Tools to help you plan and
support self care
Plan, do, study, act (PDSA) model for improvement
Why you should use this
To develop, test and implement changes that lead to improvement.
When to use this
When your team needs to set clear and focused goals in relation to promoting and supporting self care.
What to do
The model for improvement is represented in Figure T6.1.
The aims statement should:
- be consistent with national and local targets, plans and frameworks (such as the
QOF or NSFs)
- be bold in its aspirations
- have clear numerical targets.
There are four stages to a PDSA cycle:
- plan: plan the change to be tested or implemented
- do: carry out the test or change
- study: study data before and after the change and reflect on what was learnt
- act: plan the next change cycle or plan implementation.
How it works (insight)
A PDSA cycle involves testing improvement ideas on a small scale before introducing the change. By building on the learning from the test cycles in a structured and incremental way, a new idea can be implemented with greater chance of success. Barriers to change are often reduced when different people are involved in trying something out on a small scale before implementation.
Whom to engage
Use this exercise for small mixed groups of people. For example an inter-professional group might consider the roles, responsibilities or experiences of the different professions involved in promoting and supporting self care; a practice team might tackle motivating people to adopt self care or creating resources for team members who are supporting self care.
How much time you should allow
Allow an hour for discussion and planning. Re-convene the working group at two more stages in the PDSA process, allowing at least an hour at each meeting.
What a facilitator should do
Explain the time and effort commitment to everyone at the initial meeting. Arrange two more meeting dates to follow the planning session that everyone can make – to study the data after the piloted change and review how you will act; then at a later date to review the change you’ve made and determine how successful it is and what else needs doing.
What to do next
Collect baseline data. Formulate a detailed action plan at a planning session so everyone knows how to play their part in the do stage. Link with key players throughout, communicating progress to all involved.
What makes it work better
- Commitment from senior people in the PCT or practice.
- Protected time for those involved to do the plan, study the progress and take further action.
What can go wrong
- Big ideas without the resources to take the planned change forward.
- A‘project’ mentality so that the change does not settle into being part of everyone’s core work.
An improvement cycle report template is shown in Table T6.1.
Table T6.1: Improvement cycle report template (as derived from Lambeth, Southwark and