Jan 20

Quality improvement: identifying and driving improvements in your service in 2020

Posted: 13 January 2020

As the new year has just begun, now’s the ideal time to set your goals for the year ahead. This article uses learning from our ‘Guide to improvement’ to outline some of the ways that you can identify improvements and make the required changes to ensure that your service delivers high-quality care and support and meets the required standards.

Identify areas for improvement

A good way to identify areas for improvement is to review where you are now, and which areas of your service are performing well and which aren’t. This can help you to start thinking about what you need and/or want to improve.

  • Evaluate the outcomes of your service against any key performance indicators.
  • Review your last CQC inspection report and identify any areas that were rated lower than others.
  • Assess how your service performs against local and national sector averages for key workforce measurements which impact on quality, such as retention rates, vacancy rates, turnover rates and levels of staff qualifications.
  • Ask key stakeholders what they think you should improve, including staff, people who use your service, family and healthcare professionals.

“You can get bogged down when there are many things to prioritise. We worked with the whole staff team on an extensive action plan, using a traffic light system that showed what needed to be done today, tomorrow, next week and next month. We identified the most important things that needed addressing immediately, including updating care plans, equipment and risk assessments, and then put together a longer-term action plan to address staffing issues.”

Jennifer Daly, Registered Manager, Hartwell Lodge (Bucklands Care)

Plan and implement your improvement

When you’ve identified which area(s) you want to improve, you need to decide how you’re going to do it.

  • Research how other organisations have dealt with similar issues and think if you could do something similar. If you’re a registered manager, join your local Registered Managers Network to learn about best practice from others.
  • If there are no clear solutions, use blue-sky thinking, or similar approaches, to generate ideas. This involves trying to find completely new ideas that aren’t limited by current thinking or beliefs.
  • Ask yourself, your staff and the people you support the question: ‘What do you want us to achieve?’ Write your solutions from the perspective of people who use your service.
  • Write an action plan that includes SMART objectives.
  • Assign someone to manage the implementation of the action plan.

Monitor your performance and maintain quality

Monitoring your performance will ensure that your service is meeting the outcomes and/or standards that you want to achieve and will show if, and how, your improvements are making a difference. There are lots of ways that you can collect information to monitor and measure quality, including:

  • audit tools
  • care plan audits
  • CQC inspection reports
  • workforce data
  • feedback and complaints
  • interviews
  • meetings
  • surveys
  • supervisions
  • incident and accident reviews.

“On a regular basis, we ask all professionals, family members, relatives and friends to complete a feedback questionnaire to gather their views, suggestions and comments about our services. We use the results to analyse our service and make the necessary changes to improve quality.”

Aidan Spence, Managing Director, The Grove (Connifinn Ltd.)

Provide evidence

When your service has improved, you need to evidence the good work you’ve done and how it’s resulted in people receiving better care and support.

The CQC ‘Sources of evidence’ list shows the different ways that you can collect evidence, for example:

  • survey results
  • training records
  • recruitment records
  • compliments books
  • care plans
  • scrapbooks
  • supervision notes.

Ensure that everyone knows where you keep evidence of good practice and update it regularly. For example, keep an ‘evidence file’ and ask staff to update it with examples. Every month, pick out the strongest examples to share with CQC inspectors.

“When we’re preparing for inspection, we spend time gathering the right evidence. Once, we had a three year gap between our CQC inspections and, over that period, we continued to gather evidence to get us ready. When the inspector came in, we had a whole pack of evidence, listed under each KLOE, which they could take away with them.”

Heather Choat, Registered Manager, Halstead Hall

Find out more  

Download our ‘Guide to improvement’ which explains how to identify, plan and implement improvements across your service. If you’re a registered manager member, you’ll receive an exclusive workbook edition of the guide when you renew your membership from 1 April 2019. If your membership doesn’t need renewing, members can purchase a printed copy for £20 from our online bookshop.

Follow our campaign

You can keep up-to-date with our January campaign here where we’ll add new information, links to useful articles, blogs and resources to help you start 2020 positively. You can also follow the campaign onsocial media using #Your2020Vision.