New online training package launched for practitioners supporting family carers in everyday practice

A new evidence based online training package for the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) Approach has been launched, helping practitioners from around the world to deliver focused assessment and support for family carers of patients with life limiting illness.

The CSNAT Approach has already been widely implemented across the UK, with over 450 practitioners being given face-to-face training.

The new online training package allows health and social care practitioners from across the world to access Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited training in how to implement the CSNAT Approach, in order to best meet the needs of carers. Importantly the training also addresses key organisational issues to be considered in planning, piloting and sustaining implementation in the longer term.

Prof Gunn Grande from the University of Manchester, who led the project in partnership with Dr Gail Ewing from the University of Cambridge said: “Practitioners support patients at the end-of-life to stay at home, as that’s where they prefer to cared for. Key to making this happen is supporting the carer that supports the patient.”

“Without carers, you can’t keep patients at home. It’s estimated that carers, on average, provide around 70 hours of care per week, in the final months of life; and our research with Dimbleby Cancer Care evidenced that the majority of carers suffer considerable negative impact on their own psychological and physical health.”

“There is therefore wide acknowledgement that carers’ needs must be assessed, acknowledged and addressed. And this is what the CSNAT Approach helps to achieve. This approach should also be applicable to carers of patients with long term or life limiting illness in general. ”

The CSNAT Approach puts the carer at the centre of defining the type of support they need.

Dr Gail Ewing said: “CSNAT is more than just a tool: it is a practice intervention which uses a five stage person centred process to engage carers in a conversation about their support needs and what would help them and includes a shared review stage which recognises that carers’ needs change over time. ;

“Carers introduced to The CSNAT Approach have told us that it gives them ‘permission to ask for help’ – which is really crucial when we know that many carers are reluctant to seek help for themselves. So it is important that practitioners supporting carers have the opportunity to complete a training in this approach.

During work with The CSNAT Approach, there was an identified need for practitioners to access training for the toolkit online; in order to provide more accessibility, flexibility and consistency, wherever in the UK or the world they are located.

The online training programme guides learners through training through bite sized topics, activities, and video tutorials and encourages a teamwork approach and group discussion.

It’s accessible online from anywhere in the world; and delivers the step-by-step guidance that practitioners are looking for.

The online CSNAT Approach is being implemented in teams across the UK, and also Canada, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Portugal and the online toolkit will help support this work.

With CPD endorsement, practitioners can gain professional accreditations whilst helping to improve the quality of life for carers people with life limiting illnesses around the world.

The toolkit and associated online training modules are available via

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