United Active Living’s two communities have earned accreditation “with commendation” from Accreditation Canada. The organization provides an independent, third-party assessment of an organization’s operations using a wide range of standards that are based on best management and operational practices.
“Accreditation is available every four years, and this is our third accreditation from them,” said Dianne McDermid, director of quality enhancement at United. “Accreditation is an ongoing process of assessing an organization’s operations against worldwide standards of excellence to identify what is being done well and what needs to be improved. Based on the outcome of this year’s accreditation, United is doing very well, earning the accolade ‘with commendation’ from them, which is especially meaningful.”
Accreditation involved all staff and residents at United, from the board of directors to frontline staff to residents and their families and United’s community partners. The result is a lengthy report about what United is doing well, and what areas might need improvement.
Dianne likens accreditation to listing with the Better Business Bureau or adhering to ISO standards. “Earning accreditation is a strong signal to residents, potential residents and their families that United takes delivery of services seriously, and by earning the ‘with commendation’ status, it means United’s services far exceed simply earning accreditation,” said Dianne. “It means the quality of services and care we provide to those who need assisted living supports are superior. We’ve always strived for that, but when a respected third-party organization confirms that, it means a great deal to us.”
Accreditation put all aspects of United’s services under a microscope – food services, maintenance, housekeeping, nursing care plus the variety of arts, culture and learning programs that United provides, and the overall operations of each community. In all, there were more than 440 standards that were examined.
As well as the management and operational side, the surveyors conducted focus groups with residents and their families and even went outside to several partner organizations. One surveyor, a nurse with a long history of care in the assisted living sector, was heard to say, “You have created a place where we would love to work!”
“At United, we have gone well beyond the basics. Our all-day menus, variety of programs, our flexibility in supporting our residents were all noted by the surveyors,” said Dianne. “Everything revolves around our residents. We are always striving to make things better, and that is something that Accreditation Canada paid particular attention to – how all of our processes, services and programs are focused on the person.
“One resident at Garrison Green said in the focus group ‘I don’t feel like I’m old here. I’m still learning and growing’, and a family member at Fish Creek noted that ‘my dad now lives in an 80,000 sq. ft. home! Even though he has dementia, he can go anywhere. The entire community is his home’.
“And that speaks volumes about United’s approach. The accreditation from Accreditation Canada reaffirms everything we are doing,” said Dianne.
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