Publication - Independent report

Coronavirus (COVID-19): care home outbreaks - root cause analysis

Published: 3 Nov 2020

Findings of the rapid review of COVID-19 outbreaks in four care homes, including a list of recommendations based on risk factors that were found to be common in at least two of the homes.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): care home outbreaks - root cause analysis
9. Training and education

9. Training and education

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) sets educational standards for care workers. These are attainment at SVQ level 2, 3 or 4, in relation to the seniority of role of the care worker, and a five year period is allowed for the successful completion of the relevant SVQ

The content of SVQ programmes in relation to infection prevention and control (IPC) is variable. The review team heard some evidence that IPC is included at induction by some organisations, but the requirement for information to be repeatedly reinforced before it becomes routine practice was not evident16. Additionally, the step-up required of IPC practice in the current pandemic is challenging for some organisations to ensure consistent adherence.  Provision of education support is variable and depends on in-house expertise and also the availability of external assistance. Care Home Education Facilitators are funded and supported by NHS Education for Scotland and employed by NHS Boards to support care homes who host student nurse placements, and this is by no means a large proportion of care homes across Scotland. 

SSSC confirmed that of staff registered to work in care homes, 59% of managers, 46% of supervisors, 61% of practitioners and 38% of support workers have attained the relevant SVQ required. We heard that SSSC has worked very successfully with NES in relation to developing educational modules relevant to care home staff. The possible extension of this approach to develop mandatory IPC induction modules, together with the provision of a network of dedicated care home educators for all care homes (irrespective of whether student nurse placements are facilitated) would support the continuation of education in relation to reinforcing required knowledge in practice, and recognises that not all care homes allow access to online educational resources for their staff.


  • Development of a mandatory induction module for IPC, in partnership between SSSC and NES, should be undertaken as soon as is practicably possible
  • Consider a supportive education model where care homes educators roles are developed to support every care home in Scotland 
  • Workforce development needs for IPC requires to be considered for all staff in care homes and those providing IPC support to this sector