Quality in care

Quality in care is about health care services working in partnership with patients/clients, the public and other services to achieve excellence. That may seem simple to say and understand, but it’s more difficult to achieve in practice.

Many ways of assessing, monitoring and assuring quality have been introduced to health services across the UK in recent years, including the SSKIN Bundle tool to assess patients’ risk of developing pressure sores (see assessing patients skin) in England and the Clinical Quality Indicators (which assess patients’ risks in relation to food, fluid and nutrition, falls and pressure sores) in Scotland, and all four home countries have quality measures in place, including:

Quality, as the saying goes, is often difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. It is reflected in everything we do, think and say in health care – the principles that underpin our practice, how we account for the work delegated to us, the way we work with and value the contributions of others in the team, how we plan and carry out care and the protocols and procedures we follow. (Leading change. Adding Value framework, CNO England 2016)

In this section, we are going to look at quality in relation to Accountability and delegation, Teamwork and Care plans and protocols, but first, we’re going to focus on a key tool in promoting quality in nursing and health care – the RCN’s Principles of Nursing Practice.