Objective. The overall aim of the ImPaCT in Europe project (co-ordinated by the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and funded through the EC-Lifelong Learning Programme) is to facilitate the development and implementation of Person Centred Technology (PCT) for the benefit of key stakeholders within the health and social care sectors in Europe, namely service providers, care staff and end users. One of the tasks of the project is to provide a background study concerning the need for training of staff belonging to health and social care providers.
Main Content. A list of twenty statements concerning reasons for training (Why is training needed?) and strategies (How can training be facilitated?) was made following literature research and a survey among the project partners. Eighty-six interviewees from six countries rated the statements on a five-point agreement scale (1=totally disagree, 5= fully agree). The respondents represented seven categories: Independent PCT experts, policy makers in PCT training, organisations of end-users, professional associations/bodies, relevant professionals in care services, training organisations in PCT training and vendors of PCT.
Results. There was a high level of agreement with the statements (overall medium score = 4.25). Nine statements were rated significantly higher and four significantly lower than the average score. The high rated statements highlighted the importance of training of professionals as this will impact on the empowerment and independence of people with disabilities. The respondents showed themselves particularly in accordance with statements highlighting the need for exchange of best practice within and across countries, cooperation among key actors, partnerships and networks. The statements with a lower level of agreement concerned the following issues: making accreditation of training by national agencies mandatory, the need for training to enhance professional skills in situations where technology might substitute human intervention (telecare, etc.), the general lack of awareness about PCT as a excuse for not investing in training, the lack of evidence of cost efficiency as explanation why the demand for training is low. Comparing the results of the seven categories, some important differences emerge. For example a statement about the economic evidence is rated higher by the professional associations/bodies than by the other subgroups.
Conclusions. The outcomes of this study clearly make a case for increasing investments in education and training in PCT. Nevertheless different stakeholders will use different arguments for underpinning these needs. Policy makers and training organisations are recommended to deal with the training needs for staff and with strategies to further develop the understanding of the potential benefits of PCT for the quality of life of the end-users. The report is to be published online in September on www.impact-in-europe.eu.