Arnprior Regional Health Uses Accreditation Canada’s Program to Enable Community Collaboration and Improve Patient Care
November 3, 2017
Coordinating safe and quality patient care among different care facilities requires a certain rigor and strong capabilities. With Accreditation Canada (AC)’s Qmentum Accreditation program, Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) was able to conduct their accreditation survey and expand quality care into the broader community.
Expanding Quality Care into the Community
ARH, which includes the Arnprior & District Memorial Hospital, The Grove Nursing Home, The Primary Care Center and other community services, underwent AC’s Qmentum accreditation survey in September.
In an effort to bring consistent, quality services and safe care to the rural Ontario region, ARH encouraged other local health service providers to participate in the accreditation process.
Eric Hanna, President and CEO of ARH, says that the organization wanted to encourage community groups who partner with ARH to deliver programs that are collectively based on best-in-class standards developed by AC’s affiliate Health Standards Organization (HSO).
“This is really about pushing [community partnerships] even further,” Hanna says. “It’s looking at, are we actually delivering programs collectively using AC’s best practices?”
Hanna adds that using AC’s accreditation program across community partner organizations provided a common language for quality, supporting consistent care and safety standards across health and social service providers in the region.
“AC is viewed as being a credible source of best practices that we can use when we start to build consistency in the way we deliver programs and services outside of our four walls,” Hanna says.
He noted that for example, a standard related to Community Programs required that all personal support workers (PSWs) complete a food safety course. Though the course was already being given to hospital and nursing home workers, Hanna says that ARH hadn’t made it part of its Assisted Living program, which involves PSWs.
“So, once we realized the gap, our hospital dietary team was able to ensure that everybody serving the community had the course,” he said. “Now, I can sleep better knowing that the PSWs who are out preparing meals in the community have an appropriate amount of knowledge about food safety and food preparation.”
He noted that other measures consistent with AC standards were also put in place to improve the transfer of information between paramedics and the hospital as well as paramedics and the nursing home.
Susan Leach, Vice-President of Patient Services, adds that ARH was already partnering with five organizations as part of the Arnprior Area Rural Health Hub prior to the AC accreditation s
urvey, which took place from Sept. 11-15, 2017. “There wasn’t any issue to bring them in as part of the accreditation survey,” she said.
Merryn Douglas, ARH’s Manager of Community Programs, says that these partnerships were enabled by each organization’s board.
“These [partnerships] have been unfolding for the past couple of years,” she says. “While we’re not a merged organization, there is a lot of support to collaborate at the governance level.” Douglas adds that the engagement of board and senior leadership play “a big role” in the success of these partnerships.
Hanna also noted that organizations shouldn’t have to merge together for collaboration around best practices to occur. “Accreditation is one way to get that collaboration to occur,” he says, adding that the standards should be “the glue that holds us together.”
Hanna acknowledged however that meeting such standards could be challenging for smaller organizations with fewer resources.
Douglas notes that the accreditation process enabled ARH to better support its community programs.
“In reviewing the standards and making sure that we were compliant, there are things that we added into the community programs,” Douglas says. She notes that examples of things that were added are:
- Strengthening the policy for Falls Prevention, with clear definitions of how clients are flagged into the program.
- Seeing what interventions we can consider to support affected patients in the home.
- Standardizing information that must be communicated between staff, and from the staff to clients.
Douglas said that some clients and families enjoyed having a notebook in the home where staff could relay messages back to the family, alert them of changes in conditions and generally, involve them in the care of their loved one. “We spread that practice so that all client homes now have a communication book,” she says.
She adds the value of the accreditation process for staff was to find out what best practices are in place and, to identify gaps in quality of care and safety. “It was an opportunity for them to be part of the solution,” Douglas says.
Leach notes that the accreditation process encouraged ARH to better partner with patients and families. “It’s really involving them in all levels of care design,” she says.
Leach said that in previous years, staff designed patient information pamphlets would be brought to the Patient and Family Advisory Council for approval. Now, she says, ARH works to include the patient and family perspective from the beginning in the design of patient information content.
Hanna concluded that the accreditation process helped to solidify ARH’s processes, which are in keeping with the organization’s new vision statement: “Together, we create a healthy community.”
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