Quality assurance and good governance: how to be outstanding

A bit about the speaker…

Pete Sherlock joined Citation in 2014 and oversees our relationships with Care England, Scottish Care and more than 35 other care partnerships. Pete’s knowledge and experience of the industry filters through all levels of Citation, to help care businesses – like yours – get the best possible rating in regulatory inspections.

Watch and learn

Simply put, quality assurance is the process of maintaining a desired level of quality. For most, the dream is probably “outstanding”.

In the care industry, quality assurance is achieved by having systems and processes in place that allow you to monitor the quality and safety of your service.

As you probably already know, great governance isn’t just about your leadership, management and decision-making skills, but it’s about your transparency, honesty and responsiveness too, and the effect that has on the culture of your service.

To refresh your mind, inspectors will look at five key areas when they inspect and rate your business, and they’re whether your business is: safe, effective, caring, responsive and how well led you are.

Generally, your quality assurance and governance will fall into the ‘well led’ area of an inspection.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, you could actually be in breach if you don’t have effective systems and processes in place to assess, monitor and improve the quality and safety of your service.

Anyway, that’s enough of the rules and regulations. Here are our top 10 tips to bump your quality assurance and good governance rating up to “outstanding”.

1. Make sure you have relevant, up-to-date policies and procedures in place, and make sure they’re accessible and understood by everyone.

2. Instead of engineering everything towards the regulator, place the people who use your service at the front of what you do. Ask yourself: do you have accurate records of everyone who uses your service? Are their daily notes, medication and fluid charts up-to-date? Someone who has never worked at your home should be able to walk in and seamlessly cover a shift – is that true for you?

3. Make sure you have risk assessments in place and maintained. Remember, risk assessments should cover health, safety and welfare of every person who uses your service. Generic risk assessments aren’t good risk assessment. They should cover all sorts, like moving, handling, nutrition and hydration, to name just a few.

4. Run regular surveys with employees, service users and their relatives. After all, who knows your business better than the people that use it and work there? Don’t just run the survey, make sure you learn from its findings, too.

5. Make sure your care plans and staff files are stored in a safe place, away from visitors and contractors.

6. When you gather information from audits, surveys, complaints, compliments and reviews, make use of the information to better your service. We’re sure it goes without saying, but they should all be accurate and up-to-date.

7. Without action, improvement and action plans are pretty much pointless. If you’ve got any, make sure you complete them and take appropriate steps.

8. Are you confident your employees feel comfortable coming to you with concerns or questions? If the answer’s no, you might want to consider looking into the culture of your business.

9. If you’ve not already, think about ISO accreditation. This’ll help to support and maintain a high standard of quality for your business.

And last but not least.

10. Make sure you have a robust overview of the care that’s being provided. If it takes an inspector to plug any gaps for you, odds are your service isn’t outstanding.

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