Dignity By Default

A Service Standard for Adult Addictions and Mental Health Services in Waterloo Wellington

What is a Service Standard?

A service standard is a set of criteria that enables providers to build and deliver high quality addictions and mental health services that promote dignity by default. We believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity. Our goal is to create a service standard that:

  • balances evidence based practice with service experience
  • enables flexible and responsive service delivery based on the actual needs of people
  • makes services so good that people want to come back

Why is it different from other frameworks?

A service standard is an applied tool rather than a framework or strategy. It contains a set of commitments that an organization promises to honour when delivering a service. 

These commitments support providers to design and consistently deliver quality services based on outcomes and experience.

Service Standards also give providers a way to share their commitment with the people they serve by describing what people can expect to receive from services and how services will be delivered.

How the Service Standard Was Drafted

We engaged with people to understand what they actually need, what they are trying to do and what matters to them.

We engaged with service providers to understand what matters most to them.

We reviewed other sectors’ wisdom on how to design services really well within a system and then applied that to our context. We also reviewed what we already know about designing service within our sector. This includes incorporating principles and frameworks such as Drs Minkoff and Cline’s Comprehensive, Continuous, Integrated System of Care, Recovery concepts and Service Design principles.

We identified dignity as a critical part of the service experience that needs our attention.

We compiled everything we learned into a list of commitments that now make up our draft service standard.

We will continue to revise the Service Standard as we try it out and learn from it. 

Standards-version 1.5 (Mar 31, 2016)

  1. Use empathy to understand the needs of people. Engage with existing and potential service users to develop a deep knowledge of who they are and what that means for the design of the service. Use the Experience Patterns to support your understanding of people’s needs.
  2. Actively involve service users and their families/supporters in the whole design process. Work in ways that make it easy for them to participate and compensate them for their time.
  3. Outcome = quality + experience. Regularly make and submit a formal plan for measuring and researching the quality and experience of each service’s design and delivery. Continuously seek feedback from people who use and deliver services. Use this data to signal opportunities for change that will improve service user experiences and outcomes. 
  4. Build and ensure access to a complexity-capable, multidisciplinary team that can design, build and operate the service, led by a suitably skilled and experienced service manager with decision-making responsibility.
  5. Build and deliver services that are flexible and responsive to people’s needs. Build in multiple options for people to interact with and receive care. 
  6. Determine what resources will be used to build, provide and measure the service, and how to procure them. Think about how they will affect the delivery of services. 
  7. Develop a plan for how people will learn about and connect with your service. Communicate information that is important to people accessing service, in a way that they can understand. 
  8. Evaluate what service user data and information the service will be collecting, using and sharing. Realistically address the security, legal responsibilities, and privacy issues. Ensure people have a reasonable way to access their own information.
  9. Make a plan to deal with risk. Balance people’s rights and dignity with realistic safety and security measures. If a service user needs a change of environment or a break from a service, other services step in temporarily. No one should ever be banned or kicked out of service.
  10. Make all new knowledge and practices open and reusable, and share them widely (or provide a convincing explanation as to why this cannot be done for specific subsets of knowledge). 
  11. Build on the shoulders of others by expanding or partnering with existing services before creating something entirely new. Use common standards, methods and platforms whenever possible. 
  12. Test a service from end-to-end using something people can look at and interact with. Use different service user perspectives to make testing as life like as possible. Be sure to include service users, people delivering service and people in leadership roles.
  13. Assume that, at some point, a service will be changed, interrupted or closed. Design services that prepare individuals for the time between their service interactions, whether these are days, years or decades in length. 
  14. Create services that support people the first time they reach out for help. Focus on making services that are simple, skill-based, and that address multiple issues and root causes at the same time.
  15. Build services that are consistent throughout the addictions and mental health system. Many services have similar steps involved (i.e. first contact, intake, assessment, service, etc.). Align expectations around the experience and communication of these steps so that they are predictable across services.
  16. Identify performance indicators for the service that evaluate both experience and outcomes. Establish a benchmark for each metric and make a plan to enable improvements. Report performance data on a shared digital platform that is available to the general public. 
  17. Build a service that you would be happy to use yourself and recommend to your loved ones. 

This Service Standard is a draft, and we want to know how it could be better.

Use the survey below to tell us what you like about the standard, what you would improve, what questions you have and what new ideas you have. You can provide feedback on the whole standard, or directly onto any of the commitments that make up the standard. 

We are open to feedback on any part of the standard—the idea of having a standard, the wording of each commitment, and how we describe the standard are all in play.