Get Excellence in Care with Quality First

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According to the website of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), Quality First is a framework to help aging services providers achieve excellence and earn the public’s trust. Quality First is about raising the consciousness of all the stakeholders – government, consumers, the people we serve and their families.

Quality First applies to the full continuum of aging services including adult day services, home health, community services, senior housing, assisted living residences, continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes. All AAHSA members can improve performance by using Quality First in areas such as continuous quality improvement, better human resources management and risk management. Most importantly, adopting AAHSA Quality First can help individuals better understand the available aging-services options and therefore better trust these organizations.

The Core of Quality First
The 10 Elements of Quality that cover all aspects of aging-services organizations are the basis for this philosophy. Each Element ensures that senior-serving agencies provide better quality care and services for consumers. They are as follows:

1. Commitment
2. Governance and Accountability
3. Leading-Edge Care and Services
4. Community Involvement
5. Continuous Quality Improvement
6. Human Resources Development
7. Consumer-Friendly Information
8. Consumer Participation
9. Research Findings and Education
10. Public Trust and Consumer Confidence

Implementation and Outcome
Senior-serving agencies are constantly seeking to improve quality of care and quality of life for the people they serve and their families. There are, however, numerous ways providers can implement Quality First. According to the AAHSA website, one such response they received from a nursing home member mentioned how the facility initiated a focus on person-centered care and a cultural transformation from a medical model. Increasing staff awareness and upgrading plants and equipment are other initiatives taking place as a result of this Quality First.

Consumers Reap Benefits of Quality First
Consumers can use Quality First when seeking a quality long-term care provider for themselves or a loved one that offers care and services they can trust.

The free Consumers’ Guide to Quality Aging Services includes questions consumers can ask when they visit senior housing, assisted living residences, retirement communities and nursing homes, and when they inquire about adult day and home health services.

The answers consumers receive can help them learn more about the organization’s commitment to older adults; evaluate the quality of its care and services; and compare it to others.

The guide is available for free download at http://www.aahsa.org/consumer_guide

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