Quality of care: an overview
Are you providing good quality of care?
Whether you’re a psychotherapist, an osteopath, a hypnotherapist or any other type of practitioner, you have a responsibility to provide good quality of care.
Quality of care covers a whole array of issues, from professional competence to good therapy outcomes, from data protection to dealing with complaints.
Your professional body may require you to make a commitment to providing good quality of care before you can become a member, and you may have to demonstrate that you have good policies in place.
We’ve had a look at the ethical framework on the BACP website for psychotherapists and counsellors, and examined their information on quality of care. We’ve distilled the key points, relevant for private practitioners, below, but strongly recommend that you read the full details here.
Quality of care for private practitioners: the basics
1. Make sure that you provide appropriate services for your clients’ needs. You should never provide services for which you are not fully trained.
2. Always keep accurate and clear records of your work with clients.
3. Commit to your continuing professional development (CPD) to keep your experience and skills up to date, and in accordance with the requirements of your professional body.
4. Seek regular supervision or support for your work from an appropriate professional such as a colleague or mentor.
5. Make sure that you understand the legal requirements concerning your work and your private practice. You should also hold adequate insurance.
6. Always treat your clients with respect and make sure that you have explicit consent for the provision of your services. You should make sure that your relationship with clients is never affected by your personal views or opinions.
7. Provide clear information about your services, qualifications and accreditation to the client at all times, before, during and after treatment. This should include your terms and conditions, therapy contract, and information about your fees.
8. Pay particular attention to client confidentiality, as well as the Data Protection Act and GDPR. You should always protect client information from unauthorised disclosure.
9. Respond promptly and professionally to client complaints.
10. Avoid conflicts of interest where possible. If they do arise, the protection of your clients’ interests should be paramount.
Good practice - the essentials
As well as all of the above points, an important way to ensure that you are providing good quality of care is by carefully monitoring the treatment of each client through outcome measures and the performance of your private practice through satisfaction surveys.
There are many ways of assessing outcome. Your profession probably has some measures that are in use. Using outcome measures can help to identify any difficulties in your practice, provide useful feedback to your clients, and can provide you with data for your marketing. Outcome measures should only be used with full consent from your client and the data held in compliance with the Data Protection Act.
A customer satisfaction survey is a great way to get feedback, not just about the client’s treatment, but also about your therapy business. Find out more in our article about satisfaction surveys.