Accreditation Helps RK MacDonald Home Establish Clear Path Forward

January 4, 2018

Accreditation provides a solid foundation to build new quality improvement initiatives upon, long-term care CEO says.

Michelle Thompson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RK MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, N.S., says that Accreditation Canada (AC)’s long-term care standards are helping to shape initiatives the organization will be putting into place in the near future.

“I wouldn’t put any new initiatives in place without first consulting the standards,” Thompson says. “A new program should be based on the standards, so that it can be measured and we can ensure that it’s improving quality services and safe care.”

Thompson notes that the RK MacDonald Nursing Home underwent AC’s Primer accreditation survey from Dec. 4-6, 2017.

“It’s knowing that we’re aligned with best practices and that we have a guideline to go back to whenever we are implementing a new program,” she says.

Thompson adds that oftentimes, long-term care facilities work to adapt acute care resources to their specific sector.

“But once you go through Accreditation Canada’s program, you have access to long-term care standards,” she says. “You’re able to access resources that are pertinent to your sector.”

Thompson said AC’s Primer program was a positive experience as surveyors highlighted not only areas where the nursing home could improve, but also areas where it is excelling. She noted that surveyors highlighted efforts the nursing home was making in Person-Centred Care.

Thompson said surveyors acknowledged a recent GPA award the facility had received as well as processes it was putting in place to enhance the voices of residents and their families. “The surveyors encouraged us to continue to embed the resident and family voice in those processes.”

One Person-Centred Care initiative, Thompson says, is that the staff works to engage residents any time changes are made in the nursing home.

“We ask residents how the change might impact them and if they have any ideas,” she says. “Because they know the home from a completely different perspective and they can give you real pieces of wisdom.”

She adds that nursing home residents are also auditors for the organization’s hand hygiene program. “It’s about ‘doing with,’ instead of ‘doing for’ or ‘doing to.’ This is really important for us,” Thompson says.

Thompson notes that accreditation has value as it guarantees a certain level of care for residents and their families. “It’s a guarantee that you’re always striving for excellence and safety in the facility,” she says.

RK MacDonald Nursing Home is a 136-bed, long-term care facility. Opened in 1958, it has more than 250 staff members.

Thompson adds that the organization chose to be accredited by AC as the accrediting body has a long history in the province of Nova Scotia.

“In our province, Accreditation Canada has always been the gold standard,” she says. “It’s reputable and it has a long history for health care institutions in Nova Scotia.”

In October, AC helped the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) complete a survey of all its sites throughout the province. Taking place from Oct. 15-20, 2017, the survey involved more than 30 surveyors across 50 sites.

Thompson says that by looking at the standards and going through AC’s Primer program, RK MacDonald Nursing Home established a clear path forward. “The standards give us a clear path and lots of resources to move forward,” she said.

Thompson adds: “It was a positive experience all around and our survey generated lots of positive conversation within the nursing home community.”

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