I am passionate about the role that quality plays in healthcare. We should always be striving to improve what we do and how we do it. Quality Improvement is about providing the best experience for our clients. It means delivering safe, effective services, being accountable, innovative, and finding ways to do better. It involves engaging staff, clients and caregivers, and utilizing their knowledge about how things work and how we could make them better.
1. What is involved in your role?
As the Quality Lead, I work across all areas of the organization on quality improvement initiatives like developing our Quality Framework, improving access to services, streamlining processes and creating efficiencies. I also help services use data to connect to the work they are doing. For example, how do we know that what we are doing is helping people? I’ve worked with all of our services to determine what measure we can use to determine the outcomes of our clients. It could be whether someone met their goals or had fewer identified needs.
I am the lead for Accreditation. We are an Accredited organization through Accreditation Canada, and our next review is in November 2019. My role involves reviewing the standards we need to meet and ensuring all areas of the organization can show how we are meeting those standards.
My role also involves leading and supporting quality improvement initiatives across the organization. One of the projects I’m working on right now is with the FACT Team. We are working on improving access to Intensive Adult Services for individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or psychosis by reducing wait times.
Part of our Quality Framework focuses on improving the client experience. We need to understand what we’re doing well and how we can do better from the people who access our services. We’ve recently developed a survey to help us gather feedback from clients, and have posted this on our website as well as made it available in all of our offices. Click here to view the survey.
2. Why did you become involved in the mental health field?
I graduated with a Social Work degree, and my first job ended up being as a Crisis Worker with a CMHA in another area. I quickly grew to love working in this field and developed a passion for working with individuals experiencing a mental health issue, addiction or crisis situation. Being able to provide support to people in a time of need and seeing the change over time when they are able to get the help they need was a privilege that I truly valued.
3. What brought you to CMHA?
During my time as a crisis worker, I went back to school and completed a Masters in Health Administration. I had several courses that focused on quality as it relates to healthcare, and realized how passionate I was about it. I see such value in the role that quality plays within an organization and within the greater healthcare system. I previously worked at another CMHA, and the mission and vision of CMHA was always one that resonated with me, so when the opportunity presented itself to move into a role that combined my passion for both mental health and quality at a CMHA I jumped at the chance. I applied for and was hired as the Quality Improvement Leader at what was CMHA Grand River Branch.
4. Have you always worked in mental health?
I have worked in various roles over the years in healthcare, including hospital and primary care, but once I started working in mental health, that is where I have stayed. I spent many years as a Crisis Worker, then was briefly the Quality Improvement Leader until the merger to become CMHA WW. With the merger brought a new opportunity, and I took on the role of Manager for Here 24/7 for a few years before moving into my current role as Quality Lead.
5. How do you support quality at CMHA?
I am passionate about the role that quality plays in healthcare. We should always be striving to improve what we do and how we do it. Quality Improvement is about providing the best experience for our clients. It means delivering safe, effective services, being accountable, innovative, and finding ways to do better. It involves engaging staff, clients and caregivers, and utilizing their knowledge about how things work and how we could make them better. Supporting and empowering others to not only learn but use quality improvement tools and methodology in their everyday work is my way of helping to build a culture of quality within the organization. Quality improvement isn’t the job of just one person – everyone plays a part and it’s how we drive change.
6. What are you proud of during your time at CMHA?
I am proud of the role I play in improving client outcomes and experience. We need to know how we’re doing to know how we need to get better. That involves measuring, tracking, asking questions, reviewing processes and developing innovative solutions. By helping to facilitate these processes I feel like I’m contributing to the health and wellbeing of the people we support, which is the whole reason I work at CMHA WW.
If you are in crisis or wish to discuss whether CMHA has the right service for you, call Here 24/7: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE 247).
Follow the ‘Faces of CMHA’ series for a glimpse into the lives of the people who spend each day at the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington working to inspire and support people to achieve the quality of life they desire. Join our team, click here to view current employment opportunities at CMHA WW.