ABSTRACTThe conclusion of this essay will examine methods with which quality can be reviewed in Health and Social Care agencies. It will seek to narrow down definitions of quality and its different perceptions in the field; and link it to principles of care. Subsequently, it will analyse these methods with a view to identifying the problems that these can present, and the opportunities to progress towards ‘best practice’. It will begin by defining what quality is to the various stakeholders, and then move on to explore the review process of quality; examining the pros and cons of these; while taking into account the points of view of various stakeholders that is, external agencies, local authorities, service providers and the end user as well.
AN ANALYSIS OF DIFFERENT CONCEPTS OF QUALITY IN RELATION TO HEALTH AND SOCIAL CAREQuality is a very relative term and there are many individual definitions to the term, depending on the outlook and attitude of the respondent. There are common denominators though, as to what constitutes quality care for different groups. As a concept in health and social care, it originated in the 1980’s when the Conservative party was in power.
The government’s main agenda at the time was to revolutionise the way that public services, health and social services were structured, managed and delivered. Although it is a theme featured and highly regarded in Health and social care agencies, it remains an elusive concept to define. The word quality however, implies a degree of excellence or worth. The department of health produced a document; ‘A Quality Strategy for Social Care’ (DOH, 2000b) that while it does not quite define quality it does provide guidelines on what consists of quality service vis a vis the process of transforming and improving service so that they are both accessible and consistent; and delivered by a competent service providers that cater adequately to the end users’ needs.
This quality can be a challenge to measure though. The Servqual-Zeithmal, Parasuraman and Berry method (Fedoroff, 2010) is used to perform a gap analysis of an organisation’s service quality performance against customer service quality needs. The perceptions of service quality for the organization in question are compared to those of an organisation that is ‘excellent’.
The difference between the two is then used as the driver for service improvement. Parameters of measurement are; Tangibles – these consist of the physical facilities i. e. chairs, tables, computers etc; equipment which may be any machines or gadgets necessary for testing, staff and communication equipment. This also includes the facilities available and whether or not they are up to date. Whether or not these facilities cater well to the clients’ needs. For example a hospital waiting room should have adequate and comfortable seating for their clientele. Reliability- ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
For example in the case of Nigel Wilson; a 79 year old resident of Cally Hill Residential Home suffering from dementia – the care workers at the home are duty bound to ensure that his rights are taken care of. These rights include control over his own life, choice and independence as far as he is able. He also has a right to his dignity and privacy so he does not feel sick, vulnerable or frightened.
Responsiveness- willingness to help customers and provide prompt service. Assurance – this is the self-confidence displayed by employees gleaned from their knowledge of their craft and general courtesy and ability to instil trust and confidence in the clientele. Empathy – The ability to understand and relate to another’s feelings is important for the firm to provide care and personalised attention to its customers. A radio program surveyed its listeners on how they knew that someone loved them. The general response was that they knew they were loved when they felt heard.
This was reported by a client.