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Roundal Wright Retirement Homes - Essay Example

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One of the major theoretical approaches to "quality" is that of Walter Shewhart, who formulated the Shewhart Cycle for Learning and Improvement. This is a quality management concept and tool that is generally regarded as the PDSA Cycle. This cycle is divided into four quadrants, and there is constant process of moving from one section to another.
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Download file to see previous pages This concept of continual quality improvement can be as useful in defining quality for a service business (such as the Roundal Wright Retirement Home). Quality is thus at least partially defined by the constant need to improve operations, as Winder (1996) suggests, "quality is the ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and implied needs . . . it is fundamentally relational" (my emphasis). In the case of the retirement home, "quality" can thus be defined as the quality of life being provided to and being perceived by the residents of the home. Perception is the important matter here. While in theory a service may be perfectly adequate, the actual test of it is whether the customer sees it is as adequate.
There is something personal and emotional to the idea of quality that, while apparently counter to the "data" driven model of Shewhart's vision, is in fact an integral part of it. The "emotional" factor is part of the data. Thus within the concept of quality, "you cannot separate the process and the human factor . . . when Quality is built into a product, it generates emotions and feelings within those who have taken part . . . you'll know it, they'll know it, and each of you will prosper from it" (quality digest, 2006). Thus within the home both the old people and the employees will be happy with the service being provided. In particular, if genuine quality was being provided by the cook he would know it, rather than making excuses and giving explanations for the old people's complaints.

B) Which quality assessment tools would you use to analyse the situation at the home and why
The tow main tools that will be used are qualitative and quantitative in approach. The first tool will be a survey of all residents to discover the overall satisfaction (or lack thereof) that exists with regards to the quality of their lives within the home. The survey will be a mixture of close and open ended questions. Thus a series of multiple-choice, "The home is clean, quite clean, quite dirty, very dirty" etc. questions will be mixed with ones that ask for input from the residents: "how good are the meals", "what suggestions would you make for meal improvement and management of meal-times."
There are several reasons for such a survey approach. First, it moves away from the ad hoc, essentially anecdotal evidence that has thus far been collected. Thus, Sandy has conducted research into what the residents think, but it is likely that only those who have something to complain about talked to her. People do not go out of their way to praise a business in the same way that they will to complain about it. The proportions between positive, neutral and negative comments can thus be determined. Second, the survey approach will involve the residents in improving quality. Thus, if they see that some of their ideas have been implemented, they will feel that they have an empowered role within their own living situation. This is an aspect of the "relational" nature of quality. The old people must feel that there is a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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