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Staff training / Care Homes & Hospice

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Paul1979
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Staff training / Care Homes & Hospice

Post by Paul1979 »

Hi All,

Looking for a steer for management in a purpose built hospice. We are acting as property managers and a query has been raised by the management team regarding the FRA and adequacy of fire safety training.

Firstly, is it correct to use Health Technical Memorandums as guidance for this type of premises? We've looked at HTM05-02 Appendix H and see that this does cover Hospices so I am hoping we are starting at the correct point? Obviously FSO2005 has ultimate jurisdiction so looking at HTM's as guidance.

The FRA has said that the staff training can consist purely of an online fire safety training for all staff is adequate.

But, when we refer to HTM05-01 (Section 11 - Training) sections 11.17 and 11.18 suggests that e-learning is not adequate alone?? So does this suggest generic fire safety e-learning is adequate as long as it is backed up with bespoke training from a competent person?

If anyone has experience in this specific field, we would be grateful for your thoughts! We wanted to get our facts right before we challenge the FRA (if we needed to).

Thanks as always for any thoughts / experiences / ideas on this query. Always really appreciated. .salut
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Messy
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Re: Staff training / Care Homes & Hospice

Post by Messy »

HTMs are aimed at NHS Healthcare establishments and not 'mandatory' in private settings. However, why reinvent the wheel?

I was a Hospital FS Advisor for 3 Mental Health Trusts and we had a constant battle with the bean-counters to reduce fire awareness to the absolute bone to save cash. One Trust's management were very actively against 'live' training. It all got a little bitter when I refused to author a change in FS training policy. I quoted Article 5(3) which says I have responsibilities for what I write/advise, and Article 21(2)(d) which States that training "be provided in a manner appropriate to the risk identified by the risk assessment'.

Note: Be careful here as that does not tie you down to the FRA assessors advice. It says be provided in a manner appropriate to the risk identified by the risk assessment. You should be able to put a business case together stating the risks are far higher than most workplaces and specialist evacuation procedures are part of the training as well as the prevention stuff that could well be done by elearning.

In the troubled MH Trust we eventually agreed on a compromise in that:
    All nursing staff, ward staff* and care givers received e-learning plus face 2 face training annually with extinguisher training
      Other staff received e-learning only

      *Defining the term 'ward staff' was very contentious and a battle ensued over ward based admin staff (which I won) and cleaners (that I lost).

      In my professional opinion, it is necessary to look at the risk. The single biggest issue is where persons cannot self-evacuate, or where relevant persons are so vulnerable that attempting self evacuation may harm or kill them, extra training must be provided. I cannot recall the HTM;s exact wording, but it went along similar lines.

      In situations where staff have to assist persons from the building (or utilise progressive horizontal evacuation- - that is, the staff have to stay in the risk area longer than they otherwise would do if evacuating the premises, it is beyond belief that management feel that e-learning is enough.

      From my limited knowledge of the amazing hospice sector, there will be O2 cylinders and other medical kit plugged into patients, there will be volunteers and there will be families visiting at all hours - who will NOT leave granny to burn to death and will complicate any evacuation.

      If HTM guidance suits, pick n mix it to back up your business case. Where it doesn't, demonstrate the risk without guidance. Have you got fire drill reports? If so, can you use findings from a drill to demonstrate how critical training is?

      In summary

      Go with your guts - your professional guts, but assess the risks using your judgement and only using guidance where it suits
      Avoid emotion, as a hospice (like a forensic mental health unit) is full of dreadful individual stories that should not influence you
      Demonstrate the risks that may be (almost) unique to the hospice area (Families being onboard all day and volunteers being two)
      Is there a licensing authority? Have a look or consult with them for advice - ignoring it if you disagree
      Maybe split staff into groups that will only get e-learning and those who will get additional input. Package this as a compromise solution
      Own your advice and get a written response if the client disagrees. Minute and record everything and let them know you are doing so

      Good luck and prepare for a hard slog. I feel very strongly that our MOST vulnerable in society get the absolute best care. Cutting FS training does not provide that care to the client or protect the often very dedicated staff that might get into all sorts of bother trying to help
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      Paul1979
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      Industry Sector: Property Management including H&S
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      Location: London
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      Re: Staff training / Care Homes & Hospice

      Post by Paul1979 »

      Messy, thank you so much for such a comprehensive response - much appreciated.
      "If life were predictable it would cease to be life and be without flavor." ../.
      stephen1974
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      Re: Staff training / Care Homes & Hospice

      Post by stephen1974 »

      I've always assumed, as a bare minimum, that it was initial (and refresher) training combined with your fire drills. You can do your training online but it's your fire drill that will be the key element.
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