The Marie Curie Quality Account – measuring the impact and quality of our patient safety

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Every year, the impact and quality of Marie Curie services are closely examined in an important statutory report that is available on our website.


The Annual Marie Curie Quality Account outlines how we continually work to improve our services. The report sets out our progress on the targets we set ourselves in 2013/14 and what we hope to achieve in 2014/15 with our new strategic plan. A key element is a summary of our performance in the most important aspects of care: patient experience, patient safety and clinical effectiveness. This blog post explores our progression over the past year in regard to patient safety. You can also read our recent post exploring our work on patient experience and keep an eye out for a third covering clinical effectiveness. See the full Quality Account for more details.


Patient safety


Last year one of our main objectives was to increase efforts in monitoring patient safety incidents, identify any trends and act upon our findings to help minimise the potential for patient harm. Over the past 12 months we planned and implemented a number of specific pieces of work following a series of audits focussing on reducing harmful incidents in three areas; medicine management, falls and pressure ulcers. The aim of these audits was to highlight areas where we could act to reduce incidents and improve our patient safety.


Medicine management


We need to always be sure that our patients get the right type and levels of medication so that they’re as safe and comfortable as possible. Therefore, auditing and analysing how we manage medication is a key part of making sure we deliver safe care. In May 2013 we carried out a baseline audit of the Medicines management policy for our hospices and an external expert review of this policy will take place in the first quarter of 2014/15. We will then undertake a second audit to check for progress in areas identified for improvement and we hope this will provide a benchmark of practice against the standards we have set ourselves based on best practice.


Falls


We care for people with a range of serious illnesses and many of our patients can feel unbalanced or weak, which places them at risk of falling. Therefore, over the past 12 months we have undertaken work to identify ways to reduce the possibility of people falling and potentially hurting themselves. In the past 12 months we have carried out two falls audits, aiming to establish current practice and areas for improvement. The results of these audits have paved the way for additional work by a physiotherapist-led working group which will review our policy, documentation, patient information leaflets and environmental issues.


Pressure ulcers


Many of the people we care for can spend prolonged periods of their day in bed and are therefore susceptible to developing pressure ulcers, a type of injury that breaks down the skin when an area is put under constant pressure. In the past 12 months we have agreed a pressure ulcer management policy and carried out an audit to establish current practice and highlight any required development of the policy. We’re also aiming to improve how we record and report to help identify when pressure ulcers are acquired in the hospice, and will be monitoring how we grade the severity of pressure ulcers for our hospice patients.


Your feedback


Marie Curie is committed to providing high-quality care centred around the needs of people with a terminal illness. Our Quality Account is just one way in which we demonstrate this commitment to the people we care for and to our regulators. We welcome any comments on it and any suggestions for future Quality Account reports. Please email us at: quality.assurance@mariecurie.org.uk We also welcome feedback about our care.