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Journal Article


Ashley L, Armitage G, Taylor J. Health Soc. Care Community 2016; 25(2): 690-699.


School of Nursing, Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham, and Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, UK.


(Copyright © 2016, John Wiley and Sons)






Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a prospective quality assurance methodology increasingly used in healthcare, which identifies potential vulnerabilities in complex, high-risk processes and generates remedial actions. We aimed, for the first time, to apply FMEA in a social care context to evaluate the process for recognising and referring children exposed to domestic abuse within one Midlands city safeguarding area in England. A multidisciplinary, multi-agency team of 10 front-line professionals undertook the FMEA, using a modified methodology, over seven group meetings. The FMEA included mapping out the process under evaluation to identify its component steps, identifying failure modes (potential errors) and possible causes for each step and generating corrective actions. In this article, we report the output from the FMEA, including illustrative examples of the failure modes and corrective actions generated. We also present an analysis of feedback from the FMEA team and provide future recommendations for the use of FMEA in appraising social care processes and practice. Although challenging, the FMEA was unequivocally valuable for team members and generated a significant number of corrective actions locally for the safeguarding board to consider in its response to children exposed to domestic abuse.

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Language: en


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