Sunderland care workers on board with new training

Thu 04th July 2019


Residents in Sunderland’s care homes will benefit from improved healthcare, thanks to new staff training taking place on board a double decker bus.

Over 100 local care home workers and front line staff will receive specialist training to help them detect the signs of deteriorating health quicker and alert health services more effectively.

Training will be carried out on board MELISSA (Mobile Educational Learning Improving Simulation Safety Activities), a specially designed double decker bus which delivers healthcare training across the region.

MELISSA will travel to five locations across Sunderland, providing 15 training sessions. Care workers will be provided with specialised training to get to grips with the National Early Warning System (NEWS), a digital system that will increase their ability to recognise deteriorating health in a resident at an early stage.

There are around 400,000 older adults living in care homes in England, who often have some of the most complex health needs. Care home residents are more likely to attend A&E or be admitted to hospital as an emergency than people of a similar age in the wider community. By being alert to early changes in a resident’s health, care workers can potentially avoid the need for a hospital admission.

Ann Fox, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland, said: “Care home workers play a hugely important role in supporting the health of residents, and this training can give them the tools to spot serious illness earlier, so that the people they care for can receive treatment as soon as possible.

“By acting quickly, a patient is more likely to respond better to treatment, which can reduce the amount of time that they are ill, prevent the illness from becoming more serious and support recovery.”

MELISSA recently visited Holycross Care Home in the west of the city where seven people took part in the training sessions.

Pauline Laverick, Nursing Manager at St. Marks Nursing Home in Millfield, was one of them. She said: “This gives us an opportunity to get training that we wouldn’t normally have – it’s offered locally and is easily accessible. It also means that everyone is working towards the same standard of care for our residents.”

MELISSA training is funded by Health Education England, delivered by the University of Sunderland and supported by NHS Sunderland CCG and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

For further information about MELISSA, email

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