Montfort Renaissance: the accreditation passport as a unifying tool
October 14, 2019
Thanks to a simple and unifying tool that has been named “the passport”, the Franco-Ontarian organization Montfort Renaissance has created an atmosphere of continuous improvement in quality and safety for their clients.
Montfort Renaissance offers a multitude of integrated services that range from mental health and substance abuse pre-treatment to housing assistance, as well as care and services for the elderly. Most of their services are bilingual, but they primarily serve French speakers.
With regard to the accreditation, this organization had to face several challenges from the outset.
“One of our challenges was to make surveyors understand the extent and complexity of the programs offered with the community aspect.”
The director of Montfort Renaissance, Jeanne-Hélène Tardivel, explains that some of their services fell between two existing standards.
“Let’s say, given our community context, that our Montfort Renaissance Residential project did not exactly meet the home care services standard, nor that for a typical residential project; so we found ourselves between two types of standards.”
Ms. Tardivel admits that the accreditation required an adjustment and some going back and forth between the established standards before finding out what applied to the Residential project.
“It was a case of gymnastics in determining what standards to apply and in what way! We needed to understand the breadth of our services so as to gain support and direction in navigating the accreditation process. With more than 20 services under one umbrella, in mental health and addictions but also the services for seniors, we had to integrate several standards and best practices.”
The Director recognizes that the choice of surveyors influences the accreditation experience from the perspective of the organization.
“We were lucky to have surveyors who understood your context, and our connection with the hospitals. They were able to provide us with appropriate recommendations that could be put in place to help us continue to improve quality and safety.”
Montfort Renaissance had to coordinate not just one or two, but seven sites, spread across the Ottawa area, serving more than 5,500 clients annually. Not to mention that each site offers between two and three services each. This represents a gargantuan task of preparing for accreditation for the organization, and the evaluation for the surveyors.
“Community organizations usually offer two or three services, from one site, and are dedicated to just one type of clientele. At Montfort Renaissance, we wear four hats and our activities are based in several sites,” says Ms. Tardivel.
The unifying passport
The director emphasized the importance of relying on continuous training for all employees, particularly when an organization manages several sites. To this end, Montfort Renaissance has developed a versatile tool for the education, training and commitment of its employees at all levels.
“We had to confirm our 19 ROPs (required organizational practices), so we made a Qmentum accreditation passport. For this purpose, sheets have been created for each of the ROPs to explain these practices and the initiatives taken by Montfort Renaissance to meet the criteria of compliance, and in order to provide concrete examples of application of practices within the organization.”
Ms. Tardivel adds:
“There was an opportunity to read through the ROPs during dinner meetings. All members of each team must have passed 100% of the ROPs to receive an honourable mention.”
Managing officers had to learn the ROPs first and then train their teams.
“The passport brought the staff together and strengthened the team spirit. It allowed us to keep all the employees caring and conscientious, through healthy, friendly competition between groups, in order to complete the passport,” says Ms. Tardivel.
She also believes that the value of an employee increases when working in a community organization that applies the highest standards of quality and safety.
“It’s a form of professional development, or like a professional driver’s license … it’s an all-purpose key,” says the director.
The passport is now part of the process of integration and training for each employee at Montfort Renaissance.
“Whenever I introduce it to partners, it makes some impact. Unfortunately, this is not a best practice tool because it is not clinical, but from an administrative point of view, the passport is super pragmatic and effective,” says Ms. Tardivel.
“Not only is it motivating, but everyone becomes the coach for a new recruit. It’s rewarding to explain your daily life, and reassure a colleague during their apprenticeship,” she explains.
Montfort Renaissance also held a fair with activities related to accreditation at its community public meeting. The goal was to maintain open communication between managers, employees at all levels and clients.
The challenge for French speakers
Although there is a real need for French speaking organizations in Ontario, language still represents a barrier to accreditation, says the director.
“Throughout our basic accreditation process, language has been a challenge. Unlike hospital accreditation, we had to develop a lot of policies because they did not exist for our community context.”
Many of the policies and procedures provided in French have come from Quebec-based organisms.
“It was a major writing task since all the examples came from Quebec and our context is Ontario. Now we share our policies with other organizations in Ontario.”
Montfort Renaissance, however, was able to be creative during the accreditation process, since the organization only has seven managers, unlike a hospital model.
“Looking at the requirements of the standards, we see that it takes an operational plan, a plan to ensure continuity of operations, an ethics plan and one to ensure patient safety, and more. How do you respond to all this with a small team?”
“The board has therefore developed the strategic plan, and has combined the other components (i.e., the quality improvement plan, the patient safety plan and the operational plan). This hybrid plan has become our dashboard guiding our work all year long,” explains the director.
Montfort Renaissance ensures the perpetual improvement of quality and safety for the clients by means of regular reviews.
The patient’s input
The involvement of the clients is very important in quality and safety control at Montfort Renaissance. A clients tasting club meets on a quarterly basis to decide on some of the meals planned for the menu.
“When we look at the quality of our services, we consult with our clients, but with the accreditation, we have clients involved in many decisions, at all levels,” says Tardivel.
Inspired by the concept of an annual general meeting, they created a community public meeting so that clients and their families could express themselves.
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