Is your first aid team suffering from 'learning decay?'

Although the majority of UK businesses ensure that they meet HSE first aid regulations by appointing and training first aiders, what would happen if someone actually did have an accident or was taken ill? Would the first aider remember what to do and be able to put it into practice? Would ‘learning decay’ have eroded knowledge and confidence?

'Learning decay' is a phenomenon of all training from IT skills to accountancy. Research has shown that, unless training is put to use or actively refreshed soon after the course, about 70 per cent will quickly be forgotten or incomplete. That is 'learning decay'.

Amanda Jenkins of the British Red Cross says: "Immediate recall of first aid skills can be a matter of life or death. Companies should make sure that their staff keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

"When an incident occurs there will not be time to check notes or 'call a friend.' More so than in virtually every type of training and learning, the answers must be in the first aider's mind when required.

"We train over 120,000 people each year on our courses and give them a valuable skill. However, although recall of our training is very good, we recognise that a degree or so of learning decay is inevitable and gradually increases over time. It is just human nature.

"That is why, in addition to refresher courses, we introduced Safe hands. The website and programme of monthly e-mails provide regular updates on first aid and related items, as well as providing an instant source of information and advice to counteract 'learning decay'.  Members can visit and refresh knowledge on techniques at a time most convenient to them. We also run an on line quiz where they can test their first aid knowledge to see whether their skills need refreshing."

More than 17,000 first aiders have registered with Safe hands in little more than a year since it was introduced.

Amanda Jenkins concludes; "The HSE, recognising that knowledge fades, require first aiders who have been on a course to attend a refresher course three years later to maintain their qualification. So, thousands of people attend British Red Cross refresher courses each year and many also join Safe hands. The British Red Cross also offer skills update courses for the period between course and refresher course. Keeping first aid skills up to date is vital."

For a full copy of the survey please contact Lydia Mottershead  0n 0844 871 8000

For further information contact Lydia Mottershead on 0844 871 8000

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