COVID-19 pushes Villabella Residenza’s accreditation orientation session online

September 10, 2020

Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began this spring, Villabella Residenza – a small, family-run, long-term care home in Riolo Terme, Italy – sought to begin its accreditation process.

Villabella joined Accreditation Canada (AC)’s Qmentum accreditation program last fall, agreeing to officially begin the process in January 2020. An in-person orientation session was scheduled for the first quarter of 2020.

When the pandemic began however, AC had to find an alternative way to work with Villabella, who was still keen to begin the accreditation process. Villabella asked if rather than postponing their orientation session, if it could be done online?

“The client approached us, asking if it was possible to do this online,” said Alessandro Buriani, Accreditation Advisor and Program Manager at AC. Buriani noted that shortly after, AC started looking at how this part of the program could be delivered remotely. “This is the first session we’ve done remotely and now we are looking at organizing others,” he said.

The first aspect that AC had to figure out was exactly how to deliver the information to Villabella staff members.

Moving orientation online
Buriani noted that there were two possible ways of delivering the session. Firstly, everyone would participate online, from home, which would require everyone to have a reliable Internet connection. The other option was to have people participate at the organization with social distancing measures in place.

Buriani said Villabella chose the second option, having staff members participate from a classroom at the organization. He notes: “Flexibility is very important in a situation like this. You have to sit with the organization and work on the details of the session – how will it be delivered; how long should it be and so on.”

As the orientation session would be delivered online, Buriani said AC and Villabella agreed that it should be separated into four parts. “You can’t do a full day of e-learning. People won’t be attentive for that long and they’ll get tired,” he said.

Benefits of being online
Villabella appreciated the flexibility that four shorter, online sessions provided to them. Buriani noted that AC’s orientation typically lasts for an entire day, requiring the organization to slow its regular operation to ensure that key staff members can participate.

“In this case, you can stretch the presence of staff members over several days, which is an advantage,” he said. “It allowed Villabella to organize themselves better.”

Another benefit of an online session, Buriani said, is that the time is entirely dedicated to the course and not to travel, as participation does not require a physical presence. Additionally, if the session is split up over four days, participants have more time to reflect upon and absorb the information that has been presented to them. “They can give feedback or prepare questions before the next session,” he said.

Buriani also noted that as the session is online, it can be recorded and information can be shared with other participants at another time.

Dr. Filippo Giliberti of Villabella said the organization understood that this is something AC hasn’t done before. “We were pleased to try it out,” he said. “Villabella’s decision not to stop training was a calculated risk that turned out to be successful. As our effort to improve quality continues, we are formalizing many of the ideas into policies and procedures to ensure the long-term success of our services and programs.”

Dr. Giliberti added that with the emergence of COVID-19, patient and staff safety became a very important daily discussion for Villabella. “We were confronted with an unprecedented series of events that impacted each and every aspect of our organization.”

He noted that as the orientation session was delivered online over four different days, Villabella’s staff members were better able to familiarize themselves with and implement information related to COVID-19.

“Team leaders had the chance to contextualize tools from standards during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Giliberti said. “Ideas that emerged from the sessions were implemented into service. Daily huddles included discussions on how to apply criteria into our practices.”

Villabella Residenza Staff Members