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: Home Care gives a snapshot of what Albertans experience as clients 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 client experience and quality of care and reflect on the functioning of the home care system. The interactive charts for the experience measures allow you to see zone level results relative to other zones and geographic area (i.e., metro, urban, or rural). 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 information 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.

How often is the information on the FOCUS on Healthcare: Home Care website updated?

The client experience information is updated every three years.

What is home care?

Home care is a type of continuing care service that supports individuals’ health and wellness goals by providing personal and healthcare services to clients in their home or other private residential setting (e.g., designated supportive living site or seniors lodge). Home care aims to keep individuals safe and independent in their own home or care setting for as long as possible. Home care clients are assigned a case manager, who assesses their needs using a standardized tool, develops a personalized care plan, and coordinates access and delivery of care and services as outlined in the plan.

What type of home care client is reported on FOCUS on Healthcare: Home Care?

In Alberta, home care clients are categorized into six main groups: acute, rehabilitation, long term supportive, end-of-life, maintenance, and wellness. Long term supportive and maintenance clients have chronic health conditions that are either stable or unstable and require ongoing support to live at home. At present, FOCUS on Healthcare: Home Care reflects the experiences of clients who completed the HQCA’s Alberta Seniors Home Care Client Experience Survey. Clients eligible to complete this survey are seniors who were aged 65 and older, had no cognitive impairment, and were receiving long term supportive and maintenance care. This home care client group is among the largest in Alberta.

Why is home care client 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 client, experience element for home care and can be used in working towards addressing the Triple Aim, and improving Alberta’s health system.

Patient/client 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: Home Care 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.

Why is there no information reported on clinical care and delivery of care in FOCUS on Healthcare: Home Care?

At present, it is difficult to report information publicly about home care because of data and analytical issues. However, stakeholders are working hard to resolve these issues, and we will continue to learn from and work with our partners, so that we can include information about clinical care and delivery of care in future FOCUS on Healthcare: Home Care updates.

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.

Improvements in the quality of care that home care clients experience are typically at the provider level. Therefore, leaders and managers of home care provider organizations are the ones who most likely act on the information in this website. However, the quality of care clients receive is also the result of services provided in other areas of the health care system, such as primary care. Leaders and managers in these other areas of the healthcare system can also support conversations to target home care improvement efforts.