This year’s Council on Accreditation review process was done virtually, culminating in closing meeting with peer reviewers. Seen in this screenshot are Communitas CEO Karyn Santiago with peer reviewers Peter Portlock, Brucy Hardy, and Doug Sabourin. (Communitas photo: Angelika Dawson)

This year’s Council on Accreditation review process was done virtually, culminating in closing meeting with peer reviewers. Seen in this screenshot are Communitas CEO Karyn Santiago with peer reviewers Peter Portlock, Brucy Hardy, and Doug Sabourin. (Communitas photo: Angelika Dawson)

Communitas Supportive Care in Abbotsford earns ‘standard of excellence’

Council on Accreditation team praises organization for quality of service

Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford has achieved a standard of excellence from the Council on Accreditation (COA).

This is the second time that Communitas has achieved this standard; the last time was in 2017.

Accreditation with COA happens on a four-year cycle and involves a thorough audit of an organization, including services to individuals, finances, risk management, human resources, and more.

Preparation for COA begins a year before the peer reviewers visit. This year, due to the pandemic, the process was done virtually, culminating in a week of online meetings with all three reviewers and one day of in-person site visits with one reviewer at the beginning of June.

In the year leading up to the June meetings, a team of Communitas staff spent months gathering information to create the Self Study Information and Onsite Documents that the peer reviewers read prior to their virtual visit.

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George Jacob, chief operations officer with Communitas, was the team lead, overseeing the process from start to finish.

“It really was a testament of how we came together as a team in the midst of a global pandemic and accomplished a major project that would have been challenging even under normal circumstances,” Jacob said.

“I’m proud to be part of a group of people who are so passionate about the work that we do and willing to abide by the highest standards when it comes to serving the people we support.”

Communitas CEO Karyn Santiago agreed, recognizing the months of intensive work and dedication by many people in the organization.

“Though the accreditation standards are a continuous process that we aspire to, the work of ‘evidencing’ our continuing good work is always above and beyond our everyday activities and it requires a committed team of people,” she said.

“By the time the reviewers arrive, we have done most of the heavy lifting, have done our best to set ourselves up for success and are ready for our final review. The virtual onsite visit gave COA the chance to see if our practices match our theory.”

Santiago said the response from the reviewers at the closing meeting was overwhelmingly positive.

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Peter Portlock – who led the accreditation team – and his fellow peer reviewers, Bruce Hardy and Doug Sabourin, reviewed thousands of pages of documentation and conducted dozens of virtual interviews with staff, board members, funders, and people who receive services from Communitas.

At the closing meeting, each reviewer praised the organization for the quality of its services and commitment to person-centred care. All three reviewers included the word “kindness” when speaking about their experience, that this quality was evident in all areas of service.

As the closing meeting ended, Portlock praised the organization, saying that Communitas was in a class by itself.

“Between the three of us we’ve done over 150 accreditation visits and you are the cream of the crop,” he said. “We’ve been thrilled. It’s A+ and A’s all around. Well done.”

Communitas Supportive Care Society provides services to those living with disabilites, from 24-hour residential care to skills-based day programs.