Introduction Social care teams are increasingly leading the delivery of care for elderly clients and their families who are living with a terminal illness. Marie Curie, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian Council, Midlothian Council and West Lothian Council identified the need for a bespoke education programme to be developed. The Lothian Care Assistant Development Programme encompassed a single study day, followed by an online education programme with mentorship in the participants’ work setting.
Aim The overall aim of the project was to increase the knowledge and confidence of frontline staff employed by each of the four Lothian councils to care for clients living with a terminal illness.
Methods A mixed methods approach was used. A survey was completed at four time points, including an impact survey up to six months post completion of the programme. Focus groups and interviews of a sample of social care workers, mentors and managers were also completed.
Results 514 participants completed the single day programme. 71 social care workers continued on to the online module and mentorship programme. Both quantitative and qualitative data will be presented, demonstrating longer-term changes including a team approach to planning and delivering care for people living with a terminal illness. Increased knowledge and confidence from social care staff has resulted in a more person-centred approach to care, prompt recognition of uncontrolled symptoms, and policy change.
Conclusions Through partnership working, the programme team were able to reach more people and influence the care that is being delivered to people living with a terminal illness in their own homes and in care homes in Lothian. The impact of this education initiative has resulted in ongoing relationships between all organisations involved.