A Patient’s Quality for life

For several now, a partnership between the UTC research scientists and the EPS Maison Blanche, Compiegne (establishment specialized in mental health disorders) practitioners has allowed special training for hospital staff in seeking day-to-day life quality for the patients. The research team has instated a university diploma for quality in mental health treatments, to train staff and have them more aware of the issues involved.

A Patient’s Quality for life

"As far as health sector workers are concerned, a "quality assessment approach is often perceived as a constraint", notes Jean-Matthieu Prot, a project leader in continuous education programmes at UTC. It is seen as synonymous of "more procedures and admin work" and as a serious re-assessment of their professional practice as a controlling factor.  In order to demonstrate the usefulness of adopting a quality assessment approach, UTC and the EPS Maison Blanche together with the Saint-Anne Mental Health hospital in Paris and Perray, in the Vaucluse (South France), are proposing a university diploma (DU) addressing the question of quality assessment (QA) in mental health treatments and care. One objective assigned to this DU is to improve considerably the image of "quality" per se, too often considered today by the personnel as a control function initiated by the French High Authority for the National Health Sector (HAS).

An initiative at the strong instigation of the French High Authority for the National Health Sector (HAS)

This training package is due both to research done by Jean-Pierre Caliste, emeritus research scientist at UTC, In charge of the specialist Master’s degree on "Standardization, Quality, Certification and Benchmarking" and his meeting in 2007 Maria-Cristina Galeazzi, a professional psychiatrist at a time when the HAZS was issuing new demands that forced the establishments to assess some quality related questions. Maria-Cristina Galeazzi proposed that she represent the Maison Blanche to examine the questions. "Psychiatry is the medical specialty that comes closest to quality concepts, inasmuch as in our day-to-day practice, we must diagnose, assess and readjust our therapies and observe the patients' improvement in an iterative manner again close to QA", says the professional Galeazzi, who is also co-Director for "Quality and Risk Management" at the joint directorate set up for the Groupement Hospitalier de Territoire (GHT) EPS Maison Blanche, Compiegne, CH Sainte-Anne and GPS Perray in the Vaucluse.

Removing differences in quality levels between establishments

Today the demands in terms of standards are the same for the three establishments under GHT who have all expressed the wish to harmonize their knowledge bases. It was indeed at that point that the decision was taken to create a specialist HE-DU diploma for Mental Health Practice. "This called for a considerable amount of preparatory work to disseminate a quality culture that varied a lot among establishments, with the aim to come up with a formula that could be applied to all establishment structures", underlines Jean-Matthieu Prot.

« What we want is to see the in-house vision change in respect to quality concepts and practices, insisting on the cohesive nature of different underlying activities and building up a sense of meaning on a day-to-day basis to enhance relationships between mental health care teams and their services".  A considerable amount of pedagogy was instilled here to improve the trainees' perception of a quality-intensive approach to their profession. This DU course aims at helping trainees to accept and use a given methodology, enabling them to correctly identify a problem area and improve on it and to identify and propose objective markers to assess the quality of the service provided and the care given to the patients. One objective is to develop methods to share thoughts about how to establish work protocols that comply with each professional's constraints. The DU offers a recognized diploma that can lead to the person being designated as the 'QA referent' in his/her service. The QA referents then should help disseminate a shared culture among the establishments. To this end, the lecturers have the trainees focus both on acquiring new knowledge and tools to conduct change for project management, in tools and methods (analysis, risk management, EPP (assessment of professional practice)) and getting health sector professionals and service users involved (representatives of users and manger at the HAS, for example. The participants on the DU course will be invited to analyse the processes and practices by using quality assessment tools relevant to mental health cases and their context. They will implement improvements, for the patients, for their families for the health sector professionals also, in a tutored project. Following this unique training course (in France), the persons trained (doctors, health sector mangers, ,nurses … will be able to define an action-oriented logic that aims at improving professional practice and to better structure in-house and external PR communication  in compliance with today's certification demands on health establishments and care units in general.