What Role Do Healthcare Workers Play in Determining Quality Care?

by Angela Stevens on June 10, 2009

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The dedicated healthcare worker is possibly the most vital element in the recovery or stability of a patient’s health. A physician may make assessments and diagnosis, but the nurse, physician’s assistant, or other healthcare worker is the one who is able to closely monitor and observe treatments given, as well as note the patient’s response to changes in medicines, therapy routines, and dietary restrictions.

Definition of Quality Care

The Roper, Logan and Tierney’s 12 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) was established in the 1970s as an overall guide to a patient’s daily life. The list includes the activities that are a normal part of daily life. This report can be used to enable healthcare workers to assess the components involved in quality care. The 12 ADLs include the following:

  • Maintaining a safe environment
  • Communication; verbal or otherwise
  • Breathing
  • Eating and drinking
  • Elimination of bodily waste
  • Personal hygiene and dressing
  • Controlling body temperature to levels of comfort
  • Mobilizing
  • Working and playing
  • Expressing sexuality
  • Sleeping
  • Dying

A healthcare worker’s duty is to allow a patient to live, whether in a hospital, home healthcare, or nursing home environment, while assisting in any of the areas needed.  Ideally, the healthcare provider will allow the patient to do as much for themselves as possible and make notes of any progress or improvements in the patient’s condition. Some of my former patients in a mental health setting had treatment goals related to gaining more independence with their ADLs.

Physical Therapy photo by basykes via Creative Commons

Healthcare workers, because of the daily and ongoing relationships with their patients, are often the first to recognize unusual discomfort, irritability, lack of appetite, difficulty with elimination or breathing problems. Quality care involves active participation in the well being of the patient. Reporting unusual behavior or difficulties in certain areas can be critical in the overall quality of care and ongoing assessment of the patient’s condition.

Another area that is often caught by the healthcare provider is a medical error. Medical errors are one of the primary causes of injury and death to patients. Reports conducted by the Institute of Medicine conclude that over 50,000 people die in hospitals and healthcare institutions every year as a direct result of a medical error.

Nurses and other healthcare workers who are willing to go the extra mile for the well being of their patients often catch these mistakes. For instance, if a high salt meal is sent up to the room of a patient on a strict, salt-free diet, the healthcare worker who has familiarized himself or herself with the patient and their chart will easily notice this error.

nurse photo by goodcatmum via creative commonsOf course, this is just one example. There are numerous ways to assess the patient and provide quality healthcare. Generally speaking, it is nurses and other healthcare workers who have the genuine passion to serve in the medical field that are able to achieve this high level of care. Those who view their positions as “just a job” or a way to earn a living may find themselves unable to give the level of care that other healthcare providers do.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda 10.12.09 at 8:40 pm

I found this web site trying to look for an answer for this question ” Measuring the quality of care is essential to being able to identify which areas of patient care need improvement. A positive patient outcome is one measure of quality. What role do health care workers play in determining quality care?” and, I think that I found it through what you have written. Thank you for the help. I understood the whole meaning of quality care when reading this article.

Thank you amanda

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alexandra 06.19.10 at 5:04 pm

I was doing research for this subject for my school work, and I want to thank you for so much information, and well written too.

Thank you
Alexandra 🙂

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Gerardo Perez 07.02.10 at 11:02 pm

thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us like these girls Alexandra and Amanda I was also doing research for a school assignment and this article really helped me thanks again.

Gerardo Perez

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Tina 07.25.10 at 8:45 pm

I found this website while I was searching for a subject for online course that I am taking, and I thought that this was very helpful thank you.

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Becca 07.03.11 at 9:14 pm

i used this website when i was helping my ma with homework and it helped me explaine it to her now that i know what the question was actually stating. sometimes the healthcare thing is lost on me because im only 16…

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