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    Continuous improvement

    Providers must have a written plan for continuous improvement that explains how the provider will meet its obligations in relation to the service and the standards.

    Continuous improvement resources:

    Continuous improvement is a systematic, ongoing effort to improve the quality of care and services and:

    • takes into account the needs of your care recipients and may involve them in improvement activities,
    • is part of an overall quality system to assess how well your systems are working and the standard of care and services achieved, and
    • is a results-focused activity demonstrated through outputs and outcomes.

    To be effective, continuous improvement must be a central focus of your organisation, is understood at all levels and accepted by all management and staff.

    Key elements of continuous improvement:

    • care recipient-focused
    • innovation
    • achievement of improvement through planned steps
    • driven by involvement and accountability of key stakeholders:

    -       care recipients, representatives, service users, carers and others
    -       staff and volunteers
    -       committee and board members
    -       advocates

    • involves regular monitoring and evaluation of progress; linking evaluation to strategic planning.

    Benefits of continuous improvement:

    • improve care and services to care recipients,
      • improve stakeholder input and ownership,
      • identify changes in care and service needs,
      • enhance systems to monitor and track change,
      • demonstrate sustainable results.

    Continuous improvement cycle:

    The model shown below is the four phase, Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (Click on image to enlarge)

     Click to enlarge  Take action to standardise the process   What changes can be made to result in irmprovement?   Implement the plan, taking small controlled steps   Evaluate results

    Plan the improvement

    Analyse the current situation of your organisation, gather information and research different ways to make improvements. Seek input and feedback from stakeholders. Establish goals and identify actions to implement the plan.

    Implement the improvement

     

    • Test the suggested alternatives to identify the preferred improvement.
    • Allocate resources to ensure the improvement is a success.
    • Keep your stakeholders informed and involve those with a direct benefit from the outcome.
    • Document the decisions made during the implementation phase.

    Evaluate the improvement activity

     

    Evaluate if the improvement is delivering what you intended; are changes required or should an alternative improvement be used.

    Measure the improvements for example, audits, assessments and surveys. Document the evaluation methods and results. Take your time; incremental steps may deliver better results.

    Take action to standardise the process

    There are two possible situations in this step:

    • If the improvement isn’t successful, analyse what can be done differently next time and go through the cycle again with a different plan.
    • If successful, ensure all stakeholders are informed of the new process, all necessary staff are trained and educated, policies and procedures are implemented and change within the organisation is managed.

    Keep track of your improvements

    This will show progress of your improvement initiatives. You can review, plan and identify what worked and what didn’t work.

    Review and update your plan for continuous improvement today; keep it current to show what you want to achieve today, tomorrow and in the future.

    You can use a plan that is best for your organisation or you may use our sample template. Make sure the template you choose covers the key areas included in our template.

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