The World Health Organization defines policies as the actions, decisions and plans taken to achieve a particular healthcare goal within a society. This article will outline everything you need to know about the role of policies in health and social care and how you can develop health policy skills. Read on for more information.
Why are policies in health and social care so important?
Policies in health and social care are crucial as they aid in establishing regulations and rules that benefit healthcare providers, patients and the entire healthcare system.
Well-crafted policies can assist in avoiding human errors while making medical decisions. Besides, adhering to health and social care policies help medical professionals and healthcare administrators offer patients the best possible care. They also help healthcare providers leverage their expertise to shape future medical policies.
Established policies create an environment of high-quality healthcare. This is vital in mitigating risks and protecting healthcare facilities from costly litigations, liabilities and qui tam lawsuits.
Moreover, healthcare accreditation bodies such as the Joint Commission, AAAHC and NCQA usually examine healthcare facilities’ policies to ensure that they comply with specific healthcare standards. Therefore, having well-crafted policies makes the accreditation process quicker and easier.
How to develop health policy skills
To effectively implement health and social care policies, you need a solid educational background in your specialty. A perfect starting point is enrolling in an online ABSN program offered at UIndy.
The curriculum features a basic course called Legal, Ethical, and Health Policy Issues, which offers robust frameworks for influencing and analyzing healthcare policies at all levels.
What are the different kinds of policies in health and social care?
Below are the common health and social care policies.
- Workplace health and safety policies
Depending on your healthcare facility, you may require policies covering issues such as physical hazards around and in your facility, personal protective equipment (PPE), exposure to harmful substances, etc. These policies are essential in protecting the health of employees and non-employees.
Workplace health and safety policies also address concerns such as healthy eating and work stress. All these contribute to an effective and healthy workforce.
Moreover, workplace health and safety policies cover workplace drug testing.
- Patient care policies
These policies cover how your healthcare facility cares for patients. For instance, they should address the types of medical procedures performed by your facility, the types of illnesses that your facility treats, and when to refer or transfer patients to other healthcare facilities.
Moreover, patient care policies should explain how you handle specific healthcare situations, such as medical emergencies.
- Drug handling policies
These policies surround the handling and administration of medication, whether over the counter, non-controlled or controlled.
Therefore, you need to have clear policies explaining how you administer medication. The policies should also cover what to do if a medication was prescribed or administered wrongly, inventory was missing, or other errors related to drug handling occurred.
- Infectious disease policies
According to the CDC, healthcare providers are at a higher risk of contact with infectious agents and diseases. Therefore, implementing infectious disease policies will keep you informed and prepared on the best practices and regulations.
This keeps healthcare providers safe and prevents diseases from spreading.