•This article describes how the results of an audit of district nursing care plan documentation have been used to inform practice development in a community trust.
•The principle aim of the audit was to discover whether the evaluation of patient care was being adequately recorded in nursing care plans.
•To establish this, four commonly occurring areas of district nursing work were selected and an ideal assessment of care developed from the available evidence. The areas were: the management of leg ulceration, bath care, pressure area care and catheter care.
•Data capture forms were developed to record whether the features of an ideal assessment of these four areas of care were reflected in the written evaluation of that care.
•The results of the audit demonstrated that the evaluation of care was often inadequately recorded, which reflected poor written documentation of the initial nursing assessment.
•The implications of the findings of the audit for practice development in the four areas of care are discussed.