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Case Studies


Four Season Health Care


Four Seasons Health Care

Company Name:
Four Seasons Health Care

Over 500 facilities and
over 30,000 staff


Business challenges:
Training costs

CareShield LMS and
e-Learning courses


CareShield has enabled Four Seasons Health Care to make a 10 fold year on year return on investment on backfill hours alone

Four Seasons Health Care owns and operates over 500 Nursing and Care Homes and Specialised Care Centres in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

The Company is the largest independent provider of care services in the United Kingdom. Four Seasons' origins date back to the late 1980's. The company has developed through both the acquisition and construction of care facilities and has firmly established a reputation for professionalism in all aspects of its care operations.

Four Seasons Health Care cares for over 25,000 people in its care and nursing homes and specialist units, employing over 30,000 staff. The Care Homes Division comprises approximately 300 homes in England and the Channel Islands, 62 in Scotland, 74 in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man and 7 in Wales. Many types of care are provided in the Divisions' high quality facilities including care for older people and those with dementia. In addition, there are dedicated services for respite care, rehabilitation, intermediate care, end of life and palliative care, as well as care for younger persons suffering from chronic conditions.

Four Seasons Health Care

The training requirements of the Company are complex and must conform to both the demands of the Regulator and the training and professional staff development objectives of Four Seasons.

Until 2009, Four Seasons Health Care training requirements were delivered using programmes of Face to Face training, Workbooks, DVD media and Distance Learning. The costs associated with delivering such a high volume of training, in time frames frequently compressed because of Regulatory or Statutory changes, were very high and quickly escalating.

Key areas of cost were:

  • The purchase of external supplier services
  • Venue hire and administrative costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Backfill hours for staff attending training courses
  • Purchase of new course material as legislative and regulatory changes became effective
  • Tracking, reporting and record management costs

The required volumes of training, the geographic spread of the audience and the diversity and turnover of the staff were emerging as key issues for the business; threatening compliance levels and standards of service delivery of Person Centred Care as well as compromising the desired industry leading professional development standards Four Seasons Health Care wished to achieve for the staff.

Four Seasons Health Care

Further issues with the delivery of training revolved around:


  • Poor levels of attendance driven by backfilling issues, ill health and travel problems
  • Low levels of accurate record keeping, resulting in a lack of availability of credible reports for the inspectors and Regulators. This problem also generated a wider lack of confidence at senior management level in the quality of records available; an issue further complicated by the Sector’s relatively high staff turnover
  • Purchasing learning materials from multiple providers meant there were inconsistencies in both content and delivery
  • External providers were frequently delivering training at different speeds, which compromised the coordination and delivery of a structured Four Seasons Health Care wide training strategy
  • Setting and controlling workable budgets for training and professional development
  • Being able to effectively map training needs and professional development objectives onto all staff
  • Perilously low levels of compliance

To address the inefficiencies and spiralling costs that had emerged in the delivery of training, Four Seasons Health Care started an e-learning pilot project in April of 2009. Four Seasons Health Care engaged CareShield Training Solutions to design, build and implement a pilot across 41 Four Seasons Health Care facilities. The objectives of the pilot were to achieve the following:

  • Proof of technology and the e-learning concept
  • Enable production of a suite of management reports
  • Facilitate a step-change in the level of compliance
  • Change provision from being a reactive training process to being a proactive professional and personal development process
  • Proof that a consistent approach could be implemented across such a large organisation with such complex and diverse training needs
  • Substantial, measurable cost savings

The Pilot phase of the implementation started with the mandatory modules that covered compliance pertinent topics that were essential to all staff. CareShield’s proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) was the platform used to deliver the programme of training to Four Seasons Health Care.

Before the Pilot could be initiated, CareShield advised Four Seasons Health Care on all aspects of the implementation. The level of available IT and the level of staff IT literacy across the business was assessed; a matter complicated by the fact that many staff did not have English as their first language. CareShield equipped the senior management team with a suite of messages for all staff, which would be delivered at a series of regional seminars.

Four Seasons Health Care

Four Seasons Health Care was not an organisation that had been through a programme of this type before, so the whole project represented a significant cultural shift with respect to the delivery of training programmes. CareShield had to overcome the concerns of the technologically averse and lead the journey away from obsolete training methods and towards e-Learning; maximising the use of technology along the way.

All CareShield courses are developed and approved by industry leading third party Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Each SME is a proven expert and occupationally competent in the required field. They update the system content in line with any changes to legislation, regulation or any other relevant standard. Each Course that is developed by CareShield follows a fully auditable quality assurance process to ensure that the workforce receives a high standard product. CareShield employs independent primary, secondary and tertiary SMEs to evaluate their entire Course portfolio.

Four Seasons Health Care training topics, Fire Safety for example, each had both an SME, external to CareShield, and an internal Four Seasons Health Care SME. This ensured that the content was fully supportive of Four Seasons Health Care policies and procedures, regulatory and legislative requirements.

CareShield’s consultancy team predesigned the full implementation before the pilot stage to enable a swift full implementation.

The pilot phase was so successful, and delivered one month earlier than planned, that the e-learning training went live to all 21,000 of Four Seasons Health Care staff.

The existing courses now on the e-Learning system totals at 28, designed to cover a variety of subjects that are highly beneficial in the workforce development process. The courses are not only beneficial in ensuring a high standard of care throughout FSHC facilities but are also a way to support individual, professional development, as certain e-learning modules now allow the individual to progress onwards to acquire a national qualification. In a two year period a total of 626,000 courses were completed by Four Seasons Health Care staff.

As the organisation became more familiar with the system extra functionality was added, which then allowed for more in-depth reports to be created. These reports had been created in a way so that a novice computer operator could create and use the complex reports they required.

The number of courses available, via e-learning, continuously grew along with the functionality of the system and became increasingly more interactive. Today, both the Moving and Handling course and the Dignity course, contain videos to improve the practical and visual components of the course.

The e-Learning Pilot provided overwhelming proof that the technology and the concept were going to be successful and that the full range of desired business benefits would be realised. Since the implementation, and the subsequent full implementation, Four Seasons Health Care has realised the following suite of benefits:

  • A return of 10 fold on investment on backfill hours alone.
  • Compliance levels are measured to have increased 3 fold and are climbing; all reported at the touch of a button
  • Learners learning at their own pace; staff learn more and retain reduced retraining needs
  • Learning objectives are properly mapped onto individuals’ development plans
  • Elimination of all venue costs
  • As courses are usually conducted in the employee’s own time, there is a substantial productivity uplift
  • Consistent and harmonised approach
  • Reduced administration costs with fewer suppliers
  • A more knowledgeable, empowered and motivated workforce delivering ever better levels of care
  • A comprehensive suite of management reports enabling superior planning and resourcing
  • 626,000 courses have been delivered at a fraction of the cost and time versus conventional methods

The success of the Four Seasons Health Care approach has led them to be recognised as a thought leader in the Sector by external bodies such as Skills For Care and the SQA. With the capability to map training onto National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Educational Standards (QCF) the work completed by CareShield with Four Seasons Health Care is being viewed as a potential blue print for the Care Sector.


Summary of key journey events and outcomes


  • A journey, guided by CareShield, towards an e-Learning led training strategy implementation
  • From low Regulatory compliance to high compliance
  • Low value/low credibility reporting to high value added, credible and actionable reporting
  • 626,000 courses delivered in just 2 years to over 20,000 staff members
  • Return of 10 fold on investment year on year on backfill hours alone.
  • Inconsistent “scatteredâ€� training approach to structured strategic professional development
  • Swift Pilot deployment and a quick, planned and managed implementation
  • A genuine migration away from disparate product usage to an integrated training solution.