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Hove Care Home Staff Experience First-hand What It Feels Like to Be a Resident

Staff members at RMBI Care Co. Home Barford Court, in Hove, recently took part in an innovative training programme called Experiential Learning. Through this induction, staff had the opportunity to experience first-hand what it might feel like to be a resident and receive personal care and support whilst living in a care home.

They were presented with various challenges, such as wearing a wet incontinence pad throughout the training session and assisting each other with personal hygiene (washing face and neck.) The activities were carried out twice to demonstrate poor and good practices. The aim was to help give them a better understanding of how residents should be cared for, and develop a greater sense of empathy in their roles.

Nora Haines, Barford Court’s Training Manager, said: “All staff at our Home, at every level, have been through this training. It’s part of our induction process. We feel it makes such a difference when we get to experience being in the residents’ shoes, rather than to read or hear about it. It really emphasises staff’s understanding of all individuals’ needs.”

As part of the training session, staff members also took part in a variety of scenarios, such as:

  • Being pushed in a wheelchair with artificially impaired vision.
  • Being supported to eat a meal by another trainee.
  • Having their face and neck washed by another trainee.
  • Being left on their own in an empty room whilst unable to move from their chair.

The programme was first launched in 2014 and has been refined and expanded with different scenarios in recent years. Louise Bateman, Group Human Resources Director at RMBI Care Co., says: “Learning through experience can be very powerful; this programme has become a vital tool in supporting new staff members to empathise with residents and to care with compassion. We want to ensure that we recruit individuals not solely upon their technical skills or abilities, but on the basis of their values and attitudes to care.”

Ricky Freeman, one of Barford Court’s Activities Coordinators, said: “This training was eye opening and really helped me empathise more with residents. It was good to help changing perspectives and to experience what is like to be a resident.”