International partnership improves long-term care quality

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Older couple embracing with greenery in background

A Canada-U.S. partnership is helping resource-strapped long-term care organizations improve resident outcomes, says a new study.

The study, which assessed the Seniors Quality Leap Initiative (SQLI), an initiative started in 2010 in North America to improve clinical quality and safety for seniors, showed that quality of care improved in most of the 68 facilities involved in the project and in the network as a whole.

“This collaborative community of practice is a replicable real-life demonstration that scientifically sound evidence can be used to improve the quality of long-term care,” said John Hirdes, lead author and professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. “Organizations participating in SQLI worked together to improve care processes in ways that enhance quality through a shared commitment to identifying needs, employing flexible but practical initiatives and evaluating the impact of these initiatives.”

The study relied on ongoing clinical assessment records related to pain management and included long-term care residents and patients in 14 organizations in Canada and the U.S. between 2014 and 2017. The study used data for more than 11,000 unique residents/patients in 68 facilities associated with 14 different long-term care organizations.

“SQLI created a safe zone that encouraged each participating organization to identify gaps in evidence- based practice,” said co-author Tammy Retalic, chief nursing officer and vice president, patient care services, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. “Using their internal quality improvement processes, each member organization identified and implemented strategies designed to enhance their own internal results with the goal of increasing the overall scores for the SQLI collaborative. The format resulted in open conversations about difficult challenges that ultimately improved practices for all the member sites.”

The study, “The Seniors Quality Leap Initiative: An International Collaborative to Improve Quality in Long-term Care,” was authored by John Hirdes (Waterloo), Paul Katz (Florida State University), John Morris (Hebrew SeniorLife), Tammy Retalic (Hebrew SeniorLife), and Cyrelle Muskat (Baycrest Health Sciences) and was published in the Journal of the Medical Directors Association.

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