STAFF, residents and families involved in Prom View Lodge are thrilled and proud that the Toora nursing home has achieved full – three-year – national accreditation. The framed certificate acknowledging this achievement arrived last week and now holds pride of place on the wall at reception.
“It’s a truly wonderful outcome,” said Claire Schmierer, chief executive officer at Prom View. Since she has only been at the helm for a year, this was the facility’s first assessment under her watch. “It’s recognition of all the work and care from staff and volunteers for our residents and their families.”
Sandy Bucello is the president of the committee of management of Prom Country Aged Care, which operates Prom View Lodge and also Banksia Lodge at Foster. She added her praise for the achievement of accreditation for another three years, saying: “This is very exciting. On behalf of the committee of management, I would like to thank the staff of Prom View Lodge and acknowledge all the work they have done to achieve this great result.”
Prom View Lodge met all four standards – including 44 outcomes – stipulated by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency of the Department of Health and Ageing when it was assessed over two days in January. Banksia Lodge will be due for its accreditation assessment next year.
The four standards are:
- Management systems, staffing and organisation development;
- Health and personal care;
- Resident lifestyle;
- Physical environment and safe systems.
These four standards include a wide range of target outcomes – comments and complaints, planning and leadership, inventory and equipment, pain management, nutrition and hydration, education and staff development, occupational health and safety, privacy and dignity, cultural and spiritual life, and continuous improvement – to name just a few of the 44 outcomes.
Ms Schmierer said that achieving accreditation was a lengthy and quite involved process. It began with a visit in January to the 30-bed site from two assessors, who spent two full days at Prom View.
“They use a system of ‘triangulation’ for evidence. They look at documentation, make observations and conduct interviews with staff, residents and residents’ families,” she explained.
Anyone is welcome to be involved in the interview process – residents and their families are given advance warning of more than three weeks that the assessors will be coming and they are welcome to seek an interview.
The assessors make their report in an open and transparent process in which they discuss issues which come up and provide an opportunity for these to be addressed before the final assessment is made. They write a report and this and their recommendations go to the state office of the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency, with a copy to Prom Country Aged Care. The recommendations then go to an independent decision maker.
“It is possible to get accreditation even if a facility does not meet all 44 outcomes, as long as the residents are not at risk. However, we are delighted that we did meet all 44 outcomes. Accreditation is very important for us; if we don’t get accredited we don’t get funding,” said Ms Schmierer.
In recognition of the crucial importance of maintaining accreditation, the CEO was thorough in her preparations for the assessment of her facility. After many years in the aged care industry, she has built up a network of contacts. A month or so before the assessment was due, she invited a colleague from the industry who has, like her, done the assessor course, to visit and conduct a two-day external audit and provide a report. In return Ms Schmierer will provide a report on her colleague’s facility just before it is due for assessment.
Ms Schmierer also contracted a clinical expert to come into Prom View from December to February and ensure that clinical procedures at the facility were best practice.
“I wanted to make sure that all our processes meet best practice standards. It is always good to get a fresh set of eyes looking at procedures, however well we think we are carrying them out.”
Proud as she is of her team’s efforts, the CEO said that Prom View Lodge can by no means rest on its laurels. Like other aged care residential facilities across the nation it can expect at least one unannounced visit and one pre-warned visit from an assessor each year.
“We might have accreditation for another three years, but it doesn’t end there. We need to be abreast of current legislation and new products to improve our care of residents. Right now we are looking at a new system of documentation to save staff time. We are also looking at the Eden Philosophy of aged care, which is very much resident-focused. We are always trying to improve – always seeking ways we can do things better.”