Saturday, July 18, 2009

Igniting "A Campaign of Hope": Kaizen 3 Team Report Out with closing comments from Teresa Pasquini

Here are some highlights from this week's Kaizen 3 report out at CCRMC.

The session began with David Kahler, Treasurer of the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Contra Costa (NAMI), telling us to "sit back and buckle your seat belts." He showed us a preview of the upcoming NAMI newsletter, which will present ‘Lean’ and other innovations being implemented in our system. Included will be the story of the design and opening of the Patient and Family Healthcare Partnership Center, dedicated to improving the experience of care of patients and families. The center was opened this week on a test basis and will ramp up operations in the coming weeks with a plan to rapidly expand the hours and services.

The Kaizen team report had some very special moments as they described the development and testing of multiple streams of standard work and communication methods. In recent weeks, many have asked why we are implementing ‘Lean’ and does this mean we are no longer pursuing the Insititute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) initiatives and the other innovation and improvement work? The Kaizen Team asked this question as well. We talked at some length about inclusion and how other teams are not only part of the overall improvement and innovation engine in our system, but that they along with the innovative work and vision of many others over several decades here at Contra Costa Health Services are what brought us to where we are today.

The Kaizen Team noted that the feedback loop concerning continuous improvement and the change necessary to accomplish it should be open and comprise all stakeholders, recognizing that we all have the same aim - To provide safe, effective, timely, efficient, patient-centered and equitable care to every patient every time.

The session ended with closing comments from Teresa Pasquini,
Contra Costa County Mental Health Commission, Vice Chair
NAMI Contra Costa Board Member
CPAW Stakeholder

Her closing comments demonstrate the power of partnership with patients and family members and, with her permission, they are posted below:

When a parent watches a law enforcement officer escort their mentally ill, adult child to an ambulance, and sees them strapped onto the gurney and driven away….there is a pain that is so deep, and a powerlessness that can take you to your knees. A Mother needs to trust that their child will be received with kindness and dignity on the other end. As the result of this Kaizen experience, I have that trust.

When I challenged this group to eliminate the trash talk, about the mentally ill patient and their family members, and to consider it the same as a racial slur, you heard me. When I suggested that we create a vision of hope, and introduce the concept of customer service into the care of our mentally ill and their families, you heard me. You not only heard me, but you validated what I was feeling and thanked me for sharing. It means everything to have our lived experience respected.

It should not be so difficult to help desperate people. The mental health system is characterized by complexities. But, through this Lean Process, you have all simplified it for our County patients, families, and the health care providers. This effort was huge and it will change lives.

This week, NAMI Contra Costa and the Contra Costa County Health System, forged a partnership, that will be very low cost, but has worth beyond measure. It is real and it must be nurtured and protected because lives are depending on us. I am deeply grateful to have taken this waste walk, to eliminate some of the muda that has kept us at odds.

I have spent hours volunteering, over the past three years, hoping to shine a light on a system that has been infected with hopelessness and despair. During these four days together, we have broken down barriers that will ignite a campaign of Hope in the Mental Health Community. It will be change making!

I will carry this experience into all forums, including the Mental Health Commission and the Consolidated Planning and Advisory Workgroup. This model must be replicated in the outpatient mental health system of Contra Costa County. Although we do not need a funding stream to be kind, we do need a funding stream to teach LEAN. So, I will be proposing, that we use a portion of the MHSA Innovation funds to support this concept in the Mental Health Division.

I have been thrilled and honored to work with each of you. These past five days have filled my uncongested heart with hope and pride. Thank you….

Teresa Pasquini
Contra Costa County Mental Health Commission, Vice Chair
NAMI Contra Costa Board Member
CPAW Stakeholder

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