In response to the challenge of the ageing of societies and concerns over recruitment and quality of service delivery, many nations have introduced new educational and training pathways, as well as national standards that set a minimum qualification level for residential care staff. In Ireland, national standards were introduced in July 2009 and, against this backdrop this study aimed to explore the level of qualification held or being pursued by non‐nursing care staff.
An email/postal survey was conducted.
This survey revealed that while vocational qualifications were most common, more than 50 per cent of care staff neither held nor were pursuing the minimum qualification set by the standards.
While the introduction of standards may address this situation, the workforce appears currently ill‐prepared for increasing professionalisation. Moreover, given Ireland's poor economic circumstances, training or supports are likely to be limited, with the burden of training liable to fall on staff, undermining morale and increasing already tense industrial relations. Limitations of this study include variations in the roles of non‐nursing care staff, with many staff classified as “multi‐task” staff that perform a range of duties from personal care through to more general domestic duties and, in the context of a mixed economy of provision, the abundance of responses from the public sector relative to the private sector.
Nonetheless, this study provides a timely snapshot and a reference point for further research around the impact of standards on quality of care or workforce professionalisation and it will be of particular interest to policymakers, regulators, employers and care staff.
Power, M. and Jo Lavelle, M. (2011), "Qualifications of non‐nursing residential care staff in the Republic of Ireland", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 152-161. https://doi.org/10.1108/14717791111163587
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