E6: Service User and Carer involvement

The introduction of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standard of education and training (SET) which requires service users and carer involvement in education and training programmes is addressed through this document.

This involvement is positive as it helps to ensure that the programme is relevant and appropriate to the service user and carer groups identified as relevant to the professiona and this programme.

Strategy for involving service users and carers

The HCPC are not prescriptive about who service users and carers are.  The term ‘service user’ broadly describes those who use or are affected by the services of professionals registered with the HCPC.  The term ‘carer’ broadly describes someone who has, or who currently, looks after or provides support to a family member, partner or friend.

In the standard, ‘service users and carers’ is an umbrella term.  The HCPC do not expect to always see separate ‘service user’ and ‘carer’ involvement in programmes.

This strategy for engaging with service users and carers contains the following key elements:

  • Identify relevant and appropriate services users and carers
  • Identify and develop appropriate forms of involvement within the programme
  • Support service user and carer involvement
  • Monitor and evaluate service user and carer involvement

Identify relevant and appropriate services users and carers

Identification of relevant Service Users and Carers

It is important to consider that ORMS programmes encompass Paramedic practice that spans “Domestic”, “Remote” and “Hazardous” environments.  A distinctive feature of the Paramedic profession is the synergy between those categorised as service users and as carers.

With the exception of the patients themselves, Paramedics receive and transfer the duty of care for patients from and to the following groups (this should be considered when identifying relevant service users and carers):

  • Patients
    • An essntial component with Paramedic practice is the inclusion of patients within the decision making processes around care and care pathways.
  • Voluntary and paid carers
    • This group provides an essential link in the continuity of care of the patient, often possessing essential knowledge and skills to improve outcomes.
  • Community health professionals
    • This group is professionaly and clinicaly well placed to work with Paramedics to ensure best outcomes.
  • Emergency and rescue agencies
    • Paramedics must work effectively alongside allied agencies to provide a patient centred approach when affecting rescues and management of complex scenes. Furthermore, when working in remote and hazardous environments this interaction may involve emergency and rescue agencies within the volunatary sector.
  • Hospital based health professioanls
    • This group is involved in receiving patients from Paramedics. Paramedics may be involved in the team providing care within the hospital environment and may receive handover of hospital patients into their care for further transfer or discharge.

Whilst is can be seen that there are organisations who interact with paramedics and then go on to provide care, it is the patients themselves and their carers who are the major users of paramedic services.

Recruitment of Service Users and Carers to the group

ORMS actively seeks to recruit, service users and carers from key areas of care delivery through:

  • Direct contact with patient groups,
  • Advertising on its website
  • Open Days

 

Direct Contact

ORMS has established contact with a number of Service User and Carer organisations from which it seeks to recruit members to the Service Users and Carers group (SU&CG). The diversity of these groups helps to ensure that the SU&CG reflects the diversity of patients with whom paramedics interact. The organisations are able to identify patients and carers who are already engaged in service user activities or have an expressed interest in doing so.

Advertising

ORMS advertises the existence of, and its desire to recruit individuals to the SU&CG.  It advertises through its website, social media to try and reach individuals who would consider themselves to be service users and / or carers.

Open Days

Open Days are hosted periodically to invite Service Users and Carers to the ORMS Centre. These engage a range of Service Users and Carers with the role of the Paramedic and the education they receive, as well as enabling ORMS to recruit interested individuals from diverse backgrounds and patient groups.

Appropriate individuals that express an interest in membership of the SU&CG are then invited by ORMS to attend a Service User and Carer Training event.

Identify and develop appropriate forms of involvement within the programme

Within the programme there will be an expectation that different service user group representatives are involved in different activities.

The activities that have been identified as having the greatest service user and carer impact are in “Module Delivery”, “Curriculum Development” and “Recruitment & Selection”.  A single plan for engagement in each of the activities is applied accross the modules.  This ensures that the strategy is able to be supported effectively and is sustainable with the available resources.

Module delivery

Students’ learning experiences are enhanced by engaging with “real” patients and carers who provide “Patient/Carer Testimony” and also take part in scenario work and assessment in several clinical subjects.  Students are able to discuss issues pertinent to the patient or carer, face real challenges in patient assessment, patient handling, interaction and communication with relatives and loved ones, while expert patients can realistically give appropriate feedback throughout and after all of these activities due to the training received on induction to the group.

SU&CG representative testimony occurs live and is an interactive activity between Students, Service Users & Carers and Tutors.  Wherever possible, these interactions are videoed so that students can review them at as later date and view others from previous courses.

Curriculum development

Although learning outcomes are predetermined, service users and carers may be able to identify specific areas of knowledge which need to be emphasised or contextualised by service user and carer input to provide more effective learning.  This is explored through Module lead workshops, these workshops allow the Modules Leaders, Faculty, Subject Matter Champions Team (SMCT) and representatives from the Service User and Carer group to discuss the programme and its development.  When changes are recommended the SMCT feed into the Clinical Development Group (CDG) through the following process:

Recruitment & selection

ORMS student selection process includes activities that will help identify appropriate candidates for potential entry to the profession. The inclusion of the Service Users and Carers Group in these activities allows ORMS to observe real interaction between candidates and Service Users and Carers and for Service Users and Carers to engage discussion with the candidates.  Service User and Carer Group representative feedback is included as one of the selection criteria on review of candidates’ performance.

Supporting service user and carer involvement

Service Users and Carers are supported through workshops, training and assistance to attend events as a representative of the group.

Workshops

The programme lead will ensure that Bi-annual Service User and Carer Group workshops are held in a location that is accessible to all Service User and Carer group representatives.  Communications will be channeled though easily accessible media with the inclusion of a social media closed group that will allow for Service User and Carer group representatives to engage with module leads in real time between workshops.

Workshops provide an opportunity for formal and informal activities that allows ORMS to nuture an inclusive relationship with all parties

Training

Service User and Carer training includes the following aspects and is conducted over a 1-day event:

  • Health and Safety
  • Campus familiarisation
  • The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Paramedic
  • The ORMS Paramedic Programme Structure
  • Safeguarding, Equality and Diversity
  • Service User and Carer Involvement
  • Interview, Assessment and Debriefing Skills

Monitoring and evaluating service user and carer involvement

Monitoring

Monitoring Service User and Carer group representative involvement will be through the following means:

  • Record of SU&CG engagement with the programme
  • Record of engagement with available media
  • Record of suggestions for curriculum development
    • Record of accepted suggestions with rationale
    • Record of rejected suggestions with rationale
  • Record of SU&CG involvement in recruitment and selection
  • Record of SU&CG involvement in module delivery

Evaluating

The evaluation of Service User and Carer group representative involvement will be through the collection of feedback from SU&CG representatives, ORMS Staff and Students.  A single form is used for all stakeholders and is accessed online.

Reporting

The above monitoring and evaluation reports will be compiled by the module leads and reported bi-annualy to the programme lead and the Service User and Carer group representatives.  In addition, reccomendations arising from SU&CG involvement in curriculum deveolpment is used within the ORMS Quality Systems.  Further information can be found in the document “ORMS Quality Cycle”.

Evidencing Service Users and Carers Involvement

Evidencing the ongoing involvement of Service Users and Carers in the programme is an important aspect of the HCPC standard (3.17).  Therefore, Appendix 5 will be periodically updated to act as a repository for this policy.