Quality statement 3: Continuity of care and support

Quality statement

People using adult social care services have continuity of care and support.

Rationale

If care workers know the person, their preferences, and their care and support needs, it helps to ensure continuity of care. Having continuity of care and support has a considerable impact on a person's wellbeing and quality of life, as it can lead to them forming positive relationships with their care workers. All of this will help the person achieve the outcomes they identified as important to them in the care and support needs assessment. This can include taking part in activities or being able to reduce or stop using adult social care services if their condition means they do not need care and support on a long-term basis.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that services are available to provide continuity of care and support for people using adult social care services.

Data source: Local data collection, for example service specifications and plans for service provision.

b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure a consistent team of care workers for people using adult social care services.

Data source: Local data collection, for example local care protocols on the organisation of care workers providing care and support.

Process

Total number of care workers providing care to a person using adult social care services.

Data source: Local data collection, for example audits of care records, including names of care workers.

Outcome

a) Satisfaction of people using adult social care services with the continuity of their care and support.

Data source: Local data collection such as surveys on the experience of people using adult social care services.

b) Quality of life of people using adult social care services.

Data source: The Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool for adults in receipt of social care support includes a question on the impact of people's support on their quality of life and local data collection such as surveys on the experience of people using adult social care services.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers (such as independent home care agencies, residential care services and voluntary sector organisations) ensure that people using adult social care services experience care and support from a consistent team of social care workers who are familiar with their needs. People using these services should always be told in advance if new staff will be providing their care. The types of service being provided should be consistent and not withdrawn without reasonable notice and alternative arrangements being made.

Social care practitioners (such as home care workers and personal assistants) ensure that they get to know the preferences of the people they care for, including asking them how they like to receive their care and providing it in line with this. They ensure they make detailed notes when they provide care and support so that other members of the team can care for the person in a similar way.

Commissioners (local authorities) commission services that ensure that people using adult social care services experience continuity in their care and support, including seeing a consistent team of care workers who are familiar with their needs. They also ensure that the types of service being provided are consistent and not withdrawn without reasonable notice and alternative arrangements being made.

People using adult social care services have the same team of care workers who are familiar with their needs and preferences. People are told in advance if new staff will be involved in their care and support. The staff caring for them record details of the person's preferences and the care they have had so that other members of the team can make sure they care for them in a similar way.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Continuity of care and support

This includes ensuring that:

  • all practitioners involved with the person's care and support are familiar with how that person likes support to be given

  • where possible, the same people support the person

  • if the same staff are not available, there are good handover arrangements

  • all staff supporting the person have similar levels of skills and competency.

[Adapted from NICE's guideline on people's experience in adult social care services, recommendation 1.4.7]

Equality and diversity considerations

People using adult social care services may have several needs, for example help with communication. The staff they are in contact with should be aware of this and know how the person prefers to be cared for.

For people with additional needs related to a disability, impairment or sensory loss, information should be provided as set out in NHS England's Accessible Information Standard.

People aged 18–24 who are in transition between children's and adult services may still be cared for under children's services. During this transition period it is important that services provide care that is continuous and consistent.

People in the travelling community may not be resident in an area for a long period of time, therefore practitioners should ensure that transition and handover arrangements are put in place when they move to another area.