Every treatment table in your practice should be covered by a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). All major Australian training centres and hospitals’ use this best practice procedure.
A SOP is a set of step by step instructions for carrying out a specific task. It will note the equipment that is used in the task and list all the limitations, risk assessments, warnings and precautions, that are involved in using the equipment.
The advantages of having an SOP is that it:
- provides therapists with numbered step by step instructions on specific procedures or use of equipment with minimum variability;
- ensures that the procedures are performed consistently and in compliance with governing regulations;
- protects the health and safety of therapists and patients by enabling treatments to be carried out in the safest possible way. They ensure that all of the safety, health, environmental and operational information is available to perform or instruct on specific procedures with minimal impact;
- facilitates training in procedures, for both new therapists and for those that need re-training (ie. after extended absence from a position). Having step by step instructions aids trainers to ensure that nothing is missed;
- serves as a historical record for use when modifications are made to that procedure and when the SOP is revised;
- promotes quality though consistent collection of the data, even if there are changes in the personnel undertaking the monitoring; and
- encourages improvements and work evaluation by ensuring that the procedures are completed, and can be used in incident investigations to improve operations and safety practices.
Reference. 3661 Guide to Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) dec wa gov 20090812 revised