Quality care

I read with interest Robert Carrico’s insightful article “Quality Principles and Alzheimer’s,” (December 2007, p. 59) which applied quality concepts to dealing with dementia.

Carrico mentions Safe Return, which is an excellent program made even stronger with its recent merger with Medic-Alert. However, another resource for caregivers and law enforcement is Project Lifesaver.

Project Lifesaver uses a wristband with a radio frequency battery to locate Alzheimer’s sufferers (or those with Down syndrome, autism or other forms of dementia) in a fraction of the time a normal search effort would take. Here in Colorado, the results show great success—50 rescues in an average time of less than 30 minutes.

This program works as a great complement to Safe Return. If a wanderer is suffering paranoia with dementia, they might be prone to hiding in enclosed areas. In that situation, Project Lifesaver has proven to be very effective. As a result, agencies that use Project Lifesaver have experienced a dramatic decrease in the costs they usually incur for location efforts, which usually take more than 17 hours.

Deb K. Wells
Centennial, CO

Certifiable accuracy

The article “QMS Certification: Down With Disillusionment,” (December 2007, p. 52) deals with a topic that generates discussion whenever quality professionals gather. While the information presented was very interesting, there are omissions and ambiguities that reduce the article’s usefulness.

For one, what organization sponsored the study? Gyani is associated with the Quality Council of India and India’s national accreditation body. Is it one of these? Also, there are a number of tables and figures with unclear numerical rankings. Is a score of 1 poor, and a 5 excellent? They appear to be averages, but we are not sure of what.

The terms “compliance” and “effectiveness” seem to be used interchangeably when referring to a quality management system (QMS). Compliance is straightforward. But when referring to the effectiveness of a QMS, what is the definition and metric used?

I applaud the work that has been done, and I am in full agreement that we must demonstrate the links I believe exist between certification body competence, QMS compliance and QMS effectiveness. To do this with an audience that is either disillusioned or can’t agree on much, our data and analysis must be crystal clear.

Geoff Withnell
Montgomery Village, MD

Author’s response

Yes, the study was supported by Quality Council of India. The score from 1 to 5 was taken with 1 being the minimum and 5 representing the maximum or best.

The effectiveness is based on the statistical average for a particular function, for instance, the certification process and QMS status. The compliance is for each element of the checklist for these functions, and where we assigned the score from 1 to 5 based on what was actually found.

Girdhar J. Gyani
Secretary General
Quality Council of India

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