The author of new guidance to support registered staff that work in care homes said the “highly skilled” role had previously been “undervalued” but was now a major area of opportunity for nurses.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute has launched a new educational resource for nurses who either already work in or are considering going to work in the care home environment.
“There are far more beds with nursing homes than there are in all the hospitals combined”
The resource is the latest in the QNI’s series of “transition” resources for nurses new to community nursing roles or who wish to enhance and update their knowledge on practice in specific settings.
It was written by Queen’s nurse Sharon Aldridge-Bent with input from an external review group of nurses and professionals who work in or have responsibilities for residents in the care home setting.
It has 10 chapters covering subjects such as the fundamentals of nursing care, safe working and regulation, adults at risk, dementia care, building relationships with family, and career development.
The QNI said the resource was intended for registered nurses who may have overall responsibility for nursing within care homes, as well as educators, students, and unregistered carers in the setting.
As with its other transition resources, the QNI said it recommended that the Transition to Care Home Nursing guidance was used with the support of an experienced mentor.
Ms Aldridge-Bent said: “We developed this resource with the knowledge that the care home setting is one of the largest and growing areas in which nursing care is delivered on a daily basis.
Queen’s Nursing Institute
“There are far more beds with nursing homes than there are in all the hospitals combined, and residents usually live there for months or years,” said Ms Aldridge-Bent.
“Historically the care home has not always been viewed as a prestigious place in which to work, but this undervalues the growing opportunities in this sector,” she noted.
She described the registered nurse role in care homes as a “highly skilled one, requiring an in-depth knowledge of long-term conditions associated with aging, managing complex multiple morbidities and frailty”.
“The nurse is required to maintain a person and relationship centred approach to this care, recognising that the care home is the person’s home as well as a place of care,” Ms Aldridge-Bent said.
She added: “Care home nursing is diverse, with the need to practice autonomously, liaising with many health and social care professionals, as well as building long-term relationships with residents, relatives and significant others.”