Continuing our series on Excellence in Care, this time we take a look at the topic of Information and Access.
I’d like you to consider the care service that you deliver as being made up of two elements: the care service itself, plus all the information that you provide to your service users. To illustrate what I mean, let’s look at an example not from the world of care but instead from the world of airline travel. What’s the deal when you buy an airline ticket? At its simplest, the deal is that you pay the fare in return for the travel. But what makes a particular flight stand out in your mind as good or bad will probably be how well the airline does at keeping you informed during the journey, making sure you are kept in the picture and you know what’s going on. What’s the commonest complaint about a service that’s gone wrong? Usually it’s something like “We didn’t know what was happening”.
Care is the same. Service users really value what they are told by your staff and others. This includes things like:
- what’s available, options, choices
- what’s coming up
- involvement and consultation
- plans and changes
One of the most frustrating parts of being a customer is not being kept informed about what is happening! Putting service users first often comes down to ensuring effective communications.
- Do your staff know the importance of good communication?
- Do you check that service users have received and understood the information you are providing?
- Have you considered the range, content and quality of verbal and written information to ensure it meets the needs of service users? Have you tested it?
- Can service users give you feedback on the quality of the information they receive?
- Do your service partners understand like you the importance of information as a vital part of the service?
Providing the right information in the right way can be an important step to good service delivery in care.