Outline how you could review quality in a health or social care agency. Discuss reflectively the criteria you have used, identifying dilemmas and opportunities to work towards 'best practice'.
This essay will look at the ways in which quality can be reviewed in Health and Social care agencies. It will then go on to analyse these methods and look at the problems that these can present, and the opportunities to move towards 'best practice'.
It will begin by defining what quality is and then move on to explore the review process of quality. It will then examine the pros and cons of these.
Quality originated in the Health and Social care field in the 1980's.This was when the Conservative party were in power. At this time a predominant government aim was to transform the nature of public services. The government wanted to change the way that Health and Social care services were structured, managed and delivered. To achieve their aim quality management was introduced to services, in order to improve them.
Quality is a theme which is featured and regarded highly in Health and Social care agencies.Where is it and how do you know this is? Despite its high priority, quality is not straightforward to define. This is shown in a quote by Pattison,1997; Donabedian,1980 who said that quality is 'an elusive concept to define and a mystery to unravel'. However, quality is a word which implies excellence, or at least the move towards excellence. The document A Quality Strategy for Social Care (DOH,2000b) does not define quality , but it does offer an explanation as to what a quality service should be. It states that services should be in the process of changing and improving their service so that they are accessible and consistent,being delivered by a competent workforce to meet service user needs.This explanation is very similar to the definition offered by Coulshed and Mullender, 2001.(2001) They say that a quality service is a 'service fit for purpose, but doing so at a reasonable cost and with due regard for ensuring informed consent and choice on part of the people using them'. For the purpose of this essay, quality will be defined as a service which is fit for purpose and strives for excellent care which meets their service users needs.
Frontline managers have the overall responsibility to ensure that a good quality service is delivered. However, it has been argued that 'Responsibility for quality rests with each and every member of staff and volunteer' (Warr and Kelly, 1992).
Quality is determined by how well a service is delivered, and this is done through quality reviews. A quality review is a method used that checks the service to ensure that it complies with quality requirements. Quality reviews can be done in a wide range of ways. Quality reviews should check whether a service works and if it does as it is stated, as well as if the service conforms to standards.
As a frontline manager, many different methods can be used in order to measure and review quality within their organisation. One of the ways in which the views of the service can be obtained is through the use of questionnaires. One to one interviews can also be set up and of value, so that people's individual experiences of the service can be discussed. These methods could be used with service users, other professionals and the wider community.Supervisions and appraisals with staff members can also be beneficial in looking at the services performance. Setting up focus groups and specific meetings can also help to evaluate the quality of a service. In situations such as these, many many people can give opinions and discuss their views of the service which is delivered. The above mentioned methods can all be done internally.
As well as internal ways of review,there are also external methods which can be implemented in order for a services quality to be evaluated. This can be in the form of inspections and audits from outside agencies,such...
References: Coulshed, V. and Mullender, A. (2001) Management in Social Work (2nd edn), Buckingham, Palgrave.
Department of Health (2000b) A Quality Strategy for Social Care, London, Department of Health.
Donabedian, A. (1980) Explorations in Quality: Assessment and Monitoring, Volume I. The Definition of Quality and Approaches to Its Assessment, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan.
Ledger, S. (2000) Quality Network 2000 in Kensington and Chelsea, Unpublished report, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Open University (2003) K303 Managing Care, Chapter 7 'Quality Matters ', Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Pattison, S. (1997) The Faith of the Managers: When Management Becomes Religion, London, Cassell.
Warr, B. and Kelly, D. (1992) 'What is meant by quality in Social Care? ' in Kelly, D. and Warr, B. (eds) Quality Counts: Achieving quality in social care services, London, Whiting and Birch Ltd/SCA Copublication.
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