Creating culture of improvement through accreditation

The health and care sector is currently facing many challenges. The pandemic may not be making headlines, but it is having an impact in all areas from bed availability to staff shortages.
Trying to embed a culture of improvement during such challenging times may be questioned by some. They may feel that bringing in fresh ideas or trying to find a different way of doing things are not top priority. When staff become entrenched in their working lives, are faced with changing targets, there is not always a willingness to consider change.
Driving better outcomes through a culture of improvement

Organisational culture is a powerful way to drive improved outcomes and exceptional performance. Building and providing a culture of improvement is crucial to build the foundations for the values and beliefs that drive behaviour. Curiosity and new ideas should be nurtured as part of a culture of improving the way things are done.
A positive culture has shown to influence the performance of organisations, leading to a 33% increase in profitability (Gallup), 43% increased productivity (Hay Group) and 66% reduced sick leave (Forbes).
But what are the challenges in trying to change a culture and ways of working that are deeply entrenched with fixed mindsets and how can we set about creating a positive culture?
Breaking down silos of working and introducing common goals and shared sets of values are crucial to embedding a culture of quality improvement, disrupting the usual order and encouraging ways of better ways of working. Everyone across the organisation must know and understand the purpose, vision and values that the organisation is striving for and work together to drive improved performance. A purpose aligned culture can build resilience and ensure that high standards of healthcare are sustained.
Accreditation can pave the way for new ways of working

Health and care providers have to assure their patients, their board, their regulators and wider stakeholders that they are delivering high quality, safe services to every patient in their care.
Accreditation can provide a framework to put in place new ways of working as well as providing a solid evidence base that the changes are making a difference. Agreeing to embark on a programme of improvement is just the start. Throughout the programme, encouraging, enabling and empowering staff teams to identify where improvement can be made and view quality as a constant cycle enables the development of a culture of improvement.
It’s not only important to look at the standout areas that need to change. Being able to identify an area that might be operating well, but could be even better with a few changes, is equally meaningful.
Take for example Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes. It has been through the CHKS accreditation process three times, and this has helped to create a culture where everyone recognises the importance of striving for excellence. This culture of continuous improvement drives everything the hospice does. Encouraging collaborative working across the organisation has laid the foundations for thinking creatively about how improvement can be achieved and how each department can work together for a common purpose.
When Hospice UK highlighted that certain demographic groups were under represented in hospice care, Willen Hospice decided to set up an awareness programme to ensure it could provide the best experience for people with learning disabilities.
While, in general, the hospice does not care for a high number of people with learning disabilities, the senior leadership team recognised that having an understanding and awareness of the daily lived experiences of someone with learning difficulties would help to play a part in providing the best care possible.
Changing a culture does require a certain amount of hard work and commitment but the results and benefits for the organisation that works together and understands the need for continuous improvement are clear. Improvements not only support client experiences but will contribute to standardisation and efficiency. It doesn’t have to be a difficult process of forcing people to change, but more about recognising and accepting that we can look at things in a different way to help identify areas for improvement to enhance quality.The health and care sector is currently facing many challenges. The pandemic may not be making headlines, but it is having an impact in all areas from bed availability to staff shortages.

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