Care Fit for VIPS – ‘how to’ guide

As someone who has been involved in the development, evolution and maintenance of the Care Fit for VIPS online toolkit, it’s easy to assume that everyone knows what it is and how to use it. As that’s not necessarily the case, here’s a quick ‘how to’ guide to hopefully help you out.

First off, Care Fit for VIPS is a free online resource that:

  • Allows you to self-assess a service or organisation against the VIPS framework (see a previous blog for more information about VIPS)
  • Enables you to identify areas that you may wish to improve
  • Signposts you to helpful resources relating to each area of the framework
  • Provides a Plan-Do-Study-Act template to put your plans into action

How to register (for free)

In order to use Care Fit for VIPS you need to register, but it is free! Go to and complete the short registration form, where you’ll be able to choose which version of the toolkit you want to use. There are currently five versions for you to choose from:

  • Care homes
  • Community settings
  • Day care
  • Domiciliary care
  • Hospitals

More information about how to register can be found in this short video clip:

(We are aware that there has recently been an issue with the confirmation emails, but this has been resolved so it should all work as intended. If you spot any problems, please do let us know at

How to carry out a self-assessment

There are 25 indicators for you to self-assess your setting or service against, which can seem a bit overwhelming at first. However, remember that you don’t have to do it all in one go. You can do a few at a time and come back to it at different points. If you do want to do it all in one go though, that’s great, just make sure you set aside some time to do it so you can give it proper attention. You may find it helpful to start with some of the indicators you feel confident with or have more in-depth knowledge of. Some of the statements might not be relevant to your setting or you might not be able to answer, and that’s fine.

You can do an assessment in different ways, including entering your responses directly into the online toolkit, or printing off paper copies and filling them in as you walk around your setting. Don’t forget that it doesn’t just have to be you completing the assessment. You may find it useful to get colleagues and people using your service, e.g. care home residents or hospital patients, involved to get different perspectives on same topics. They might see things that you don’t and rate some aspects differently, so you’ll need to decide whether you want to take an average rating or use the worst as a baseline to improve from.

The main thing to remember when using Care Fit for VIPS is that it isn’t a formal assessment and no-one else can see your answers unless you print and share them, so it’s important be honest when you complete the forms.

The following short video provides an overview of how to carry out an assessment:

Once you’ve completed an assessment, you should be able to get an overall picture of your setting or service, and identify areas where there is room for improvement. Don’t try and fix everything in one go, but put together a list of potential improvements you could make and work out if they are quick wins (i.e. things you can resolve fairly quickly) or ones requiring longer term action or investment. Decide what your priorities are too. Which ones will have the biggest impact? Which are more pressing and which could be left a bit longer? This could help you to focus your efforts and make a plan of action.

At this point, it’s useful to save a copy of your completed assessment using the ‘save pdf’ function, as this will provide a record of the current situation within your setting.

How to find resources

Once you’ve got a plan in place, you still might not know quite where to start. Within each indicator you should be able to find a set of resources which relate to that area. If you scroll down below the statements that you assess against, you’ll see several resources, ones to guide staff development, further reading and additional resources. We’ve tried to make them accessible by including plenty of free resources, but some are books or other paid resources. These will be indicated with a little £ symbol. Each resource will have a link for you to click on, which is the coloured text in the description of that resource.

The resources we’ve included tend to be ones we’ve come across in practice, seen others using effectively, or feel are relevant to the indicator. However, they won’t cover everything, so they should be seen as a good starting point rather than the only resources you’ll need.

How to use the improvement cycles

You can make your own plans for putting any changes into practice, but it’s useful to know about the improvement cycles within Care Fit for VIPS as they can provide a useful guide and structure if you’re less sure about what you’re doing. The ‘Transform’ area within the toolkit will help you plan a quality improvement cycle. This allows you to plan and record your improvements in 4 simple stages. As you create improvement cycles, you’re recording valuable evidence of continuous improvement in your service.

  • Open your chosen VIPS outcome area and select ‘Create Improvement Cycle’ at the top of the page. A new page will appear.
  • Type a name for your improvement cycle, and record your plan in the first box.
  • Click the arrow to move to the next boxes to record what happened and how things worked out.

This format is based on the simple Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle that has been used in health care for many years. PDSA cycles work best when you are concerned with making changes over time in a systematic manner. It allows you to collect real-life data which will support your arguments for changing practice on a larger scale.

The following short video shows you how to start an improvement cycle within Care Fit for VIPS:

What next?

Once you’ve had time to put make some changes and put your plan into action, we recommend repeating the assessment process. This should allow you to see how far you’ve come – and hopefully celebrate your successes – when you select a different response for the indicators. Your new responses will overwrite your previous assessment, which is why we recommended saving pdf versions after your initial assessment as evidence of your progress. You don’t have to repeat the whole assessment, just focus on the areas where you have been making the changes.

This is very much an iterative process, so don’t feel that once you’ve repeated an assessment that’s the end. You can keep coming back to Care Fit for VIPS at different points when you either need to take stock of what’s going on, or after any further changes have been made.

Hopefully this will help you to get to grips with the Care Fit for VIPS toolkit. Good luck with your assessments, have fun looking through the resources, and we hope it encourages lots of improvements, big or small.

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