Recognizing Staff Needs
Individuals who require community health care services are increasingly presenting more complex needs. In recognition of this, and as part of our effort to invest in our staff, Cota focused on providing additional comprehensive training to our staff in 2016-2017. Sylvia Starosta (Director, Clinical Operations) was paramount in identifying opportunities for training that would assist our staff to enhance their clinical knowledge and skills. Along with Dr. Andrea Duncan (University of Toronto) and Cota’s Education Task Group, they developed a dynamic Clinical Curriculum based on evidence-informed practices.
Two Certificate Programs Offered at Cota
Two programs emerged: a Service Planning Certificate and an Interventions Certificate. Each course fuses discussions about practical theory with group exercises that allow staff to utilize new learnings and apply them to specific client situations.
Here is what our staff had to say after graduating:
Adriana McCall and June Horton
Adriana and June are Site Support Workers in the Boarding Home Program at Cota. They graduated from the Intervention Certificate Training course and immediately found a way to apply their newly acquired theoretical knowledge to their work with clients. They incorporated the ‘Stages of Change’ model and ‘S.M.A.R.T. Goals’ from training into a presentation they bring to tenants twice a year. June and Adriana named the presentation ‘Make it Happen: Taking Steps Towards Change.’
–Adriana McCall, Site Support Worker, Boarding Home program, Cota
– June Horton, Site Support Worker, Boarding Home program, Cota
They further developed a client feedback form and visited the sites 2-4 weeks after the presentation to see what progress had been made. Of the 32 sites, 29 participated and 64 surveys were collected. They collected feedback from clients and this is what clients said:
–*Dav, Boarding Home Tenant
– *Milly, Boarding Home Tenant
– *Garry, Boarding Home Tenant
*This is not the client's name; but they have agreed to share their story and wish to remain anonymous
Both June and Adriana were so grateful for the certificate program, and found the training valuable. They will continue to use it in their work moving forward!
Hendry Kajendrakumar has been with Cota for 14 years working as a supportive housing worker. He attended the course and said, “it was like a lightbulb went on.”
Hendry said his thinking shifted. He began to evaluate in terms of: how to set client goals, how to handle client challenges, and how to achieve individual client goals with the client. After graduating, he applied the training to his client portfolio and saw some measurable changes.
One particular client he works with is 65 years old and diagnosed with major depression. The client often feels anxious about family, financial stability, and not sleeping at night. Hendry thought,
– Hendry Kajendrakumar, Supportive Housing Worker, Cota
Over a period of a few months, this client began to open up to Hendry, he attended walking groups in the community, and showed signs of feeling better about his situation.
Hendry said, “it’s baby steps,” but seeing that progress made him really value his Certificate Training Program.