Charity urges carers to learn first aid

A LEADING charity today called for more staff in the care industry to learn first aid in the wake of a tragedy at an Ipswich nursing home.

A LEADING charity today called for more staff in the care industry to learn first aid in the wake of a tragedy at an Ipswich nursing home.

St John Ambulance has urged people to take a course with a registered training provider that might help prevent deaths like that of Florence Smith.

The service revealed that a one-day course costing just £90 per person would have included techniques on how to deal with choking which could have saved Mrs Smith's life.

An inquest discovered that at the time of Mrs Smith's accidental death in May only one member of staff at the Shaftesbury House care home had basic first aid training and this did not include the potentially life-saving Heimlich Manoeuvre.

Isobel Sternfeld, training officer at St John Ambulance, said: “It is concerning that a basic first aid course did not cover how to deal with choking.

“We urge people to learn first aid with a registered training provider. Please learn first aid - don't leave it until you need it.”

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Care homes are required to meet the national minimum standards, which states that there must be at least one qualified first aider on hand at all times.

But they carry out their own risk assessment to determine the number of trained first aiders they need over and above that and the type of training they receive, which means requirements differ greatly.

Steve Thorp, a training officer at the St John Ambulance HQ in Bramford, said: “It varies very much to what extent they invest in the training. Care homes are always looking at the cheapest option possible because funding is tight. We can't really argue with that.

“Training provides people with the confidence with which to deal with these situations.”

Sanctuary Care, which owns Shaftesbury House, said it had made sure there was a professionally trained first aider on hand at all times since the aftermath of Mrs Smith's death.

Should all members of staff at care homes be trained in first aid? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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