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A brief history of the Alliance of Health Care Assistants in Ireland

Written by our Chairperson Anne Marie Lee

I am a retired Public Health Nurse and since retiring I have taught Healthcare Assistants on the FETAC and QQI Level 5 Healthcare Support Courses. While teaching on one of these courses the students and I decided it was necessary to set up a membership organisation which would act as the voice of the discipline of Healthcare Assistant.  I am currently the chairperson of the executive council of the organisation.  We registered as a not-for-profit company in November 2015 and all our executive members are volunteers.

Knowledge based on my experience

  • Registered General Nurses came into the community around 1991/92.  They were not specifically trained for the community but were fully qualified in clinical care.
  • HCA’s arrived unannounced about two years later, untrained, inexperienced and with little instruction except what they got from the PHN
  • Once they settled in and a role was devised for them, we were very happy with their work.
  • A one-week training course was set up and sometime later this stretched out to six weeks.
  • I was one of the occasional trainers on the course.
  • Nursing History is not dissimilar to this. There is one excellent book on the development of nursing in Ireland from the mid-19th Century written by Gerard M Fealy ‘A History of Apprenticeship Nurse Training in Ireland’
  • The PHN training course was delivered by experienced PHNs, not by qualified tutors until such time as it transferred into the university.
  • HCA’s are in a somewhat similar developing situation.  You are not registered with a regulatory body.
  • There is no discussion with you about how your discipline is to develop.
  • There is no discussion with you as to your scope of practice or the content of your curriculum
  • HCA’s have no voice at present
  • This is where the Alliance of Health Care Assistants comes into play
  • AHCAI has been set up to be the voice of the HCA with regard to the ongoing development of your relatively new discipline.
  • We consult with you on all matters pertaining to yourdiscipline.
  • We are not a trade union so will not be dealing with pay and conditions or difficulties you may have with your employers or managers.
  • Our voice will only be as strong as our membership.
  • Our website, Facebook page and twitter keep you informed and up to date on matters relevant to your discipline.

Courses on our website:

For which you can receive a certificate of course completion.

  1. Medication Administration for Healthcare Assistants Working in the Clients Own Home
  2. Mentoring and Training Skills for Health Care Assistants
  3. End of Life Care for Older People
  4. Urinary Incontinence and It’s Management
  5. Caring for A Dementia Patient at Home or in Residential Care
  6. Observation Skills for Health Care Assistants
  7. Pressure Ulcer Prevention
  8. Nutrition and Assisted Meals
  9. Recognising the Patient’s Physical Pain

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