The matrix

THE PROBLEM

The Enhanced Care Homes Outcomes (ECHO) project integrated established care home support services with a new mental health ‘in reach’ service, aiming to enhance the quality of care and outcomes for people with dementia in Oxfordshire’s care homes.

As part of the ECHO programme, the diversity of skills, training or knowledge that staff required in their roles (AKA ‘core competencies’) had grown. This led to a review of the existing ‘competency framework’ and core competencies of care home staff, and how they were recorded and tracked.

A competency framework defines what knowledge, skills, and attributes people need within an organisation to perform their job effectively. Each individual role will have its own set of competencies needed.

It was apparent that the methods currently used to assess staff’s competence – that had worked successfully with the original team of nurses – needed to be revised and adapted for the new model of care that integrated both physical and mental approaches to assessment and treatment.

From the review, it was identified that staff knowledge and skills needed to be more clearly defined in both physical and mental health domains, and for the competency framework to be updated.