Opinion

Why outcome-based care matters

We all know that quality counts when it comes to care – and that for one is why outcome-based care matters. In this article we’re going to talk about what an outcome is, why it’s important, the Recovery Star method and finally, what to do with the information gathered.

By Paul Patarou, Divisional Manager, Health & Social Care Division, Access Group

An outcome is the result and progress of care delivery. It’s about the real improvements clients see in their quality of life. This calls for a team-based approach to care that uses the most current evidence to support decision-making about individual circumstances. It also means providing person-centred care with the involvement of the service user and diligently managing the whole process to ensure progress is being made every step of the way.

This outcome-based approach is important for a number of reasons but mainly because the person receiving care is happier and their wellbeing is being placed centre stage. Being able to view care delivery in real time means that those looking after the service user, along with family and the client themselves can see the progress that is being made.

Alongside this is the documentation of the outcome at the different stages, meaning everything is there in writing and information can be fed into the care plans for individuals so it’s always up-to-date.

For management it means they can more easily identify strengths and weaknesses when taking on new clients. Knowing where to invest as a business and taking control of issues before they arise can ensure that everything is being handled in the most effective manner.

Whilst it creates a foundation for future growth, it also leaves the core of the business to do what it does best. Working as one team, service users and their families can make more informed care decisions together. Then plans for each service user can be developed based on their specific needs with their input setting goals and reviewing treatment outcomes.

One method which has seen much success in the industry is the Recovery Star method. A 10-point questionnaire is provided to both the care giver and also the service user. Then an analysis is done to match and gap on feedback.

There are three important steps in outcome-based care:

  1. Goal: what the service user wants to do, for example, walk to the shops
  2. Observation: what happened, for example, the service user walked but only made it halfway
  3. Intervention: maybe the nurse or carer has to assist from halfway and get a wheelchair

Documenting and monitoring outcomes is important as you can identify changes in care. If a carer sees a service user week-on-week and there is no improvement or if the feedback from the service user and their family is negative then the provider may want to reallocate the shift to a different carer or identify a gap in training skills.

Of course, once you’ve gone through all this process, the question then becomes what do you do with the outcome information? Here there are five key areas:

 

  • Plan and implement improvements based on the evidence provided, remembering to note the actions being taken and the outcome expected.
  • Use the feedback – both positive and negative – to communicate with the carer and to help them to improve and develop their skillset (which can also form part of their training plan)
  • The analysis, outcomes, results can then all be fed back to the regulatory boards
  • Provide regular updates to the family about the progress of loved ones
  • Respond to trends and industry issues: health and social care is an ever-changing environment, so having access to information – historical and current – helps provider’s to stay agile and continue to grow

The value of outcome orientated care is immense. It provides the toolset to help create a better future for care users and moves us closer to the people-centred care that we so often talk about. It’s a catalyst for change from improving confidence and the feeling of security to better health and social connectedness. It’s about the individual as a whole – and that’s what counts when it comes to more personalised care.

 

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