In the past three years, a concerted effort towards quality improvement (QI) within Schlegel Villages has consistently grown. Quality improvement plans were introduced in Long-term Care homes by Health Quality Ontario in 2015, shifting the way team members looked at quality improvement from a neighbourhood level to a village-wide perspective. At the same time within Schlegel Villages, significant investments in new software and reporting systems to track and collate QI data provided team members and leaders with deeper knowledge of exactly where QI energy is best spent.
“We have more discussions about data than ever before,” says director of quality and innovation Jaimie Killingbeck, “which I’m very proud of.” For more than two years, Jaimie has thought of nothing but continuous quality improvement, which she describes simply as “the never-ending quest to do things better.”
This fall during the annual Schlegel Villages operational planning retreat in Niagara Falls, Jaimie introduced the new Integrated Continuous Quality Improvement framework.
Consisting of three main components, the framework “will help support our culture of innovation and protect the quality of our brand,” Jaimie says. “We want to continuously improve, but also ensure we are maintaining our high standards”.
Quality Improvement and Innovation is where the villages can look for new ways to improve outcomes and efficiencies by utilizing resources already available. “We know we can’t always get new resources to make improvements but we can improve by using our resources more effectively,” Jaimie points out. Within a culture of innovation, team members and leaders must be engaged in the quest, open to external ideas and willing to share their successes with others. This helps to spread quality improvement beyond the organization to the long-term care sector as a whole.
Quality Assurance and Risk Management is another key component of the framework, where Jaimie says “we maintain our quality standards through ongoing review, taking steps to reduce or mitigate risk to the residents and to the business.”
The Framework’s final component is Informatics, which “uses the information we have available to us to assist with decisions and enhance our critical thinking,” Jaimie says; essentially it’s the branch of the framework that helps the organization understand whether or not resources are being directed effectively.
In the recent past, information gathered through data has proven the efficacy of several quality improvement initiatives in the villages, ranging from the reduction of restraints to the creation of quieter living spaces for residents.
Continuously asking: “how are we doing and how can we do it better?” is the key to creating a better life for each resident who chooses to call a Schlegel Village home, Jaimie says. The new Continuous Quality Improvement framework will help each village answer those critical questions.