For years Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has been operating a quality home care program and a recent accreditation process confirmed it.
In October FCSS took part in a rigorous audit from Accreditation Canada’s Qmentum program and the organization received 99.1 per cent, an ‘Exemplary Standing.’ Looking at the actual numbers, out of 449 detailed applicable outcomes, FCSS qualified in 445.
Shannon Boyce-Campbell, FCSS executive director, was pleased to see such great results. The scope of the process is detailed; one line of standards meant hours or days of work behind the scenes.
There’s about five years worth of work to get to this point.
“Essentially you’re looking at the entire agency under review. Comparing you to, not only acceptable standards, but standards of excellence across Canada,” she explained, adding that many health care groups and hospitals go up against this accreditation process.
For Boyce-Campbell, it was worth it. “I think what was most interesting for us as a team is we were really celebrating before accreditation even started…we knew we gave it our all.”
In some instances, to be eligible for a healthcare contract, organizations are required to have this accreditation. Ponoka FCSS took this on as a proactive measure in an effort to be ready.
“We knew we did quality programming and services within Ponoka,” said Boyce-Campbell, adding that this process only made services and programming even better.
A lot of the work that Ponoka FCSS’s home care aids do relates to caring for those who need some help such as preparing medication, taking care of older patients with tasks such as getting them dressed, bathed or other jobs.
About two years ago, Ponoka FCSS began the pre-accreditation process and while they performed relatively well, Boyce-Campbell pointed out there was a bit of a learning curve to be Qmentum ready. That’s what’s been happening behind the scenes at FCSS.
“From staff, the board to leadership there was always the thought that we knew that we had that in place, we didn’t necessarily have the means to prove it,” said Boyce-Campbell, pointing out that there’s more statistical information to guide the organization.
“It’s really about being a non-profit agency, you better be the best you can be and this process helps us do that.”
Ponoka FCSS’s healthcare contract with Alberta Health Services is set for another 18 months and while it isn’t yet a requirement to be accredited, Boyce-Campbell feels it’s better to be ready for that eventuality. Accreditation is good for four years and now Ponoka FCSS has the groundwork for when they have to go through the process again.
Boyce-Campbell praised staff and board members for their work behind the scenes volunteering their time to ensure the process went well.
The quality steps that the Qmentum program takes into consideration are detailed, with auditors looking at the community’s population, accessibility, safety, work life, client-centred services, continuity, appropriateness and efficiency.