In May, Skills for Care published new voluntary guiding principles for delegated healthcare activities. These were co-developed with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and sector partners. Skills for Care shares more about what the delegation of healthcare activities means and how it’s already being carried out.
A delegated healthcare activity is an activity that a regulated healthcare professional, such as a nurse, nursing associate, occupational therapist or speech and language therapist, delegates to a paid care worker or personal assistants.
These are activities, often but not exclusively of a clinical nature to support people’s care, independence and health outcomes such as supporting a person with diabetes to manage their insulin administration or providing simple wound care.
The delegation of healthcare activities to care workers isn’t a new thing; it’s something that’s been happening for many years.
The new voluntary guiding principles intend to complement this existing best practice, and have been designed to be adapted to local protocols that are already in place, rather than a ‘one size fits all’.
The delegation of these healthcare activities means that people drawing on care and support have more consistent access to high-quality care with an opportunity for a better experience of care.
This focus on person-centred care and improving outcomes for people drawing on care and support should always be at the heart of delegation.
Upon the publication of the new voluntary principles, we spoke to a number of people and organisations who already had experience of delegated healthcare activities.
This included one individual employer whose personal assistants had been trained up on healthcare activities to support his bowel care previously conducted by the district nursing team…
His personal assistants have now been carrying out these activities for around nine years, and he told us that this has made a hugely positive impact to his life socially, professionally, and mentally with benefits to his physical health and comfort.
Rather than being reliant on the district nursing team’s appointment schedule, he now has greater control and flexibility over how and when these activities are carried out. This allows him more freedom and time to enjoy his work, hobbies and travelling.
We also spoke with care providers whose care workers are carrying out delegated healthcare activities from nursing colleagues.
This included care providers who are part of the Blended Roles project which is running by the Tameside and Glossop integrated care team.
This project is supporting care providers to develop blended roles, including training care workers in the administration of insulin to better support people with diabetes.
Having care workers able to administer insulin, again means that people have more flexibility and control around how and when their insulin is administered. It also means that they’re dealing with less care and support staff, as their regular carer can administer their insulin while providing their other care and support. This supports with person-centred care and building close and trusting relationships.
The care workers and providers we spoke to not only highlighted the positive benefits for people accessing care and support, but also the benefit and value which upskilling had for them in their careers.
Now that they’re trained in insulin administration it’s given them an extra boost of confidence and enjoyment in their roles and has allowed them to develop their own skills.
The Blended Roles Facilitator who supports the training of care workers across this project also told us that the introduction of blended roles had positively developed the relationship and trust between care workers and the district nursing team.
With the publication of the new voluntary guiding principles for delegated healthcare activities, more organisations and individuals will be able to consider how they can continue to develop or introduce person-centred delegation of healthcare activities to best support care and support for people drawing on it.
Find the principles and supporting resources and watch our video interviews on the Skills for Care website: www.skillsforcare.org.uk/DelegatedHealthcareActivity