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. Standards promote practice that is up to date, evidence based, effective and consistent. Standards help the people who provide health and social care services to identify strengths and highlight areas that may need improvement, while also aiming to show people what safe, high-quality care should look like and what to expect from a service.
We set national standards and develop guidance for health and social care services.
What we do
The Standards Team 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.
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.
When we finalise national standards and guidance documents, we also publish additional support materials to help people to understand and implement them.
How we do it
We carried out an international review to examine how similar organisations throughout the world develop standards and guidance.
The findings from this review, along with engagement with other key stakeholders helped us to revise HIQA’s methodology.
We use a consistent approach to develop all national standards and guidance. The detailed methodology of how we develop standards and guidance 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 and updating of national standards and guidance for health and social care services.
This prioritisation process assists the identification of priority areas for potential national standards and guidance 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 below process documents and online learning resources. These may be useful to people undertaking similar work and can be used freely with acknowledgement to ‘HIQA’.
National Standards and Guidance
National Standards and resources to aid understanding and support implementation:
Older Persons Standards
- National Standards for Children's Residential Centres
- National Standards for Special Care Units
- National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children
- National Standards for Foster Care - Department of Health and Children
Acute Healthcare Standards
- 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
Community Services Standards
- Communicating in plain English, Adults
- Communicating in plain English for Children
- Supporting people's autonomy
- Guidance on a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care Services
Online Learning Modules
We have developed a number of online learning modules to support staff working in health and social care services to implement national standards in practice. The modules 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 modules on HSELanD. If you are not eligible to register on HSELanD, you can complete the modules 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: