AC Accreditation Process a ‘Paradigm Shift,’ Leading to Improved Resident- and Family-Centred Care: Bethany Care Society

September 12, 2017

Bethany Centre staff and residentAccreditation Canada (AC)’s accreditation process gives health organizations access to a valuable repository of new and innovative practices, helping them to define what quality care means and better understand Resident- and Family-Centred Care, says Steven Friesen, Manager, Quality, Best Practice & Research at the Bethany Care Society.

Located in central and southern Alberta, the Bethany Care Society offers services for seniors that stretch across the spectrum of long-term care. Its most recent accreditation survey was conducted in February 2017 and Friesen says, the experience brought a new focus on the implementation of Resident- and Family-Centred Care. (In a long-term care context, ‘Resident’ is used when referring to Client- and Family-Centred Care).

Though best practices resources drive the ongoing quality improvement process, Friesen says that for this recent accreditation cycle, the focus on resident and family engagement in health service and system planning was a “paradigm shift” for the organization.

“It was a stronger, much more pointed investment of resources to explore what engagement around residents and families looks like beyond the bedside and how that contributes to Resident- and Family-Centred Care,” Friesen says.

He adds that the Bethany Care Society focused on enhancing Resident- and Family-Centred Care and how to provide quality care from the bedside out. “This last cycle offered much more discussion and reflection on organizational approaches to Resident and Family-Centred Care beyond direct care delivery,” he says.

Friesen notes that health organizations have come to expect AC to be a resource for standards that challenge their understanding and implementation of best practice processes. “But this [experience] was more foundational, looking at [resident-centred care] philosophy and approaches to how you actually look at the questions around best practice process, and how you implement and think about it,” he says.

Friesen says the value of accreditation is that it drives best practice processes, pushing organizations to make these broader quality processes a fiscal priority. “It gives organizations a very good rationale for allocating resources to quality improvement when they’re facing a lot of other competing fiscal priorities,” he said. Friesen adds that in the health system, accreditation is an incentive to “…ensure support and alignment in best practice exploration and innovation from the bedside to the boardroom.”

In terms of being accredited by AC, Friesen notes that health organizations gain access to leading edge best practices without having to each invest in their own research. “Accreditation Canada provides you with manageable, concise pieces of information through the standards and through supporting documents,” he says.

Friesen also noted that if organizations look to AC’s best practices and standards (developed by AC’s affiliate Health Standards Organization (HSO) to develop their programs and services, they can be assured that they are moving in the right direction. “That level of reassurance is a big factor,” he said.

AC accredits various health and social services organizations in Alberta across the care continuum, including Alberta Health Services (AHS).

This summer, AC completed its largest accreditation survey to date for AHS, covering the entire province, including rural hospitals and facilities in remote areas such as High Level, Fort Vermillion and Horse Lake. The survey involved 30 surveyors who visited 129 sites across Alberta.

For more information about Bethany Care Society, visit their website.

Thinking of accreditation? Want to know more about AC’s accreditation process? Learn more about Accreditation’s Qmentum Accreditation program.