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 www.ahcai.ie, 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.
- Medication Administration for Healthcare Assistants Working in the Clients Own Home
- Mentoring and Training Skills for Health Care Assistants
- End of Life Care for Older People
- Urinary Incontinence and It’s Management
- Caring for A Dementia Patient at Home or in Residential Care
- Observation Skills for Health Care Assistants
- Pressure Ulcer Prevention
- Nutrition and Assisted Meals
- Recognising the Patient’s Physical Pain