I have had the experience of being involved with the accreditation process at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), accredited with Accreditation Canada. VCH participates in accreditation on a regular basis to evaluate and improve services and in doing so demonstrates that national quality standards are being met within the Health Authority. The standards set out by Accreditation Canada (or other accrediting bodies) help organizations to gauge service quality at the point of delivery and take into consideration the elements of quality, safety, client and family-centered care.
Accreditation Canada’s standards are built on a client and family-centered care approach that involves working collaboratively with all stakeholders to provide care that is respectful, compassionate, culturally safe, and competent. This approach also includes being responsive to individual needs, values, culture, beliefs and preferences. Accreditation Canada has integrated the following four values to reflect this collaborative approach into their service standards (Adapted from: Johnson & Abraham, 2012):
- Dignity and respect:Listening to and honouring client and family perspectives and choices. Client and family knowledge, values, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care.
- Information sharing:Communicating and sharing complete and unbiased information with clients and families in ways that are affirming and useful. Clients and families receive timely, complete, and accurate information to effectively participate in care and decision-making.
- Partnership and participation:Encouraging and supporting clients and families to participate in care and decision-making to the extent that they wish.
- Collaboration:Collaborating with clients and families in policy and program development, implementation and evaluation, facility design, professional education, and delivery of care.
My involvement with accreditation at VCH was in Home Support. The following four evaluation areas are the service standards set by Accreditation Canada for Home Support services.
Investing in quality services
- Home support services meet the needs of its clients and the community it serves.
- The organization provides leadership and support to deliver home support services.
Building a prepared and competent team
- Staff and service providers are education, trained, qualified, and competent.
- Promotion of well-being and worklife balance for all staff.
Providing safe and effective services
- Coordination of timely access to services for current and potential clients, families and referring organizations.
- Clients and families are encouraged to actively participate in service delivery.
- Promotion of safety in the service environment.
- Delivery of effective services to clients and families.
- Medication administration is managed appropriately.
- Clients and families are prepared for transitions to other services or at end of service.
Maintaining accessible and efficient information systems
- Client records are accurate, up-to-date and secure.
- Access to information technology to deliver home support services.
- Use of current research and leading practices to improve service quality.
- Evidence of ongoing improvements to services.
Accreditation is a rigorous process for any organization to undertake however, it is necessary as expectations within the health industry continue to escalate along with public expectations. Upon completion of the accreditation process, organizations have the confidence that decision-making related to health and service delivery meets the highest standards and that is worth the effort it takes to achieve accreditation.
Accreditation Canada Quality Standards. Accessed: February 7, 2017. Retrieved from: https://accreditation.ca/quality-standards
Johnson, B.H. & Abraham, M. R. (2012) Partnering with Patients, Residents, and Families: A Resource for Leaders of Hospitals, Ambulatory Care Settings, and Long-Term Care Communities. Bethesda, MD: Institute for Patient-and Family-Centered Care.