Fort Smith Health Centre receives accreditation and ‘very positive’ report

Fort Smith Health Centre receives accreditation and ‘very positive’ report
The Fort Smith Health and Social Services Centre, despite being in the midst of major renovations, earned its accreditation and a very positive final report from Accreditation Canada.Photo: Chris Talbot.

The Fort Smith Health and Social Services Centre has earned accredited status after completing its year-long accreditation process with Accreditation Canada.

The accreditation, which is carried out every three years, focused on the centre’s quality assurance and risk management.

Robert Tordiff, CEO of Fort Smith Health and Social Services Centre, said he was concerned about the accreditation because the centre is in the middle of major renovations, but the process went fairly smoothly.

The accreditation reviewers, all volunteers working with the not-for-profit firm Accreditation Canada, indicated the centre’s processes were in order, and operations were good. Tordiff noted the centre was able to meet all the standards set out by Accreditation Canada.

The reviewers only noted one clinical procedure – a workplace hazardous risk assessment – that needs to be implemented, but Tordiff said the centre is already in the process of implementing it.
Additionally, they also noted the need for the centre to continue demonstrating compliance with medication reconciliation.

“It seems like we’re on the right track,” he said.

This marks the second time the Fort Smith Health and Social Services Centre has gone through the accreditation process. The first time was in 2009, at which point the centre was given a few areas of improvement to focus on, Tordiff said.

Everything noted in the 2009 accreditation has been implemented.

Health centres are not required to be accredited; it’s entirely voluntary. Most do get accredited for quality and safety purposes, though. The process can be lengthy.

In Fort Smith’s case, the process began a year ago when Tordiff provided Accreditation Canada with indicators of the centre’s operational practices and what its standards were. Following that, the centre measured its daily business in relation to those standards and required operational practices.

A series of online surveys of staff, the management team, the board of directors and stakeholder groups delves deeper into the operations of health centres. Based on that, Accreditation Canada provides a list of things the health centres need to work on to improve. Once the health centre has been given time to make progress on the improvements, a team of three professional reviewers schedule time to visit the health centre to evaluate and report.

“They’ll look at things like our medication reconciliation processes, our hand washing routines, right down to transfusions,” Tordiff said. All in all, there are 2,700 indicators that the health centre was tested on.

The accreditation team spent the last week of March in Fort Smith before leaving to generate its report, which Tordiff received nearly a month later.

“At the end of it, the three of them in their initial report to the staff indicated that none of them had ever been to an organization that was as compliant as we were,” Tordiff said. The final report was very positive.

According to Wendy Nicklin, president and CEO of Accreditation Canada, accreditations are extremely important and fundamental to quality and safety in health care. When ranking health centres, the firm applies one of four rankings – non-accredited, accredited, accredited with commendation and accredited with exemplary status. Most clients fall into the accredited category, which is where the Fort Smith Health Centre was ranked.

“Accreditation enables change, and we’re able to give a report that’s really targeted and helps organizations learn where to focus,” Nicklin said.

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