Training and Support for PAs
There are many different training courses available to Personal Assistants (PAs), most of which will be specific to the job you do. Some are mandatory training which means you must do them, for example to keep you and your employer safe. Some roles will not require any formal training at all whilst others might see a PA do several different training courses.
Responsibility for providing training
The PA employer is responsible for ensuring any mandatory PA training is done. They should agree with whoever is funding their support exactly what mandatory training must be done. They should also ensure that the cost of this training is included in their care package. PAs should be paid to do this training and the employer should also ensure that they have funds to pay for replacement cover, if necessary, when their PA is attending mandatory training. The employer is also responsible for organising mandatory training and some employers are likely to need help to do this. You as their PA could assist them.
The most popular types of mandatory training are:
- Moving and Assisting of People
- Safe Administration of Medicines
You will find further sections within this chapter on these two subjects. This training will be mandatory for the personal safety of both the employer and the PA and because the employer’s indemnity insurers are likely insist upon it. If a PA is required to prepare or cook meals for the supported person then Food Hygiene Training is normally mandatory in these circumstances. Mandatory training should always be accredited and certificated as proof that it has been successfully completed.
Where possible all PA training should be accredited, certificated and delivered by a fully qualified competent professional training company. Training that might not be considered as mandatory but can often be very helpful and informative for a new PA can include:
- First Aid at Work
- Health & Safety
- Person Centred Care
- Infection Control
There are many others and PAs should be encouraged to undertake any training that will enhance their skills and personal development. Information that is only specific to your particular job role, which might consist purely of the employer’s personal preferences, can be done ‘on the job’. This kind of training will not be certificated.
Moving and assisting of people
Moving and assisting of people training will be mandatory if your employer requires assistance with mobility and you need to use specific equipment to help you to move the supported person safely. The cost of such training should be built into the employer’s care package. The training should be tailored to the equipment that you need to do your job safely.
This training is designed to show you how to move the supported person safely and to ensure your own safety whilst carrying out the tasks. You should not under any circumstances invent shortcuts, for example if the task has been assessed as requiring two people to do it then you should never attempt to do it on your own.
Safe administration of medicines
When your work involves the medication of the supported person there are three distinctly different ways that you as a PA can be involved in this.
Prompting of medication is reminding the supported person of the time and asking if they have or are going to take their medicines. The individual is still in control of their medicines, and may decide not to take them or to take them later. Prompting can be useful when a person knows what medicines to take and how to take them, but may simply forget the time.
The supported person may be able to retain control of his or her medicines but might need assistance with simple tasks, such as:
- Ordering repeat prescriptions from their GP surgery
- Picking up prescriptions from the GP surgery or collecting dispensed medicines from the chemist
- Bringing packs of medicines to the person, at their request, so that the supported person can take their medicines
With prompting or assisting the supported person has been assessed as being able to self-medicate and be in control of their own medicines. This independence should be supported. No formal training is required to prompt or assist with medication.
If a supported person cannot take responsibility for managing their medication then you as their PA may be needed to ensure that they get offered or are given –
the correct medication
- At the correct time
- In the correct way
It must be considered administration of medicines if a PA does one, all or a combination of the following tasks:
- Deciding which medicines have to be taken and when
- Is responsible for selecting the medication
- Giving the supported person medicines where the person receiving them does not have the capacity to know what the medicine is for or what the medicine is
- Giving medicines (even when requested by the supported person) where a degree of skill is required to ensure that it is given in the correct way
PAs who are involved in the administration of medicines MUST be trained in medication administration by a suitably qualified professional person. They should also be regularly assessed to retain competency.
This guide on the Care Inspectorate website will give you more detailed information.
A PA employer should regularly review how their PA is developing and should encourage them to continue to enhance their existing skills and personal development.
Personal Assistants Network Scotland currently offer PAs free online training covering a variety of different topics. This training is accredited, certificated and industry recognised, the training is via Social Care TV, a leading social care training provider. PAs can request this training by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find further information on the Care Inspectorate and PA Network Scotland website links below.