Monthly Archives: May 2016

Cognisco and Belong address the National Care Forum on how to drive up standards of person-centred care

Amanda Green, Principal Consultant

This month, we attended the National Care Forum’s Annual Conference and together with our partner, care home operator Belong, we delivered a Masterclass to discuss how our Dementia*Care assessment has improved the capability of Belong’s staff to deliver high quality person-centred care for its residents and their families.

Delivering consistent levels of person-centred care can be very challenging for carers to achieve in every situation, on a daily basis.  They may be faced with conflicting pressures – the need to complete tasks or be faced with challenging behaviour or they may simply misinterpret what a resident needs at a certain time and inadvertently make the ‘wrong’ decision.

Getting it right consistently is tricky and this was a challenge faced by Belong.


Two years ago, it found that some of its customers weren’t always getting the best outcomes, there were inconsistencies in the quality of care and support between teams and its philosophy and values of delivering person-centred care weren’t always being lived out. What’s more, its staff training and development programmes were failing to deliver the desired changes in practice or culture.

A different approach was needed to deliver greater clarity about the competence and behaviour of staff, highlight how customers were being treated and identify any gaps in staff knowledge and confidence which could be affecting their performance.

Belong approached us to create a framework to develop employees in line with its philosophy and values.


Belong wanted a standardised approach to the measurement, assessment and development of staff and to ensure its training and development programmes were delivering the best results. It was keen to track if staff were improving their attitudes and delivering person-centred care, benchmark any improvements and ensure that the training delivered a good return on investment.

Together, we created, ‘The Dementia*Care assessment’ – an online assessment which tests the knowledge and confidence of care staff in all aspects of their role.

Using situational judgement questions, a carer’s knowledge is tested on a range of subjects including resident’s health and “lived” experience, their understanding of Dementia and Care Strategies and on how to deliver person-centred care.  The assessment is also accompanied by behavioural observations and the results from both assessments are fed into individual feedback and development plans.

The results have provided Managers at Belong with accurate, real-time data about the competence levels of every employee and highlighted any gaps in their knowledge or confidence. The data has also flagged up any potentially risky decision making which is making it easier for managers to determine the specific training needed for every individual.


Belong has now rolled out the assessment across all its villages and all front line staff including managers have participated. More recently, it has reassessed staff with significant improvements noted in the area of person-centred.

Following the assessments, staff were directed to various planned learning interventions – ranging from short videos on aspects of their role, through to coaching and group workshops.


Phil Orton, Head of People at Belong believes the assessment is ‘game changing’. For this first time, they have real-time insight into staff competence so they can tailor developments to improve individual performance. They also have accurate data that can be evidenced for customers, their families and the regulator.

This insight into people’s strengths and areas of development has also enabled Belong to better resource shifts, ensuring a balanced mix of people with different skills and personalities which seems to be essential for delivering high quality person-centred care.  Another surprise is that the programme has been greeted with huge enthusiasm by the staff who see the ability to progress and fill in their skills gaps as a very positive thing.