Introducing our first ever nursing associate!

We are pleased to announce that one of our colleagues has qualified as a nursing associate – a first for Home From Home Care. 

Clair Blanchard – who has worked with us for eight years – has qualified as our first ever nursing associate after completing a two-year foundation degree course. 

In her new role, Clair will be responsible for bridging the gap between support workers and registered nurses, as well as tackling the healthcare divide between individuals with learning disabilities and the rest of the population.

Bridging the gap between care and healthcare

Shockingly, the median age at death for people with a learning disability is more than 20 years younger than for the general population. And in 2021, 49% of learning disability deaths were from an avoidable cause which could have been prevented by good quality healthcare.

What’s more, a recent report showed that people with a learning disability are more likely to be overweight, less likely to take part in cancer checks and need better support for mental health problems. 

Clearly, this simply shouldn’t be the case, and part of Clair’s role is working to tackle these health inequalities. She will do this by using the expertise she gained from her placements in a range of settings like GP surgeries, hospital wards and within the community.

She said: “For individuals with a learning disability, being treated by someone in a uniform or having to go for a procedure in hospital can be very distressing. My job is to make this easier for them – examining individuals and taking observations to determine if they need to be seen by a doctor, improving communication with local GP surgeries, and working with the individuals to desensitise them before procedures.

“It was the team at Home From Home Care’s idea for me to do this course and they were very supportive of me throughout the process. I worked at Home From Home Care three days a week, then spent one day a week at The University of Lincoln and one day a week on placement. My colleagues came to my university meetings with me, and we had other people from the course do their placements with us too.

“By supporting my peers on their placements, Home From Home Care helped people to learn more about learning disabilities and health outcomes, as there isn’t a lot of training available in this field.

“Since I qualified in February, there is now greater clinical knowledge amongst the team. Colleagues can call me at any time for advice on how to perform clinical tasks and I’m able to share my insights to give them greater understanding.”

Spotting health issues early

We have already seen positive outcomes from having Clair as our own nursing associate. Clair’s work has supported earlier detection of health issues, meaning that individuals have received the healthcare they need at an early stage, preventing things from getting worse or more complicated.

Hazel Ashmore, our Senior Clinical Manager, said: “It’s fantastic to see Clair achieve her nursing associate qualification. She joined us eight years ago as a Personal Support Worker and her progression has been amazing to watch, now being an Assistant Clinical Manager. 

“Many of the individuals we support have complex health conditions, so it’s vital that our colleagues have a good level of clinical knowledge – whether it’s taking a blood pressure reading, oxygen levels or administering medication.

“Having our own nursing associate means we can educate and support our colleagues on how to do these tasks, improving our quality of care and ensuring the best outcomes. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional care to each individual, treating everyone with respect and dignity, and Clair’s innovative approach will only strengthen our ability to do this.”

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