FAQ

What is FOCUS on Healthcare?

FOCUS stands for “Fostering Open Conversations that Unleash Solutions”. This website is one area of the FOCUS on Healthcare website. FOCUS on Healthcare: Designated Supportive Living gives a snapshot of what Albertans experience as residents in this area of continuing care, so that providers, decision-makers, and the public can have informed conversations about improvements in this area of Alberta’s healthcare system.

How can I use the information on the website?

The website presents measures in the form of interactive charts. The key measures were determined through robust stakeholder consultations to ensure they described important aspects of resident experience and quality of care and reflect on the functioning of the designated supportive living system. The interactive charts for the experience measures allow you to see information for a site relative to comparable sites. You can see results for a selected site in relation to other sites that are located in the same zone and geographic setting (i.e., urban or rural), and are similar by operator type and size. By looking at the charts, you can review your results relative to others and then start a conversation about why the results may be different and start to explore where there are opportunities for improvement. On the website, beside each chart there are prompting questions that help you interpret and use the results. Beneath each chart there is detailed information about the chart being looked at and more specific prompting questions to consider as you reflect on the information.

Does the HQCA provide info about other healthcare settings?

Yes, please visit the FOCUS on Healthcare page to see what areas of healthcare the HQCA is currently measuring and reporting on and what areas will be coming in the future. The HQCA also provides information about other aspects of our healthcare system through surveys, studies, and reviews which are available on the main HQCA website www.hqca.ca

What areas of continuing care are reported on FOCUS on Healthcare?

FOCUS on Healthcare reports information about long term care, designated supportive living, and home care.

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How often is the information on the FOCUS on Healthcare: Designated Supportive Living website updated?

The information is updated annually or every three years, depending on the chart/measure.

What is designated supportive living?

Designated supportive living (DSL) is a type of continuing care service for individuals with complex medical needs that are more predictable than long term care. Residents of designated supportive living receive 24-hour on-site, scheduled and unscheduled, personal care and support services from health care aides and/or licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

Individuals become eligible for a space or a room in DSL based on an assessment of their needs by Alberta Health Services (AHS) using a standardized tool which identifies an individuals’ health care needs, and the type or level of care that is needed to meet these needs. DSL is a general term that encompasses the following levels of care: DSL3, DSL4 and DSL4-Dementia (DSL4D). These levels are explained below.

Designated supportive living (DSL3)

Designated supportive living 3 (DSL3) is a setting that provides 24-hour onsite personal care and support by healthcare aides. Scheduled professional care, provided by professional care staff (e.g., nursing, rehabilitation therapy, etc.), is provided by home care.

Designated supportive living (DSL4)

Designated supportive living 4 (DSL4) is a setting that provides a higher level of personal care and support than DSL3, to individuals that require both scheduled and unscheduled care needs.

Designated supportive living – Dementia (DSL4D)

Designated supportive living 4D (DSL4D) provides specialized dementia care. It is for individuals with moderate to severe dementia, and who require personal care and support that is both scheduled and unscheduled to meet their needs.

Why is resident and family experience important to overall health system quality?

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has developed the Triple AIM Framework to describe an approach for optimizing health system performance. This framework has three components: (1) Experience of Care, (2) Population Health, (3) Per Capita Cost. The HQCA’s survey and Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta Health administrative data used throughout this website comprise the patient, or in this case resident, experience element for designated supportive living and can be used in working towards addressing the Triple Aim, and improving Alberta’s health system.

Patient/resident experience, as described in the Framework, includes but is also more than what is measured in patient satisfaction or experience surveys. It also encompasses their experience across the dimensions of quality. These quality dimensions are captured in the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health: Acceptability, accessibility, appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency, and safety.

Will the HQCA be adding more measures to FOCUS on Healthcare: Designated Supportive Living in the future?

In deciding whether to add new measures, we work with our stakeholders to identify new topics of interest and what information is needed to describe how our health care system functions. We look at whether the data is available to create the new measures, and consider if the measure can be presented in a way that starts a conversation about improvement. Moving forward, we are committed to continuing to work with our stakeholders to identify new measures.

Who will be acting on the information in this website?

Healthcare improvement is a complex process that involves people at all levels of the healthcare system. Many sources of information are used to identify where improvement is needed, decide where to focus improvement efforts, select solutions that might work, and then determine if the change was an improvement. The measures on this website are only one source of information that can be used to identify where improvements are needed and to identify areas of success.

Improvement in the quality of care provided in designated supportive living are typically made at the site level. Therefore, leaders and managers at the designated supportive living site are the ones who will most likely act on information in this website. However, quality of care is also the result of services provided in other areas of the healthcare system, such as primary care, the emergency department, and acute care (hospitals). Leaders and managers in these other areas of the healthcare system can also support conversations to target improvement efforts in designated supportive living.