Involving Users and Carers and Other Key Stakeholders in the Development of Curricula for the Care of Older People, August 2008
This project commenced as a result of a fortunate collision of events: a local review and revalidation of the Learning Beyond Registration (LBR) modules and pathways of study primarily aimed at qualified nurses, and the invitation for bids for funding for Higher Education Academy Health Sciences and Practice (HEA) mini-projects looking at involving users and carers in curriculum development. The review and revalidation presented an opportunity to re-evaluate the care of the older person pathway in the light of contemporary issues, one of which was the incorporation of user and carer perspectives within the modules. It is recognised that the involvement of users and carers plays a key role in maintaining the overall quality of health and social care (Brooker, 1997) with participation in education programmes for health care professionals being recognised as an essential component within this process (Wood and Wilson-Barnett, 1999). The possibility of funding from the HEA offered a timely opportunity to develop a structured review of the programme of study that had user and carer involvement as a central element.
A proposal was developed which followed on from, and added detail to, consultations with approximately 100 members of the public undertaken as part of a review of the School’s Diploma in Nursing course (Laverty et al 2005, Rush and Cook, 2006). The aim of the project was to enable older people and their carers to influence the development of nurse education curricula so that it both explores issues in a manner that addresses their concerns and reflects contemporary challenges in the delivery of quality care. The objectives were:
• To identify the issues that users and carers consider should be addressed in the LBR modules
• To develop the curricula in a manner that incorporates these findings
• To develop sessions and train speakers to facilitate teaching sessions
• To use the findings to influence the content of other relevant courses 2
This paper offers an overview of the conduct and findings of the project. Following a review of policy and literature relating to the involvement of users and carers in the development of both health and social care services and related professional education, there will be a discussion of the methods used to gain an understanding of the perspectives of local older people and their carers concerning getting older, providing care for an elderly friend or relative and receiving health and social care services. There will then be a presentation of the findings of this project before consideration is given to the way in which a group of interested volunteers decided to implement this within the health care for older people LBR modules. The paper will end with a discussion of student and participant evaluation of the work so far and an outline of planned future action.