Home care services provided by Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) have received a nod for being on a par with federal standards.
The association has recently undergone an evaluation by Accreditaton Canada to determine where it sits on a country-wide level for home care. Staff and board members received highlight of the results of the inspection by accreditation surveyors Gill Vergilio and Susan Welsh, Friday, Oct. 9 with a report card that shows 95 per cent compliance with federal standards.
Executive director Shannon Boyce-Campbell says the week was thought provoking and provided some confirmation that planners are in the right direction to ensure a safe environment for patients and staff. “Our culture is family and care,” said Boyce-Campbell.
Vergilio said they looked at 12 standards related to home care and he was pleased with the direction FCSS is going. He refered to a community survey that FCSS conducted several years ago. “We were really impressed with the comprehensive community needs assessment.”
He added that the board of directors and leadership team had created a positive environment, which has helped create committed staff members.
“Some of your best advocates are your employees,” said Vergilio.
With each standard Vergilio provided strengths and challenges with two areas that need some adjusting to receive a 100 per cent report card.
In the accreditors’ quality assesment Vergilio said only two areas of safety and one in what he called “appropriateness” needed to be addressed. To clarify, Vergilio added it was not that FCSS was an innapropriate or unsafe work environment, rather they are areas of opportunity identified in the assessement.
He said there is strong support and safety training at FCSS but recommended a need to evaluate safety practices in what is called a “decentralized service environment.” Generally home care aides attend a home to care for patients and while FCSS provides concise home care training, Vergilio said it can be a challenge to verify.
Another recommendation was to support staff when dealing with tough, ethical decisions. One example of an ethical or moral dilemma would be the realization that a patient’s son was abusing his parent financially.
In his findings, Vergilio said FCSS has a strong ethics and policy framework but said getting that infromation to staff can be a challenge. He added this is an area of focus across Canada as to how to deal with tough decisions. “The encouragement is to see what we’ve got and if it’s doing that.”
Risk management was an area Vergilio was pleased with. FCSS has a strong foundation of risk management with an incident response system, review process and ways to identify areas of improvement.
“The staff are open to reporting it … and not being afraid of getting in trouble,” said Vergilio.
He called it an environment of safety where employees did not hide a mistake that was made and where they worked out ways to ensure incidents did not reoccur. Vergilio recommended FCSS put into place a “cause and effect” process, which would further benefit the association in the long run.
With the high score that FCSS received, Vergilio said the next steps are to receive the full accreditation report, wait for an accreditation decision and submit supplementary information as required.
Boyce-Campbell said what makes FCSS such an ideal place to work is the dedication of the staff and volunteers.