Using lessons learned from statutory notifications to improve quality and safety in social care settings

In Ireland, providers of designated centres for older people and people with disabilities are required to inform the Chief Inspector of Social Services in the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) about certain events that occur. For example: serious injuries to residents and allegations of abuse. These are known as statutory notifications.

Approximately 15,000 statutory notifications are received every year. This information is reviewed and rated according to the level of risk posed to residents. This rating informs the overall risk assigned to a centre and subsequent regulatory activity. Currently, no further analysis is undertaken. However, the information in statutory notifications could help us identify and reduce the occurrence of avoidable harm. Closer analysis would inform how to better deal with adverse events, how to reduce the associated administrative burden, and how to prioritise the most serious notifications.

We propose to analyse notifications to identify priority areas for quality and safety improvement. We will examine how providers respond to events and use this to share good practice across services. We will agree what language should be used when describing events in order to standardise reporting and make analyses easier. Knowing if certain notifications lead to large changes in a centre's assigned risk will help prioritise review of those notifications and inform reporting requirements in legislation. We will also share an anonymised, desensitised version of the data publically to further support quality improvement research.

Working with HIQA and the Chief Inspector, we believe this work will be instrumental in reducing administrative burden, prioritising review of the most serious events and informing inspectors and service providers in their practice when dealing with adverse events. It will also inform existing and emerging regulations and ultimately lead to improvements in the quality and safety of the care received by residents in designated centres.

Award Date
06 October 2019
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Lura O'Connor
Host Institution
Health Information and Quality Authority
Secondary Data Analysis Projects