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Quality Improvement

Quality improvement is the ongoing process of a service self-reflecting and developing systems and service delivery.

How quality can be improved

With a focus on outcomes, processes and people-based improvement, the objective is to improve the quality of care for clients. Improvements can be made by:

  • Systematically reviewing current practice
  • Devising strategies to improve the services provided
  • Implementing strategies through organisational change
  • Monitoring and evaluating strategies to assess the impact they have had on service provision and client outcomes.

Quality improvement also refers to formal programs that services can become members of via an external provider. These external providers offer a range of quality improvement products, some of which have the goal of gaining accreditation. All quality improvement programs have standards which services can measure and improve themselves against. These standards generally focus on functions such as service delivery, human resources, work health and safety, governance and management, and information management.

All these functions will contain elements where improving practice and service delivery in working with people with complex needs can be undertaken. For example, elements and criteria in the human resources function that relate to professional development may prompt your service to implement complex needs training for all staff. Or elements and criteria in the service delivery function that relate to coordinated care may require your service to develop formal partnerships with other service providers so that people's needs are better responded to.

The NADA Policy Toolkit contains template policies, procedures and checklists to guide many aspects of service delivery.

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Policies and procedures

Policies provide governing principles or frameworks that guide what is to be achieved across a particular function or subject (e.g. human resources or client diversity) and align with relevant state and federal legislation such as antidiscrimination legislation applicable to both human resources and client access policies. Procedures detail how a policy is to be achieved, and generally include process steps and responsibilities.

Policies and procedures that relate to how services are provided for clients may need to be reviewed and adapted to improve how your service responds to people with complex needs. Areas for consideration include service/program access criteria, referral processes, and how programs can be modified to be more inclusive and appropriate for this group.

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Find out more

The NADA Policy Toolkit contains template policies, procedures and checklists to guide many aspects of service delivery. These templates can form a base on which your service can develop or modify its own policies:

Further support for quality improvement can be found in the NADA Quality Improvement Resource Tool. ACHS EQuIP5 Quality Improvement Resource Tool for Non Government Drug and Alcohol Organisations (NADA 2013i)

All NADA publications can be accessed at www.nada.org.au/resources.

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