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Why is Documentation in Domiciliary Care Services so important?

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I have no doubt that most registered managers recognise the importance of policies and procedures in their care service. But I often wonder if they recognise how important they are to the effectiveness and quality of their service. As a former principal inspector and now management consultant I was often surprised when visiting some providers to find that although they had policies and procedures in place, they could often be seen on bookshelves, only to be occasionally used when a problem arose or an announced inspection was due.

The position has changed somewhat today with the onset of online systems (such as the Bettal Quality Consultancy mycared4 EQMS) and the benefits of technology. However, given the pressures on managers and staff, it is debatable as to whether or not they are getting the best from their quality management system that contains the services policies and procedures and other documentation. In the course of this short blog I will attempt to identify the importance of a quality management system to your domiciliary care service and how you can make better use of your policies and procedures.

Implementation of policies and procedures

It is important to recognise, that in a domiciliary care service, policies and procedures are the means by which the service is designed to operate. It follows then that staff must be given access to policies and procedures and training to carry them out. It is particularly important in domiciliary care that staff have a clear understanding of what is required of them, because they often work alone without onsite observation or supervision. Equally, management must be confident that staff have been given the guidance and direction contained in their policies and procedures they need to carry out their role efficiently and effectively.

The relationship between domiciliary care policies and procedures and the quality of the service

The attainment of a quality service should form an integral part of the domiciliary care services policies and procedures. They should provide a blue print of:

• What needs to be done to attain quality? • How quality will be measured? • How policies and procedures are audited? • How to analyse and action the level of satisfaction feedback received from people who use the service?

Documentation and the Care Quality Commission

CQC who carry out and inspection of a domiciliary care service will always review documentation including policies, procedures and records. It is recognised as the key to finding out what is happening in the service alongside the views of people who use it. It is therefore of paramount importance that domiciliary care services have in place a reputable and rigorous quality management system that meets CQC Fundamental Standards and ensures a quality service.

Albert Cook Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute Managing Director Bettal Quality Consultancy

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