Working in conjunction with a wide range of stakeholders, we aim to improve the quality and safety of health and social care services by setting national standards and publishing guidance and tools. Standards promote practice that is up to date, evidence based, effective and consistent. Guidance and tools support people working in a health or social care service to implement the standards into practice.
We set national standards for health and social care services and develop guidance and tools to support services to implement the standards.
HIQA sets national standards for health and social care services to:
- provide a common language to describe what high quality, safe, person-centred care looks like
- create a basis for services to improve the quality and safety of the care they deliver by identifying strengths and highlighting areas for improvement
- assist people using services to understand what they should expect from a service
- promote practice that is up to date, effective and consistent.
The standards are underpinned by four key principles. These principles are: a rights-based approach, safety and wellbeing, responsiveness, and accountability, all working together to achieve person-centred care.
We also develop guidance to help staff working in health and social care services to implement national standards or as a guide to making improvements in a particular area.
We use a consistent evidence-based approach to develop all national standards. The detailed methodology of how we develop standards is outlined in this short course and also briefly described in the process diagrams at the bottom of the page.
HIQA uses a prioritisation process for the development of national standards for health and social care services.
This prioritisation process assists the identification of priority areas for potential national standards that best address the health and social care needs of the Irish population and which have the greatest impact in improving the outcomes of people using health and social care services.
Additional information on our methodology is available in the process documents and online learning resources below. These may be useful to people undertaking similar work and can be used freely with acknowledgement to ‘HIQA’.
National standards and resources to aid understanding and support implementation:
Standards for older people’s services
Standards for services for people with disabilities
Standards for children’s services
- National Standards for Children's Residential Centres
- National Standards for Special Care Units
- National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children
Standards for acute healthcare services
- National Standards for the Conduct of Reviews of Patient Safety Incidents
- National Standards for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in acute healthcare services
- National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services
Standards for community services
HIQA’s Learning Hub provides links to online learning courses, guides and videos for frontline staff, students and academics, as well as people using health and social care services.
We have developed a number of online learning courses to support staff working in health and social care services to implement national standards in practice. The courses are available through HSELanD, the Health Service Executive's online learning and development portal, in the course catalogue ‘Health and Social Care Professionals’. HSELanD is available to all those working in the health and social care sector, and to students in Irish universities and colleges.
Please note, if you require a certificate of completion you need to complete the courses on HSELanD. If you are not eligible to register on HSELanD, you can complete the courses at the links below, but it will not be possible to receive a certificate.
- National Standards for infection prevention and control in community services: Putting the standards into practice
- National Standards for Adult Safeguarding: Putting the Standards into practice
- Applying a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care: Putting national standards into practice:
- The Fundamentals of Advocacy in health and social care