The QAPI feature that will be this month’s focus is incorporating caregivers broadly in a shared QAPI mission. A mission statement communicates the organization’s overall function, its reason for existing. Mission statements may also define an organization’s core competencies, its main services, and its main customers and markets.

In health care, missions often directly relate to the care and well-being of patients, residents, family members, and other customers. A clear, effective mission can also help communicate the priorities and values of an organization to external stakeholders. A mission provides caregivers, administrators, suppliers, partners, and providers with a constant reminder of what the organization exists to achieve.

Workforce members should understand how their work supports that mission, especially caregivers—the people on the front lines of delivering services to patients, residents, and other customers. Mission is typically converted into actions that guide the daily work of caregivers through the development of strategy, strategic objectives, and related action plans.

The Baldrige criteria and QAPI both recognize the importance of using mission to help everyone align their work to achieve a common purpose.

Relationship To Bronze Criteria

At the Bronze level, applicants provide background information about themselves that serves as the foundation on which to manage their organization and focus their quality improvement activities.

The mission of the organization is an integral part of this foundation. Applicants for the Bronze award are asked to explain their mission. They are also asked to explain the factors that influence mission, including their core competencies. In addition, the applicant should explain the key elements that engage caregivers and other workers in achieving the mission.

Applicants for the Silver and Gold Awards will show how their key quality management processes are consistent with the foundation information set forth in their answers to the Bronze criteria.

Relationship To Silver Criteria

Applicants for the Silver criteria must demonstrate how senior leaders lead and guide the organization, which may include setting a clear direction consistent with the organization’s mission. Senior leaders must also communicate with the workforce (caregivers) in part to engage them in achieving high performance objectives consistent with the mission.

An organization at the Silver level must develop and implement strategy, which should be consistent with the mission. It is not possible to implement strategy—and therefore achieve mission—without engaging caregivers broadly in the actions (work) needed to ensure success.

The Silver Award asks the organization to engage, manage, and develop its workforce (including caregivers) to utilize its full potential and ensure their alignment with the organization’s mission, strategy, and action plans.

Applicants must demonstrate their level of “workforce engagement,” which includes the extent to which caregivers fully contribute to achieving the organization’s mission. Organizations with high levels of workforce engagement are often characterized by high-performing work environments in which caregivers and other workers are motivated to do their utmost to serve patients and support organization success.
Applicants at the Silver level are also asked to report results related to the accomplishment of their mission as it relates to achieving outcomes critical to current and ongoing success.

Relationship To Gold Criteria

At the Gold level, in addition to meeting the Silver level requirements, applicants are asked to engage the workforce in achieving the organization’s mission and vision. In the leadership category, senior leaders set and communicate the organization’s mission, vision, and values to caregivers and others in the workforce. Senior leaders create a workforce environment where staff are engaged in the accomplishment of the mission and achieve high performance. Applicants have the same requirements for workforce engagement and reporting of results.

Following Criteria Gets Results

Janet Snipes, administrator of 2014 Silver recipient Holly Heights Nursing Center in Denver, talks about the value the Baldrige criteria had in her organization. “Our Quality Award journey has taken the elements of QAPI to a whole new level in developing a systematic approach to achieving performance excellence,” she says.
“The Silver criteria helped us to refine a multitude of processes and implement a results-driven approach to quality improvement.”
Snipes says that Holly Heights used the Baldrige Criteria to help them to clearly define the methods they were using to engage staff in achieving their mission.
This thought process brought about a systematic approach, motivation, and enthusiasm amongst the senior leaders in providing daily examples and a multitude of opportunities to demonstrate mission accomplishment. Now, “caregivers, line staff, and all shifts are actively engaged in recognizing and celebrating success in achieving our mission,” Snipes says.
These accomplishments inspire high performance, which helps to achieve performance excellence, which then correlates into positive organizational results, she says. “The culture within our workforce has never been more engaged in ensuring the success of our community, and we attribute this success to our Quality Award journey,” she says. “We have learned so much throughout this process and continue this journey with full enthusiasm as we enrich the lives of our residents, families, and staff.”
Barbara Baylis, RN MSN, vice president of clinical services at Sava Senior Care Consulting, is a nurse executive accomplished in clinical and quality improvement systems. She serves as a Quality Award Examiner and is a past member of the Quality Award Board of Overseers. Mark Blazey, EdD, is a leading expert in the application of the Baldrige criteria for performance excellence. Blazey serves as a member of the Quality Award Panel of Judges as well as a current member of the Quality Award Board of Overseers.