Ranch Ehrlo does important work – helping people, but we always want to do better.
Sometimes, incidents occur – a broken wrist for a participant while playing sports, a participant self-harming, or an injury occurring in a physical intervention intended to protect a participant from harm when imminent risk is present.
We want to know when people think we could do better! We invite feedback from people we serve, parents, families, friends, and workers, in fact, we survey or interview these groups every year. There are other times when someone has an immediate concern about the supports or services we provide. Any time a concern is brought to the attention of anyone at the Ranch it is taken very seriously. We have a special department, Quality Improvement (QI), with the job of finding out all the details of an incident and ensuring Ranch Ehrlo learns from every incident.
This QI process is called a Quality of Care Review
Here’s how it works
Many things can trigger a quality of care review including a participant, a family member, or referring agency expressing concerns. When that happens, we reach out to them immediately.
“The purpose is to listen, seek to understand, hear directly from the person, and to indicate there will be a formal follow-up completed,” explained Ryan Labatt, the director of quality improvement.
During the review, it’s critical we hear from the involved participant, other participants as needed, staff where it makes sense, and everyone who has any information about the incident. The QI team will also review any reports or other information concerning the incident. Once all of this has been completed, we write a final quality of care report, outlining the findings and recommendations.
“It is critically important that we are able to document exactly what happened,” Ryan said.
Review reports also indicate specific recommendations that are intended to guide programs in implementing learnings.
We share the findings and recommendations from the review with everyone who participated in the review, the participant, the staff members, social workers, and whoever brought the incident to our attention.
“Quality improvement recognizes how difficult it can be to bring forward concerns, so we will thank them for raising them and allowing Ranch Ehrlo the opportunity to conduct the review, learn from it, and make the needed changes to prevent similar things from happening again,” Ryan said.
The recommendations in the review are used to develop a plan of action to improve our services. QI follows up to ensure the recommendations have been acted on.
“In my experience, parents, and family members who have forwarded concerns appreciate that Ranch Ehrlo has a formal quality of care process and that they believe their concerns were taken seriously,” Ryan said. “Another benefit of this process is being able to build trust with parents and family and getting to a place where the matter is resolved to the degree that there is a workable path forward.”
What sets us apart
The Ranch is an accredited agency, which means we must meet certain expectations when following up on critical incidents. Any lessons we learn in one review QI shares with the rest of the program (confidential information is removed). This way, everyone can learn.
“We don’t want reports to end up on a shelf,” Ryan said.
In fact, we’ve been told we’re one of the few organizations that have a quality of care process, which includes formalized reviews, findings, recommendations, and follow-ups on those recommendations.
“We’re all about learning and not becoming complacent,” Ryan said. “We should celebrate our successes while remaining focussed on how we can improve.”