A THREE-MEMBER accreditation team will visit St. Joseph's General Hospital next week.

A THREE-MEMBER accreditation team will visit St. Joseph's General Hospital next week.

Comox hospital readying for visit by accreditation team

St. Joseph's General Hospital is ready for what could be its last acute care-services accreditation survey.

St. Joseph’s General Hospital is ready for what could be its last acute care-services accreditation survey, according to hospital president and CEO Jane Murphy.

“I’m very confident,” responds Murphy when asked about the coming survey by Accreditation Canada. “We look forward to the survey, and certainly we’ll learn, through the survey, the things we’re doing well and areas we can continue to improve upon — and that’s the whole point of the survey.”

Three surveyors from Accreditation Canada will visit St. Joseph’s from Monday to Friday next week, assessing all areas of the hospital, including leadership and governance, using national standards.

Murphy notes regular accreditation surveys used to be held every three years, but are now held every four. Because acute-care services are expected to transfer to the new Comox Valley hospital in 2017, if St. Joseph’s receives accreditation status after this survey, it will be the last time it’s surveyed for acute-care services.

St. Joseph’s lost its accreditation after its last regular survey in October 2010. The surveyor’s report mentioned a disconnect between senior leadership and staff/physicians, low staff morale, patient safety issues not being fully integrated into hospital operations, and patient flow issues as some issues of note.

After a focused visit in April 2011, the hospital was granted ‘accreditation with condition’ status and in May 2012, it was granted full accreditation status.

Murphy stresses the hospital doesn’t simply prepare for the Accreditation Canada surveyors’ visit in the months, or even years, beforehand.

“We really work continuously on the standards to continually improve as an organization,” she says. “So, it’s certainly not an approach of doing things just for accreditation and just before accreditation; it’s really about developing systems and processes and working on improving the quality of care and service over the years, and continuing on to do so, that we’re really focused on.”

Meanwhile, Murphy says hospital administration have been working with staff so they are prepared for the surveyors’ visit.

“Some of our staff, they’re a little anxious to be speaking with the surveyors,” she explains. “So we’ve been spending time with the staff to help them understand the types of questions the surveyors might ask, and more importantly why they’re asking them, just to assure our staff are prepared to talk about the care and service that they provide and feel comfortable talking to the surveyors.”

Though the hospital doesn’t need accreditation status to continue operating, “without a doubt … it’s important for the organization to have a successful survey, and we’re confident,” she adds.

St. Joseph’s General Hospital is owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria, and is directed by a local Board of Directors. It has an Affiliation Agreement with Island Health, (formerly called Vancouver Island Health Authority).

Survey results are expected within a month.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com