granger House, Kowhai Manor. I also ran courses in Reefton from the Polytechnic. I coordinated a course on Dementia and aged care for registered staff and separate courses for caregivers. I was a nurse tutor in the Polytechnic system in Southland and Hawke’s Bay Polytechnic as part of the comprehensive nurse degree programme.

“I strongly believe that training of support workers is essential,” says Frances. “Knowledge is required to ensure a safe standard of quality care.

“On the whole I feel that the trainees become more confident in themselves and their work because of the knowledge and encouragement gained. Several carers have even gone on to complete comprehensive nurse training at polytechs.

“However, in every group of trainees there are always those who are hesitant. Perhaps they have not achieved at school or never been given an opportunity or encouraged. I always offer them one-on-one time. Trainees need encouragement and the time given to them individually during the training. I strongly feel that the students need to be followed up in the clinical area to ensure the knowledge is being used in care.

“Residents are very supportive of carers receiving training and I receive a lot of feedback from them and their families about the care they receive.

“I’ll certainly miss my time with the carers but am always willing to assist if required.

Facility Manager at Allen Bryant, Della Millar describes Frances as very supportive and approachable. “Her training and support for trainees has really helped them in their work, and we’re pleased that she still comes in for a chat occasionally.”

“It’s great to see the support workers using the skills they have learned. They now seem much more equipped with the knowledge to do their job. Although some staff members were initially hesitant to do the training, once they started, we have seen them really excel.

“We’ve received positive feedback from the trainees about their experiences. If other companies are thinking of embarking on training, it’s important to be supportive.

“I see investment in training as an investment in the overall improvement of the facility.”