Quality of care
St Christopher’s sets out to provide the best possible care for people with life-limiting illnesses and those close to them, and all our staff and volunteers play a part in this
Our mission is to promote and provide skilled and compassionate palliative care of the highest quality working in and through our communities. We have a national and international reputation for providing care, delivering teaching and engaging in research.
We are committed to finding ways continuously of improving our services to patients and families and we have a robust clinical governance framework that enables us to do this.
We are regulated by the Care Quality Commission and comply with the regulations set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008. We carry out regular audits of our care and services to make sure that we are following best practice.
Each year we produce a Quality Account that identifies our priorities for quality improvement over the year to come, and reviews our quality performance over the previous 12 months. You can download our most recent Quality Account at the bottom of this page, and it can also be found on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk
One of the most important ways we can check how well we are doing is to ask the people on the receiving end of our care: our patients and their families.
Finding out about the experience of patients and their families
Feedback from patients and their families about their experiences of the care and services at St Christopher’s is very important to us because it can tell us what we are doing well and how we may be able to improve.
We get lots of spontaneous compliments and comments but we also set out to find out about people’s experiences in a more systematic way. We do this through regular ‘forum’ meetings with patients. We also use questionnaires:
The OACC (Outcome Assessment and Complexity Collaborative) project led by the Cicely Saunders Institute, seeks to implement outcome measures into palliative care to measure, demonstrate and improve care. The project has collated a suite of fit-for-purpose measures, including a measure (iPOS) that allows patients to list their main concerns and record whether these improve over time. Another measure, Views on Care, elicits patients’ own ratings of their quality of life, their view of the impact of the service on their main concern, and their overall wellbeing. In order to overcome the problem of response shift (the fact that patients are likely to recalibrate their assessment of symptoms or quality of life in the light of current experience, and therefore make it difficult to detect change over time), Views on Care also asks patient to recall how they felt at an earlier time and to make their own comparison with how they feel currently.
VOICES-SCH is a postal questionnaire based on a well-accepted tool for collecting information from bereaved family or friends in the months after the patient has died (Views of Informal Carers – Evaluation of Services). St Christopher’s collaborated with Prof Addington –Hall at Southampton University to adapt the questionnaire for use in hospices and it is now in routine use.