Audit is a crucial tool for evaluating how well any organisation is doing; it specifically asks if we are meeting an expected standard. If the standard is met we can be assured that, as a team, good practice is being maintained, if not met, recommendations from the audit need to be implemented through an agreed action plan. Whatever the outcome of any audit it is vital to demonstrate reflective practice and continued commitment to, or improvement in, those standards which underpin the overall delivery of services.
At our hospice, audit was important, but it had always been the ‘domain’ of the clinicians. Moreover, we were struggling to engage busy clinicians in driving forward our refreshed, comprehensive audit programme and its associated process. We therefore needed to think differently.
Working on our hospice-wide quality agenda through shared learning sessions, it became clear that non-clinical colleagues were eager to help especially as everyone recognised the central value of audit and could see how becoming involved would build their understanding of key clinical areas. Managers from all our other departments (fundraising, trading, support etc) were invited to volunteer to improve their understanding of some of the challenges of patient care by supporting clinicians with audit completion. To demystify the work we ran education sessions to introduce the importance of audit and it was a boon that our non-clinical managers were quickly inspired by the sessions and readily seized the opportunity to work together in a closely collaborative initiative with clinical colleagues.
Key audits were allocated and a clinical lead agreed. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and participants reported enjoying working to drive meaningful improvement, learning new things and building greater team cohesion. Thanks to this initiative our audit plan was fully successful and is now an embedded, shared practice.
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