HIQA publishes open access database on statutory notifications received from social care services in Ireland

HIQA publishes open access database on statutory notifications received from social care services in Ireland

HIQA publishes open access database on statutory notifications received from social care services in Ireland

Date of publication:

Friday, 26 February, 2021

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an open access database of statutory notifications. This database has been made publicly available to researchers and other interested parties for analysis, as part of its LENS Project to learn from notifications in social care.

In 2020, HIQA was awarded €250,000 under the Health Research Board’s Secondary Data Analysis Projects to carry out a comprehensive overview of statutory notification data it receives from social care services in Ireland. Statutory notifications describe significant events and incidents that occur in a designated centre, such as in a nursing home or a residential centre for people with disabilities, and are reportable to HIQA as the State regulator.

The Irish National Database of Statutory Notifications from Social Care has been published in line with the EU Open Data Directive. It includes details on over 120,000 notifications received from 2013 to 2019, allowing these statutory notifications to be examined at a national level for the first time.

HIQA CEO Phelim Quinn said: “The submission of notifications from social care services is very important as it helps us to identify specific areas of risk where an inspection or quality improvement is needed. The number of notifications we receive has increased year-on-year since regulation began. While bed numbers in services have also increased over this period, the rise in notifications may also suggest better reporting practices among services.

“This database will provide a great opportunity for further research to be carried out and to conduct a more in-depth secondary analysis. It can be used to inform policy, improve delivery of services and for further research purposes. It will facilitate a range of descriptive data analyses, which will help to inform quality improvement practices for both HIQA and service providers in the future.”

HIQA has conducted an initial analysis of current practice by services, identifying a number of areas of excellent practice for example, involving a family in decisions and making changes to a resident’s care plan after an incident such as a fall. These examples will be compiled into good practice guides and shared with services to support improvement in practice across Ireland.

Phelim Quinn continued: “Our next step in the LENS Project is to develop a standardised language and terminology for use when submitting notifications. This will result in overall better communication between HIQA and service providers, and facilitate an easier analysis of the free text element of notifications in future.”

The project will run until 2023. The database will be updated on an annual basis at the start of April each year, and the next update will contain all of the notifications received in 2020.

Further information: Marty Whelan, Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
085 805 5202, mwhelan@hiqa.ie

Notes to Editor:

  • Data on 2020 notifications, including on suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases, will be released in April 2021.
  • This work is funded by the Health Research Board [SDAP-2019-005: PI Dr L O’Connor] and co-funded by HIQA. Dr Laura O’Connor is the principal investigator.
  • Statutory notifications may include notifications of: ’Unexpected death of a resident’, ‘Any occasion where restraint was used’, or ‘Any fire, loss of power, heating, water or unplanned evacuation’. It is a regulatory requirement for registered providers or persons in charge of these centres to submit these notifications within three days of occurrence. The information in notifications helps inform HIQA’s regulatory actions, and supports our inspectors in identifying areas or centres of concern for targeted quality improvement initiatives.
  • Some adverse events notified to HIQA are unavoidable, for example the death of an elderly person in a nursing home from natural causes or an unexplained absence of a resident as a result of facilitating positive risk taking with that resident.
  • The development of the database has led to a number of recommendations relating to improving how we collect, store and organise the data in statutory notification. This will inform future data collection and support the open access database in the coming years.
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