Quality Assurance for Care Homes: What is it? Why do we need it?

Quality, they say, is the mark of getting something right each and every time – the first time around. And, it is also fair to say, most of us involved in care will agree that using a residential care home service can be a daunting ‘first time’ experience for anyone. Hence the importance of Quality Assurance within any care service.

But what actually is Quality Assurance?

Well, to put it simply, Quality Assurance is the portfolio of shortcomings and successes for running a care service over a given period of time.

For example, in terms of residential care, these successes can be marked out by the Care Quality Commission’s essential standards regulations. Therefore a way of delivering a Quality Assurance portfolio would be to address each standard regulation and exhibit the care service’s capability of regulating and meeting that standard. This could be done Outcome by Outcome or, instead, in service areas such as Environment, Risk Management, Infection Control etc.

Many care homes choose to provide their Quality Assurance portfolio in these terms, and it certainly is an effective way of regulating the quality procedures of a service and delivering a quality guarantee.

But what is a quality guarantee, I hear you ask? Some services choose to deliver a guarantee with their service, such as: Our aim is to deliver a safe, personalised service designed to help promote independence and continued quality of life. Such a guarantee expresses the goals of the service as a whole; then, what follows, will be to explore and exhibit how this guarantee is currently being delivered and how the service will seek any improvements. And this, in a nutshell, is the purpose of a Quality Assurance portfolio.

Why do we need Quality Assurance?

The basic principle of a Quality Assurance portfolio is that it allows those interested to see in plain black and white, in facts and figures, in qualitative and quantitative, the core aspects to that service. By exhibiting both the successes as well as the shortcomings of the care service, the onlooker is being shown how the service is currently being managed and maintained, and how it will seek improvements for the areas it has highlighted in the oncoming future.

In layman’s terms, what a good Quality Assurance portfolio gives us is honesty. We are able ‘to see with our own eyes’ the functionability of the service. And this, whether you are a care service inspector or a caring son and daughter, will provide the added security of knowing that your service is from a care you can trust.

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