Fraser Coast Hospice, QLD recently underwent interim accreditation and Alicia Trimingham-Turl shares her experience of it here.
1. Tell me a little bit about Fraser Coast Hospice.
Fraser Coast Hospice (FCH) is a brand-new palliative care facility, which opened on 12 August, and then commenced service following its licensing on 25 October, followed by our interim accreditation to the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards on the 28 October. We have literally started with just the bare bones of a new building and have worked our way from the ground up to interim accreditation.
2. How many staff you have working there, and how many clients?
FCH has 26 staff, six patients at any one time and we have 30 orientated volunteers, which in itself is a pretty remarkable achievement within the first three months of operation, particularly during this challenging time with the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. What was it like to go through an ‘interim accreditation’ – have you been through accreditation in another role, and how was it different?
I have been through accreditation (with ACHS) in similar size hospices – six to be precise! However, there is a big difference with interim accreditation as we had to have our ‘skeleton’ in place: re: how the facility is going to be run, to be able to present to the assessors. Although we didn’t have to do audits and present data. I was able to draw on my earlier experiences, but having said that, FHC has its own identity.
4. How was the experience? Was there anything in particular you learnt?
I think with having the interim accreditation so early, you do need to be prepared to avoid rushing, particularly so close to opening for service delivery. And, while it was essential to have good policies and procedures in place, it wasn’t stressful. Interim accreditation allows an organisation to start planning their processes and delivery of safe services, rather than commencing and then deciding on what to do, which is a better outcome for our clients and their families. So, it was certainly a case of ‘hitting the ground’ running.
5. How did you regard what the Assessors brought to the assessment?
It can be a stressful time, but the Assessors were in contact prior to their visits and were both very supportive and interested in the facility, and one of them had experience with hospices. The other Assessor was from a busier hospital background and would have had the opportunity to see and understand the perspective from another sector.
6. Is there anything else you would say to other new ACHS members who may be undergoing an interim assessment?
Yes, prepare early, and put together a team, as one person can’t do it all and I think it is important to reach out to like services for support, because most likely everyone has been through it before and there is always more than one way of doing something. And, if in doubt, consult with the ACHS Customer Services Manager – they are available and they understand how to navigate the Standards, which can diffuse your concerns. Interim Accreditation for FCH was a much better experience than I imagined and we are very proud to have achieved it.