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125 potential points of failure

It has been a big week for the Anchor Excellence team with a range of interesting and challenging client assignments.

One of our clients finally saw the commencement of their accreditation site audit (of course un-announced). As the accreditation expiry was looming, it was obvious to us all we should expect a visit any day.

As part of our AnchorAssure support program, the GM of the home reached out to let me know and was initially full of trepidation. ‘We have 4 assessors over three days (gulp)’.  My first words of encouragement ‘you have done the hard yards with your team – enjoy the process and let your team shine’. And shine they did.

Now anyone, in this industry, knows it is near impossible to really anticipate what the Assessment Report will actually present like – how many pages, how many quotes, how many Not Mets and what additional information peppered throughout, and that’s coming from a seasoned compliance professional!

The Home’s team were super charged to absolutely cover every bit of territory, they were all over their self-assessment, checked in with families and residents to see who would like to connect with an Assessor’s – really encouraging active engagement. Their commitment so high they all stayed back each day till 10pm (of their own choosing) to make sure they were well and truly ready for the next day. Such commitment – awe inspiring.

As a coach and mentor, I have seen this team grow and evolve. But I too noticed my own building anxiety for each update or exit discussion.

‘Are they responding well enough to the questions’, ‘are they listening to the questions sufficiently’, when the Lead Assessor gives feedback – it starts positive and ends with a ‘but’? Is that feedback for Continuous Improvement or is it a risk issue that could point to a view of noncompliance – hard to tell?

So if you can relate to this circumstance- Either as a leader at service level or a leader at a regional or executive level, I have no doubt you can relate to the building pressure in your guts or head starting to worry about what the result may be.

This is clearly not what the system should all be about, but it is the system we have and it’s not the fault of the Assessors- they were nothing but professional, courteous and encouraging. But you have to wonder – something is dreadfully wrong when this visceral response starts to arise.

So, I got to thinking why this is and here are some interesting facts

  •  There are 8 standards – yep knew that
  •  Those 8 standards have a total of 42 requirements – yep knew that too

But when you dive deeper

  •  There are one hundred and eight (108) ‘ands’ built into those 42 requirements (if you are wondering yes, I did count them all)
  •  Seventeen (17) requirements where there is no ‘and’, but many are double barreled components.

So, if you are wondering why you are anxious and exhausted then it is because, on my count, there are one hundred and twenty-five (125) potential failure points.

And if you thought that bar was high, then you also need to recall that eleven (11) of those requirements set the benchmark of ‘each consumer’.

So not an 80% achievement, not a 50% achievement but 100% of the consumers sampled by the Assessors throughout the visit.

There really is a problem in the system when the benchmarks for success is literally each consumer at 100%. Now I am the first to advocate for the Standards and their realigned focus to the lived experience of consumers and for really bringing a sharpened focus to consumer facing risk, but this is not sustainable.

So whilst its cold comfort, if like me, you worry – ‘have we done enough’, ‘are the team on the ground good enough’,’ is our record keeping sufficient and consistent’,’ ‘are we confident residents or representatives won’t drop a bombshell complaint’ and ‘will there be a blindside’ despite best efforts, ‘have we crossed checked everything’.

Find comfort, that even those providing support and guidance, worry about these things too.

So, if you are an aged care leader and you have mastered full compliance across all the Standards then a hearty congratulations. You really should revel in the homes achievement because you have managed to take your service to the next level in terms of service performance.

We salute you and send gratitude for how far you have come. For those of you who have had a different experience then be rest assured you are not on your own.

If you need, we are here to support and guide you overcoming those 125 potential failure points, enable a great lived experience for your consumers (both quality and safe) and to also provide you a rewarding and enjoyable career!

Thank you to all leaders who are working overdrive – you are our heroes.


Article written by Cynthia Payne


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