Improving skills and care standards in the support workforce ...
Improving skills and care standards in the support workforce: a realist synthesis of workforce development interventions Jo Rycroft-Malone, Christopher R. Burton, Lynne Williams, Stephen Edwards, Denise Fisher, Beth Hall, Brendan McCormack, Sandra Nutley, Diane Seddon, Roger Williams Realist synthesis assumes that complex interventions like workforce development play
out differently for different people and in different settings the review question was not whether workforce development works, but what happens in workforce development evidence about what happens is generated in the form of contingencies that describe the impacts of workforce development contingencies explain the relationships between changes in participants thinking, resources or behaviours (the what happens mechanisms) in different conditions (context), and the outcomes of workforce development
Synthesis question and aims How can workforce development interventions improve skills and care standards of support workers within older peoples health services? Identify support worker development interventions from different public services and to synthesise evidence of impact Identify the mechanisms through which these interventions deliver support workforce and organisational improvements that are likely to benefit the care of older people Investigate the contextual characteristics that will mediate the potential impact of these mechanisms on clinical care standards for older people
Develop an explanatory framework that synthesises review findings of relevance to services delivering care to older people Recommend improvements for the design and implementation of workforce development interventions for clinical support workers. Study overview Results Eight Context-Mechanism-Outcome (CMO) configurations
These are explanations that cumulatively comprise a programme theory about what works in workforce development for the Older Persons Support Workforce CMO 1: Making it real to the work of the support worker If intervention design and delivery is close to the work of the support worker (Context), this prompts resonance with individuals participating in it (Mechanism), which can result in cognitive and practice changes in them (Outcome)
CMO 2: Paying attention to the individual If workforce design and delivery pays attention to the individual support workers personal starting points and expectations of the role (Context), this prompts better engagement with the intervention (Mechanism). Paying attention to the individual within workforce development can promote positive personal cognitive (e.g. personal efficacy) and instrumental impacts (e.g. skill development) and
potentially impacts for the organisation (e.g. staff commitment) (Outcome) CMO 3: Tapping into support workers motivations If workforce development opportunities include elements of incentivisation (Context), then it is likely that participants will feel recognised and rewarded (Mechanism). The relationship between incentivisation and having a stake in workforce development can lead
to greater emotional and practical participation and engagement with the intervention (Outcomes) CMO 4: Joining things up around workforce development If interventions are developed in the context of an organisations goals including their human resource and quality improvement strategies (Context), this prompts alignment between the aims of the intervention and the goals of the organisation, such that they
mutually reinforce each other (Mechanism). This leads to more sustained, lasting impact of the intervention, reducing turnover and supporting the organisations retention strategy (Outcome) CMO 5: Co-design If the right mix of people are engaged in the design of workforce development programmes/interventions, (reflecting the complexity of workforce needs and desired development) (Context), this prompts codesign and a collective view about what needs to be done (Mechanism); which can lead to workforce development that is
(perceived to be) more credible, meaningful, and relevant for the support worker with greater potential for positive outcomes for practice (Outcomes) CMO 6: Journeying together If the right mix of people are engaged in delivering workforce development programmes/interventions (Context), this can prompt learning together (Mechanism), which leads to stronger cohesion across groups, greater understanding of others roles and less
duplication, and impacts on residents perceptions of care (Outcomes) CMO 7: Taking a planned approach in workforce development If workforce development draws on theory (both explicit and implicit), or there is evidence of a planned approach (Context), this prompts the adoption of a systematic process in its design and delivery (Mechanism), which leads to greater potential to demonstrate impact, and learn about workforce development effectiveness (Outcome)
CMO 8: Spreading the impacts of workforce development across organisations If workforce development interventions are comprehensive, in that they are multi-layered (focus on individuals, groups and organisations) and reflect broader developments relevant to the support workforce (Context), then this prompts attention on the way in which components of interventions reinforce one another
(Mechanism), increasing the potential for impacts to embed and spread across organisations (Outcome) Explanatory framework for workforce development in the support workforce Implications for practice Workforce development programmes should reflect the realities of the support worker role
Workforce development should be constructed to build on the life skills and experiences that individuals bring to the support worker role, and enable role development and career progression (as appropriate) for the individual and their organisation Workforce development should incorporate strategies and techniques that might incentivise and motivate individual engagement in workforce development. Designing workforce development interventions should include the involvement of the right stakeholders from the beginning of the development process. The delivery of workforce development interventions should include opportunities to involve others beyond the support worker themselves.
Workforce development design and delivery should be approached in a theory-driven and systematic way. This should include reference to and inclusion of relevant theory/ies, and frameworks and the learning methods/approaches/tools used linked to those underpinning heuristics. Workforce development should be considered as a complex programme that is transformative of people and organisations Workforce development opportunities need to balance the technical, with professional and emotional aspects of caring work with older people.
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