Often when I meet with those I supervise I ask the question, “What are you excited about?” I do this for a number of reasons: I really want to know what they are passionate about and I also use it as a way for me to get a sense of what is going on in the agency that is, indeed, exciting. As always, I need to be prepared to answer the question myself and so when I think back on the last week I must admit that I am excited about CQI, that is, continuous quality improvement.
One of the things that we consider to be a hallmark of Hillsides is our service and solution-oriented culture of doing whatever is necessary to provide all we serve with the best quality care. This can quickly be reduced to an empty platitude without some structured way to indeed promote and assure that we act on what we say. CQI is a formal process that has been introduced at Hillsides for some time now as we prepare for national accreditation. Every other month the various departments, represented by direct care workers and administrators, come together to share goals, action plans and, more importantly, findings that indicate their level of achievement.
This is not just another exercise to meet yet one more requirement, but rather it is becoming ingrained in our operations to keep us focused on the services we provide and on those we serve.
At the most recent meeting of the CQI team the following items were addressed: resident food surveys, medication awareness training, independent living skill building at the group homes and reducing physical interventions.
- Instead of usually quizzing residents in the dining room about how they like their lunch, a survey was conducted. Favorite foods were identified and plans to improve the menu are now being developed.
- The vast majority of our residents benefit from some sort of medication therapy. Medication education assures residents are familiar with their treatment and its effects. This effort helps them best utilize any prescriptions that have been recommended.
- Daily living skills are essential for independence. In our group homes we have developed a curriculum of life skills that engage residents in becoming more confident in managing the routine tasks of daily living.
- And perhaps the greatest challenge is to continue to develop a treatment environment that eliminates effectively the need to provide physical interventions when residents are at risk of harming themselves or others.
It is exciting to participate in a process that not only helps us to learn and improve, but more than anything, helps us to achieve all that we hope for those we serve.