The Importance of Competency Assessments for Support Workers Performing Delegated Tasks (Clinical and Extended Roles)

12th August 2020

Modern healthcare teams have changed; with added strain on the care system, more reliance is placed on support workers than ever before. There are a wide range of jobs that fall into the care support work category, from social care support workers and clinical support workers. In all cases however, they have the ability to completely transform the care given to patients, taking on essential responsibilities that may otherwise suffer. In this case and throughout, ‘patient’ refers to any person under the care of an organisation or individual including children, young people, residents and services users.

A common instance when support workers are delegated tasks is for those providing care in the role of Personal Assistant. Tasks usually completed by a registered nurse may be delegated as such by a practitioner with the relevant competency. Delegated tasks should be considered within the care plan of a patient or service user and should only be delegated to personal assistants when it is in the best interest of the person in their care.

Healthcare support workers may be required to assist with:

Due to this, it is therefore essential that all support workers are up to date with training and are able to work in line with the necessary guidelines and regulations. One way to ensure that the training of your healthcare team is sufficient is to carry out regular competency assessments. 

Competency assessments aid in identifying areas that are perhaps not up to scratch and where further training may benefit both employees and the patients under their care.

Healthcare Competencies

There are five main competencies related to healthcare. These include:

  • Patient-centred care - provide exceptional care to patients regardless of background, culture, values or otherwise and promote a healthy lifestyle ideal.
  • Interdisciplinary teams - the ability to work in modern interdisciplinary healthcare teams to provide integrated and consistent patient care.
  • Evidence-based practice - provide optimum patient care by keeping up to date with the latest best practices and research in improving care practices.
  • Quality improvement - seek to improve patient care and processes where possible, identifying potential risks or shortfalls in current practices in order to address them.
  • Informatic support - backup decisions and diagnoses with data where possible in order to reduce the risk of error.

These competencies are designed to cover the whole healthcare system therefore, capability in these areas helps to ensure employees, including care support workers, provide the best care possible. By carrying out competency assessments to test the healthcare skills and the clinical skills of your staff, you are able to identify any opportunities for further improvement and training.

Carrying Out Competency Assessments

In order to carry out competency assessments of your healthcare team, you must first identify the necessary skills required by your team and the regulations/guidelines they must follow within their respective roles. Once this has been established you can then test the team through methods such as observation, questioning and practical simulations.

Here at Guardian Angels Training, we are also able to carry out competency assessments of your team in order to create a bespoke training plan to address any shortfalls in their healthcare or clinical skills. 

Virtual Competency Assessments

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unable to carry out competency assessments in person. With standard of care increasingly important during this time, we embraced Zoom, safely providing competency assessments to national care providers around the UK.  

This ensured that staff could be safely supported and signed off as competent to take on these extended skills, whilst also minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This is particularly important as many new healthcare staff and volunteers were introduced into the care system. Many carers were also delegated tasks to help protect patients and service users against the virus.

We have also found that when the service user has a learning disability or dementia, our discrete, virtual competency assessments are preferable. Virtual competency assessments allow us to ensure a high standard of care without them having to open their home to a stranger and allow them to be involved in often intimate procedures. 

Healthcare Competency Training

Once competency assessments have been completed, it is important to address any concerns raised in order to ensure patient care is delivered to the best of your employee's ability, and in line with legal regulations. 

We offer a wide range of bespoke training courses to aid the development of your employee's clinical and healthcare skills. Training courses span a wide range of topics from health and social care training in areas such as the Care Act 2014 and Autism Awareness, as well as clinical skills training in areas such as Rescue Medication Administration and Tracheostomy Care.

For more information on how you can improve patient care through competency assessments and training, contact a member of the Guardian Angels Training team today. We can offer advice, support and bespoke training solutions based on the specific needs of your organisation and the patients under your care.