Primary Care: Senior Healthcare Support Worker



Senior Healthcare Support Worker, Level 3

As models of care within the NHS evolve to provide a multi-disciplinary, flexible workforce in health and social care, the role of the Senior Healthcare Support Worker (SHCSW) has become increasingly important in delivering upon the national drivers of improved care and working closely with the GP and PCM Nurse Teams.

The programme is designed to support the role holder to help deliver healthcare services to patients and carry out a range of clinical and non-clinical healthcare or therapeutic tasks, under the direct or indirect supervision of the registered healthcare practitioner.  Working in a range of services, GP Practice, PCN, hospital, community health or day care unit, someone’s home, care home, assessment centre or voluntary organisation.

The programme will develop the role holder to guide and inspire team members to make positive differences to someone’s life when they are faced with physical, practical, social, emotional, psychological or intellectual challenges. And to supervise or guide the less experienced colleagues in the team.

Who is this for?

You may work in a range of services or settings including: hospital, community, health or day case unit, birth centre or midwifery led unit, someone’s home, Operating theatre, nursing or care home, assessment centre, hospice, school, prison, GP surgery, charity or voluntary organisation. You ma also work in partnership with individuals, families, carers or other service providers.

Job roles may include:

Healthcare support worker, Healthcare assistant, Care assistant, Night care assistant, Home care support worker, Substance misuse worker

What is covered?

During the programme, you will be taught and assessed on the following knowledge, skills and behaviours, supporting your development to the Standard.

Teaching is delivered through monthly two-hour-long workshops, supported with regular 1:1 coaching, self-led learning and assessments.

Apprentices specialise in one of two areas, depending on their requirements: 

  • Senior Healthcare Support Worker (Adult Nursing Support), or
  • Senior Healthcare Support Worker (Allied health profession – therapy support)



You will treat people with dignity, respecting individual’s diversity, beliefs, culture, needs, values, privacy and preferences, show respect and empathy for those you work with, have the courage to challenge areas of concern and work to best practice, be adaptable, reliable and consistent, show discretion, show resilience and self-awareness and show supervisory leadership


You will be able to:

You will know and understand:

C1. Health and wellbeing

  • Assist registered healthcare practitioners with clinical or therapeutic tasks; follow care plans; notice and report changes
  • gather evidence to assist in obtaining a client history, review health-related data and information
  • promote physical and mental health and wellbeing, providing opportunistic brief advice on health and wellbeing
  • assist with an individual’s overall comfort, identify and respond to signs of pain or discomfort
  • recognise issues and deteriorations in mental and physical health, report and respond appropriately, supporting others to do so
  • recognise limitations in mental capacity and respond appropriately
  • perform basic life support for individuals
  • how to carry out routine and complex clinical or therapeutic tasks delegated to you, the care plans and delegation protocols used in your organisation
  • the types of information you need to collate when obtaining a client history, ways to record and share it
  • the indicators for good physical and mental health in relation to the demographic of individuals you are working with; the importance of fluids, nutrition and food safety; ways to signpost individuals to public health interventions or other services if appropriate
  • how to support a person’s comfort and wellbeing, the signs of a person whose health and wellbeing is deteriorating or who is experiencing pain or discomfort
  • the main types of mental ill health and their impact on people’s lives; indicators for mental capacity, the importance of early diagnosis in relation to cognitive issues; the possible signs of mental ill health and learning disability in people; why
  • external factors, adapting from childhood to adulthood, depression, delirium or the normal ageing process may be mistaken for mental ill health; how changes in cognition can impact health and wellbeing; how to report changes and deterioration; how to support others to report changes and deterioration, how to escalate changes and deterioration
  • how to perform basic life support and use adjuncts to support resuscitation

C2. Duty of care and candour, safeguarding, equality and diversity

  • follow the principles for equality, diversity and inclusion
  • implement a duty of care and candour
  • safeguard and protect adults and children; promote the principles to others
  • legislation, policies and local ways of working about duty of care, candour, raising concerns, safeguarding/ protection from abuse, diversity, equality and inclusion; what they mean, why they are important, how to promote them to others
  • how discrimination can happen; how to deal with conflicts between a person’s rights and a duty of care
  • The signs of abuse, what to do if you suspect it, how to reduce the chances of abuse as much as possible

C3. Person centred care, treatment and support

  • demonstrate what it means in practice to promote and provide person centred care, treatment and support by obtaining valid consent, and carrying out risk assessments
  • work in partnership with the individual, their carer, families and the wider healthcare team
  • promote clinical effectiveness, safety and a good experience for the individual
  • why it is important to gain consent (4), even when it is difficult; how to undertake risk assessment in enabling a person centred approach; why it is important to promote ‘person centred care, treatment and support’
  • why it is important to encourage people to be actively involved in their own care or treatment; why it is important to give people choices about their care and to treat people as valuable and unique
  • why safety and clinical effectiveness are important; the importance of managing relationships and boundaries with service users
C4. Communication 
  • demonstrate and promote effective communication using a range of techniques
  • observe and record verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Handle information (record, report and store information) in line with local and national policies, keep information confidential and support others to do so; take part in audits
  • why it is important to promote effective communication at work; how to communicate with people who have specific language needs or wishes; how to reduce communication problems and respond to complaints; techniques for difficult situations, local guidelines for dealing with abusive behaviour
  • how verbal and non-verbal communication may relate to an individual’s condition
  • legislation, policies and local ways of working about handling information; why it is important to record and store information securely and confidentially and support others to do so; e-safety; the audit process and how it relates to your role
C5. Personal, people and quality improvement
  • act within the limits of your competence and authority; ensure that anyone you supervise acts within theirs’
  • take responsibility for, prioritise and reflect on your own actions, work and performance; maintain and further develop your own skills and knowledge, participate in appraisal
  • work as part of a team, seek help and guidance when you are not sure, escalate concerns in a timely manner to the correct person; support or supervise colleagues as required, delegate well- defined tasks appropriately
  • act as a role model; mentor peers; deliver training through demonstration and instruction
  • your responsibilities and duties; the limits of your competence and authority; that of those you supervise; the values of your organisation; legislation, standards, policies, protocols you should adhere to; why it is important to work in ways agreed by your employer
  • how to seek feedback, reflect on your actions, how to evaluate your work and create a personal development plan
  • the importance of working well with others, your own health, wellbeing, resilience and that of colleagues; who or where to go for help and advice about anything related to your work or people you support; how to supervise others
  • behaviours expected from a role model; the principles of training and mentoring
  • the importance of gathering service user views; ways to identify and escalate opportunities to provide a better or more effective service
C6. Health, safety and security
  • maintain a safe and healthy working environment, take appropriate action in response to incidents or emergencies, following local guidelines
  • move and position individuals, equipment and other items safely
  • undertake risk assessments
  • use a range of techniques for infection prevention and control, eg waste management, spillage, hand washing, use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • how to promote health and safety at work; what to do in situations that could cause harm; how to handle hazardous materials
  • move and position people, equipment or other objects safely in line with agreed ways of working
  • the meaning of risk /risk assessment; how to recognise risk or hazards, undertake risk assessment, escalate where appropriate, operate safe systems of work
  • the importance of a clean workplace; legislation, policies and local ways of working for the prevention of  infection; personal hygiene, handwashing; the right use of PPE : gloves, aprons, masks; how infections start and spread; how to clean, disinfect and sterilise



Option 1 – Senior HCSW (Adult Nursing Support)

Senior adult nursing support workers look after adults in a range of settings, duties will vary accordingly. In most instances your supervisor will be a registered nurse. Some people you support have short term needs; eg they have sustained an injury. Others may have long-term conditions which affect them every day, all their lives eg asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, depression, stroke or arthritis. Many people suffer from more than one condition eg an older person who has sustained a fall and has a wound that needs regular dressing, may also have heart disease. Some people will need round the clock care, being able to do very little for themselves, requiring you to look after all their personal needs including feeding, washing, going to the toilet as well as carrying out clinical tasks like checking their blood pressure or pulse.

Option 1

You will be able to:

You will know and understand:

1.1 Assist with clinical tasks

  • assist nurses with delegated clinical tasks
  • undertake a range of physiological measurements on adults
  • assist with tissue viability risk assessments
  • assist with caring for wounds
  • obtain and test samples and other specimens
  • support frailty, end of life care5
  • contribute to discharge from services
  • monitor and maintain the environment, equipment and resources; perform first line calibration on clinical equipment and manage stock control
  • recognise limitations in mental capacity and respond appropriately
  • Other clinical tasks are determined by your local work setting and policies eg: support people to receive medication or non-oral treatments; monitor the effects of medication; care for stomas; take ECGs; care for individuals with catheters or nasogastric tubes; carry out screening activities eg hearing or vision; monitor swallowing, prepare or carry out extended feeding techniques.
  • which clinical tasks you will routinely be expected to carry out within your role
  • the range of physiological states that can be measured including body temperature, height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, urinary output, breathing rate, oxygen saturation, and blood sugar levels; the types of equipment used for measuring physiological states in adults and how to check they are in working order
  • the importance of skin integrity and how to check it
  • how to care for wounds
  • how to take and test venous and capillary blood and other specimens
  • what is meant by frailty; the end of life phase and factors which impact on the care of the dying or deceased
  • the discharge process, the availability and services offered by the extended health and social care system
  • where to source equipment and resources
  • the importance of early diagnosis in relation to dementia and other cognitive issues; why depression, delirium and the normal ageing process may be mistaken for dementia

1.2 Activities of daily living

  • support adults to develop and maintain skills for everyday life, continuing recommended therapies and activities and encouraging them to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing; support carers to meet the needs of the adult; advise and inform adults on managing their own condition
  • support or enable adults to eat, drink
  • support or enable adults to wash and dress and use the toilet
  • support adults to be mobile, rest, sleep, keep safe or express their sexuality
  • approaches to promoting health and wellbeing; a range of long term conditions and the impact they may have on a person’s physical and mental health and well- being; which long term conditions you are most likely to support in your role; the activities of daily living and ways in which you can support individual’s to maintain and improve them
  • the effects of poor nutrition and dehydration
  • how to wash, dress and support an adult to use the toilet; ways to manage situations in which the adult cannot do these things for themselves
  • how to help adults to be mobile and the importance of rest and sleep
Option 2 – Senior HCSW (Allied health profession – therapy support)

Allied Health Profession (AHP) – therapy support workers work with individuals in a range of settings, your clinical and therapeutic duties will vary accordingly. There are 12 different AHP professions and you may carry out tasks associated with a single profession or tasks that relate to a range of them. Your supervisor will usually be a registered Allied Health Professional.

Illness, disability or a change in life circumstances often means that people have to learn or be supported to do things in new and different ways. This can change the pattern of a life-course but individuals can often expect to regain and enjoy a quality of life through the therapeutic and clinical support you provide. Some individuals may have short term needs eg an injury. Others may have long-term physical and/or mental illness or learning disability that affects their independence, function or way of living. You will be required to work with the individual either on their own or within a group setting. You may also work with others to support the individual eg training carers or working with families.

Option 2

You will be able to:

You will know and understand:

2.1 Assist with delegated therapeutic or clinical tasks and interventions

  • assist registered practitioners with delegated therapeutic or clinical tasks and interventions in line with current legislation and policy
  • assist with clinical risk assessments
  • contribute to referrals to or discharge from services
  • monitor and maintain the environment
  • recognise the impact of mental or physical capacity, a health condition, learning disability or overall wellbeing on the therapeutic or clinical task or intervention and adapt as appropriate
  • enable individuals to meet optimum potential
  • record interventions and progress against defined outcome measures
  • Other tasks are determined by your local work setting and policies.
  • basic human anatomy and physiology
  • which therapeutic or clinical tasks and interventions you will routinely be expected to carry out within your role including standard approaches to identify, manage, rehabilitate or maximise an individual’s function
  • local clinical risk assessments and management plans relevant to the setting
  • the impact of the stages of growing, developing and ageing on physical and mental function and wellbeing; what is meant by frailty; the end of life (10) phase; the impact of disease progress
  • the referral and discharge process, the functions, availability, eligibility and limitations of wider services offered within and external to your organisation and how to signpost people to them
  • how to assess that the environment is appropriate for the therapeutic or clinical task
  • the potential impact of difficulties or impairments (e.g. cognitive, perceptual, physical, emotional, social) on someone’s ability to function in their environment; how to adapt or change a task to promote participation; the impact of mental health on a person’s functioning; how someone’s overall wellbeing or underlying condition may affect the way they present and how to adapt accordingly

2.2 Support, educate and enable individuals with their health and wellbeing

  • provide support in line with care plans (11)
  • enable individuals and their carer or family to participate in care plans, where appropriate encouraging independence and self-reliance, promoting self-management and skills for everyday life
  • enable health and wellbeing by supporting or facilitating individual or group sessions
  • support people to engage in the community and access activities or resources in line with their treatment goals
  • the care planning process, the main interventions in relation to physical and mental wellbeing, national guidelines and the anticipated outcomes following your intervention;
  • ways to enable independence, social integration and recovery; how to encourage self-management, emotional resilience, personal development or growth and ways to avoid relapses. Skills for everyday life as determined by your role and setting.
  • your role in allied health profession support education; how to provide information and advice; the fundamentals of group work and presentation skills, ways to monitor progress and report or refer as required
  • local activities and resources and how to signpost people to them eg social, education, work etc

2.3 Equipment and resources

  • identify, order or fit a defined range of equipment or resources
  • demonstrate or teach safe and appropriate use of equipment
  • identify when equipment, or its use, is unsafe, adapting within a given range or escalating
  • use equipment and resources therapeutically in a safe, effective way in line with local policy and procedure
  • a range of equipment, assistive devices and resources used in your role; why and how it is used and the limitations; benefits and risks; when equipment should not be used; maintenance and cleaning; storage, and correct handling of equipment; how to access, order, maintain or monitor stock
  • how the equipment is used safely; how it can meet individual’s needs and be adapted within a given range
  • how to escalate that equipment is required or does not meet needs including how to report faults and contribute to maintenance and safety checks
  • the equipment and resources available to you; the client group you work with and how the equipment can be used for them including the types, purpose and function of the resources available and the criteria for provision of equipment



with Government funding of 95%  (non levy employers/SMEs)


full cost for levy payers

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My apprenticeship has given me a huge confidence boost whilst helping me to develop my skills and career. I feel better equipped and prepared to deal with situations as they happen - and I know what my manager expects.

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