Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (Waypoint) wants its patients/clients to be included and have a voice. Waypoint has implemented a Client Experience Survey to gather information and reinforce to patients/clients that the hospital is interested in providing quality care and actively looking for ways to improve.
Waypoint is the regional 141-bed specialty mental health hospital for Simcoe County and Muskoka in Ontario. For more than 40 years, it has been internationally recognized for mental health research.
Waypoint also provides the province’s only high secure 160-bed forensic mental health division for patients requiring mental health assessment, treatment or care who have come into contact with the law. The hospital is recognized for the provision of exceptional care to those most needing mental health services and for its contributions to the understanding of mental illness.
Waypoint Client Experience Team (left to right): Laura Ball, Knowledge Translation and Implementation Coordinator ; Janet Harris, Executive Vice-President Clinical Services & Chief Nursing Executive; Catharine Mercer, Lead Quality & Patient Safety; Yvette Brook, Executive Director, Patient/Client & Family Council; and Cyndi Rowntree, Client Services Representative
Waypoint has been recognized by Accreditation Canada and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute as a
Canadian Patient Safety Champion for listening to patient/client perspectives to improve quality and client satisfaction.
This initiative demonstrates how collaboration and working together can lead to innovation in the use of data and information, to benefit mental health patients/clients and their families in Ontario.
In 2012, Waypoint joined with the Centre for Addition and Mental Health, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Group to use a Mental Health Client Experience survey tool that allowed for comparison across its peers and at a patient/program level to assess for trends. The question, “Overall, how would you rate the care you are receiving” has become a measure for the Waypoint Quality Improvement Plan. The Corporate balanced scorecard monitors overall satisfaction and the patient/client experience and the program scorecards monitor respect.
“Client Experience surveys are an invaluable method of gathering information and showing our patients/clients that we are interested in providing quality care and actively looking for ways to improve,” says Catharine Mercer (Waypoint). “We measure to improve. Without measuring, we have no way of evaluating quality improvement from the client perspective. The Client Experience surveys have changed the way we implement quality improvement projects.”
The guiding principles for the survey are voice, ethics, engagement of all patients and staff, transparency and curiosity. To ensure an ethical approach, a survey methodology was written and followed. Only peer support surveyors would survey patients/clients; staff were not allowed to survey to ensure confidentiality and allow patients/clients to speak freely to ensure their voice was heard in the manner it was intended. Patients/clients participated in the survey voluntarily and could skip questions or stop the survey at any time. In the last survey cycle 97 per cent of able patients completed a survey with the majority of questions answered. The survey results are shared with patients/clients, staff, senior leadership, board members, management, client advocates, and the public through Waypoint’s website.
Each program area discusses the findings and action plans are developed to address patient/client engagement and satisfaction. Patients/clients and staff prioritize quality improvement projects to implement for the coming year. Since the inception of the Client Experience Survey, Waypoint has implemented more than 35 patient/client-driven quality improvement initiatives focusing on improving food, activities, respect, cultural awareness and inclusion in clinical care decisions.
Patients/clients at Waypoint say that it is important to have their VOICE heard. At Waypoint, VOICE means
Values: how patients/clients see our hospital;
Opinions: what is important to our patients/clients;
Insight: suggestions on how to improve healthcare;
Collaboration: patients/clients want to be partners in care; and
Engagement: patients/clients and staff are key in developing quality improvement plans.
“So often we think staff and patients/clients are so different,” says Catharine Mercer. “We have completed two Client Experience Surveys and two staff surveys and the messages are the same. People are people and both staff and patients/clients say: ‘Listen to me, I am a person; respect me; include me; and keep me safe’.”
“We have made our survey real and taken action, and we can see change because of it,” adds Catharine Mercer. “Our patients /clients are excited to have their VOICE heard and feel included in changes being made.