Quinte’s Commitment to Elder-friendly Care 

In 2015, Quinte Health Care adopted a new vision: to be leaders and clinical experts in providing quality care for older adults and foster a shift in culture to truly patient and family-centered experience for older adults.

This vision is one of the reasons behind Quinte’s decision to join the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement’s (CFHI) Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Collaborative, offered in collaboration with the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN).

Kim Fletcher, team lead in the Collaborative for Quinte, sat down with CFHI this month to delve into her organization’s commitment to elder-friendly care and their experience in the ACE Collaborative. 


Quinte’s Commitment to Elder-friendly Care


A great opportunity

The ACE Collaborative is a 12-month quality improvement collaborative aimed at supporting elder-friendly models of care and practices.

The Collaborative is modeled after Mount Sinai Hospital’s ACE unit. The ACE strategy at Mount Sinai consists of making small but important changes across the hospital – including grouping frail elderly patients in one unit designed to care for their specific needs – to discharge patients faster, minimize harm and cut costs.

CFHI’s ACE Collaborative includes 17 teams from across Canada and one from Iceland. All teams receive coaching, funding and educational materials from CFHI to support their initiatives in becoming leaders in healthcare practices for older patients.

The Quinte team learned about the opportunity to join the ACE Collaborative during a site visit to Mount Sinai.

“We felt it was a great opportunity to gain knowledge from a group of experts while working with other hospitals who were embarking on a similar journey,” said Fletcher, who works as a registered nurse at Quinte.

For Quinte, this initiative has provided a chance to integrate senior care best practices and care components with the organization’s new Interprofessional Care Team model.

“We want to shift the way we care for our elderly, addressing all areas of need and specifically preventing the impact of common geriatric syndromes.”

Quinte is focusing on new sustainable approaches to improve its service models. This reflects a shift in traditional thinking that underpins the organization’s administrative culture and the ability to identify risk factors and needs for geriatric patients to help them maintain independence.

 A cohesive unit

With the Collaborative officially concluding in March 2017, the Quinte team is currently in the implementation phase, setting up an ACE unit that the organization describes as “a senior-friendly environment that supports physical, social and cognitive activity and independence for the elderly hospitalize patients.” Quinte’s ACE Unit has incorporated several best practices including models of care and recommendations that ensure a senior-friendly environment.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Quinte team, however.

“When we first opened the ACE unit in April 2016, we had several challenges that as a team we needed to work on separate from the project, including becoming more cohesive as a team, staff resources and knowledge,” said Fletcher.

Joining CFHI’s ACE Collaborative has been instrumental to Quinte’s success. Fletcher and her interprofessional team, consisting of herself, a physician, nurse, member of senior management and patient advisor, have gained new knowledge, learned about the use of tools to help focus their initiative, and benefitted from the coaching and support from CFHI throughout their journey.

“With coaching, we could take a step back, redirect ourselves and make skills adaptation a priority with professional practice.”

Positive momentum

Fletcher now feels that the Quinte team is in a good place.

“The team is a collaborative itself and we are committed to making a difference with our patient populations. We are proud of the knowledge transfer and the focus we have had around patient mobility.”

Quinte’s ACE unit has now been in operation for nine months and Fletcher can already see a culture change – in particular, that nurses, therapies and physicians are “talking the same language.”

Quinte is already seeing improvement, with increased gains noted in September and October of 2016: mobility in patients has increased by almost 90% and patient discharge has increased by almost 80%.

As Quinte’s ACE unit is relatively new, Fletcher says her team has been focused on building the program. Now, though, they are ready to make it grow and evolve.

“We feel we have made great gains. Now that the process is embedded in our ACE unit, we look forward to being the ‘innovator’ for other units in the organization.”