Better engagement with staff, families and residents: Three Links Care Society talks accreditation
February 22, 2019
The accreditation process improves staff engagement, enabling better staff retention and an improved long-term care experience, says Three Links Care Society in Vancouver, B.C.
Three Links Care Society, which operates one long-term care home and an independent seniors supportive housing building in the province of British Columbia, underwent its Accreditation Survey in the fall. The organization was then Accredited with Exemplary Standing – Accreditation Canada (AC)’s highest award.
Three Links’ CEO David Hurford says the accreditation process helped the organization to better engage and connect with its staff members.
Hurford notes that through the accreditation process, staff can see that their concerns and/or issues are being addressed.
“It helps with retention because it shows workers that you are serious about quality improvement and ensuring they have the necessary tools and training needed to do their job,” he says. “It keeps them here and I think that’s something families really value as well.”
Hurford explains that for families with loved ones in long-term care, they don’t want to see a ‘revolving door’ of caregivers (health care aides, nurses, allied health workers and physicians), as residents often get attached to their caregivers as well as the support staff (housekeepers, dietary aides, cooks, laundry, maintenance and administrative staff).
“Seniors develop a relationship with them and they become like family,” Hurford says. “You don’t want to see a circulating group of caregivers and support staff.”
Hurford says Three Links’ accreditation experience was “very positive.”
“It was real team effort, and I think that everyone in our organization was pleased with the process and the outcome,” he said.
Hurford notes that accreditation is a continuous learning process that goes well beyond the Accreditation Survey.
“The days and weeks that you take to prepare for the survey make your organization better. You become more efficient as you go through the process,” he says.
Hurford adds that the accreditation process helped Three Links find ways to better engage with families and residents.
He says that as a result of their recent accreditation experience, Three Links will now be including resident family members in the hiring process of new staff.
“When we hire new nurses, caregivers, and other professionals into the organization, we will have a Hiring Committee. We’re going to look at involving someone from the Patient and Family Advisory Committee as well as a staff member into the hiring process,” he said.
Additionally, Hurford notes that Three Links is seeing more residents who do not have English as a first or second language.
As many residents and family members speak Cantonese or Mandarin, Three Links has been working to expand services offered in those languages.
“The accreditation process encouraged us to put those measures in place and actually accelerated them,” he said, adding that other areas of improvement include governance and meal preparation.
“We’re involving families more into the preparation of our food menu now,” Hurford says. “We’ve increased our food budget dramatically as a result of our discussions with them.”
Hurford says Three Links has always placed high value in AC’s accreditation process, deeming the experience to be “very useful.”
“It was good for all levels of the organization to see where we improved and what we actually learned from the process,” he said. “It was really beneficial all around.”
Hurford adds that the accreditation process is a good way to engage all stakeholders from your organization, from staff to residents and families, to volunteers.
“Accreditation improves the quality of care that you deliver,” he said. “It improves your efficiency and makes everyone happier. It checks a lot of boxes, so there are many reasons to do it.”
He notes that the accreditation process helped to confirm that Three Links is on the right track.
Hurford adds that the accreditation process can be intimidating at first, but in his experience, AC surveyors helped to put the staff at ease.
“I can’t say enough about how smoothly it went and how professional the surveyors were,” he said. “They were terrific. They were very professional, and they made people feel at ease.”
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You can also read more accreditation success stories on our website.