Do Quality and Safe Care Champions in community nursing teams positively impact on patients?
Quality Always’ Clinical Assessment and Accreditation Scheme (CAAS), which consists of a process of assessments, reviews and accreditation in community healthcare services, was established in 2014 to drive improvements in the quality of patient care. The authors set out to understand whether the methodologies put in place to establish quality patient care were effective within the community nursing setting.
To understand whether a quality and safe care champions network would support frontline community staff to embed evidence-based practice and affect the quality of care received by patients in the community setting.
A study was undertaken on data from the CAAS, as well as patient safety and experience data, to identify whether there was any correlation between quality and safe care champions and the quality of patient care.
The authors identified data and practical examples to demonstrate a correlation between the engagement of champions in a community nursing team and improvement in quality standards for patients, including the most effective methods of engaging the community nursing quality and safe care champions.
The authors conducted a benefits realisation exercise using elements of the East London NHS Foundation Trust's framework. This provided useful information for the community trust as a proof of concept regarding supporting a network of Quality and safe care champions in the community setting and understanding their impact on safe patient care.
From 2015 onwards, a process to gain evidence-based assurance, known as the Quality Always (QA) Clinical Assessment and Accreditation Scheme (CAAS), was implemented in Derbyshire Community Health Care Services (DCHS) NHS Foundation Trust (Coope, 2018). CAAS was designed following learning from an acute trust nursing assessment and accreditation model called ‘safe clean and personal every time’ (Morris, 2012) and the NHS Change model (NHS England, 2018). Understanding the nature, context and complexity in delivering community nursing services (St John and Keleher, 2007) was a vital component in adapting the CAAS to be valued and respected as valid within a community trust.
One of the key and unique elements of the adapted process was the development and implementation of quality and safe care champions (QSCCs). These champions would be members of staff from patient-facing clinical teams in a variety of roles and backgrounds, from healthcare assistants, nurses, allied health professionals to medical professionals and, in some cases, non-medical staff who enable patient care. Champions are nominated in agreement with their clinical line managers for their interest or passion in a specific aspect of patient care. They are usually frontline staff working to advocate, embed and uphold best practice in their day-to-day interactions with patients and co-workers, as identified through the 15 QA standards in CAAS.
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