Finding engaging ways to educate and prepare for accreditation

By Yeena Peng

This year Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) participated in the Accreditation Canada survey process between September 24 – 27, 2018. Similar to other hospitals that are in their year of accreditation, staff, physicians and volunteers put in a monumental amount of work and countless hours planning and preparing for the actual survey. MSH is no exception. And for this reason, it was important for the MSH accreditation organizers to come up with exciting and engaging ways to educate and celebrate the accreditation An overview

The term accreditation is not often associated with anything fun or exciting; rather it is often referred to as a process by which hospitals are measured against a set of standards developed by Accreditation Canada and the Ontario Hospital Association to ensure continuous improvement of the quality of care delivered.

However, after months of hard work, in the final weeks leading up to the actual survey, it was time for MSH to have some fun. One week prior to the survey, MSH held an interactive accreditation fair, where ROP (required organization practice) leads developed games and activities at their booth for all staff, physicians and volunteers to participate in. Activities at the fair included an IPAC fashion show, where proper donning and doffing of PPE (personal protective equipment) was exhibited, as well as an area where staff were asked to aim for quality – literally aiming and shooting at a target with the correct answer.   

The hospital also developed an escape room. The escape room concept was designed around a code orange that led to a patient being admitted to MSH. The scene unfolds with clues and questions to be solved within that patient room. All the clues revolve around/lead back to the ROPs. For example, patient Clark Kent, (which was purposefully selected) a person with two first names was intended, as a part of patient safety is ensuring that we are identifying people properly, but also MSH’s overall accreditation theme was focused on superheroes achieving a mission.

Teams then had to go into the room and evaluate the situation based on their accreditation knowledge they gained over the past year – to solve the challenge and get out of the room as fast as they could. Participation in the escape room saw teams from a cross-section of departments and levels, from clinical areas at both the Markham and Uxbridge sites as well as leadership members through to corporate services staff. Everyone was engaged and excited. Even staff who couldn’t participate in the actual room, did not miss the enjoyment, footage from the escape room challenge was shared at the internal MSH celebration.

“The escape room was a successful activity that engaged staff at all levels, and was one of many methods of sharing information about accreditation,” said Barb Steed, Executive Vice President and Chief Practice Officer, MSH.

Throughout the accreditation process the committee ensured information was made available online, in hard copy and through hands-on learning (tracers), as well as creative experiences such as the escape room.

“This was important because we wanted to address the different types of learning styles every individual has. The way each person receives and retains information is different from one another, even the way clinical and non-clinical staff learn and train can vary. We needed momentum to sustain the message for a year – and executing a mixture of activities allowed us to do so,” said Steed.

In early November, MSH announced that it was accredited with Exemplary Standing – Accreditation Canada’s highest award.

“We are incredibly honoured to be placed among top-ranked hospitals in Canada achieving 100% of the required organizational practices and 99% compliance with over 2,300 internationally recognized standards,” says Jo-anne Marr, President & CEO, MSH. “This achievement is a testament to our staff, physicians and volunteers who are committed to providing exceptional care to our patients and families each and every day.”

Surveyors acknowledged despite its considerable growth in recent years that MSH has worked hard to maintain a warm and collaborative workplace. This is aligned with the unique culture at Markham Stouffville Hospital – an honoured to care culture that focuses on continuous quality improvement and patient-centred care.

And Steed agrees, “We don’t see accreditation as an event that takes place every four years, but rather as a constant process of quality improvement.”

Yeena Peng is the Manager, Communications and Public Affairs at Markham Stouffville Hospital.