The Wellspring Approach
Wellspring’s model for providing supportive cancer care has been developed by a team of oncology experts, working closely with cancer patients, family members and caregivers. As Wellspring has grown the model has been enhanced, tested, evaluated and implemented across the Wellspring network. The Wellspring model is comprised of a number of key features including:
- Programs which are innovative and responsive to the needs of cancer patients and their families and which are delivered in a comprehensive manner that is patient-centered and responds to a variety of different needs and approaches.
- A commitment to accessibility for all cancer patients regardless of the type of cancer they have or the stage of treatment they are in, and for those who care for cancer patients either as family members or as professional caregivers.
- Strong ties to the community which is reflected both in volunteer development and training as well as in the community partnerships that Wellspring has developed with health care workers at all levels from those on the front lines to senior managers.
- A commitment to quality which is seen throughout Wellspring, most notably through the Quality Review Process.
Wellspring’s model has been recognized as an outstanding example of organizational excellence in community-based health care by Health Canada, The Ontario Ministry of Health and Cancer Care Ontario.
“One of Wellspring’s key mandates is to serve as a model for the delivery of community-based cancer support services. This keeps Wellspring focused on accountability, because it is held to close scrutiny.”
- Lynda Morrison, Chief Executive Officer, Wellspring
The Wellspring Network
Wellspring operates through a network of centres. Each Wellspring centre offers similar programming and services, which have been tailored to the unique needs of the community it serves. Each centre in the Wellspring network is a separate legal entity, governed by its own Board of Directors and responsible for its own funding1.
All Wellspring centres adhere to Wellspring’s values, model, and quality review processes.
The centres that make up the Wellspring network come together to share experiences and lessons on a regular basis. Knowledge sharing within the network occurs at all levels, from program development, to administration, to marketing and fundraising.
The Quality Review Process
Wellspring’s Quality Review Process is a unique and innovative process through which key elements of the organization are scrutinized and critiqued by a panel of independent experts. Wellspring provides this panel with access to a random selection of Wellspring members, volunteers, program leaders, committee and Board members, and staff, who provide input about their experiences at Wellspring and offer opinions about every aspect of the organization and its programs.
The Quality Review Panel is responsible for issuing to the Board of Directors a comprehensive report that reflects commentary from all points of view, highlights areas of excellence to be shared with other centres in the Wellspring network, and makes recommendations on matters needing attention or improvement.
There are a number of important features built into the Quality Review Process to ensure that it has integrity and that the assessment is unbiased.
- Members of the Quality Review Panel are selected for their expertise in health care, organizational development or program review.
- Quality Review Panel members have no other association with Wellspring so that their assessments can be offered without constraints or pre-conceived biases.
- Wellspring’s members, volunteers and program leaders are randomly selected for discussion with the Quality Review Panel. Although participation is optional, there is no screening in the selection process and all have equal chance of being asked to participate.
All discussions with Panel members are completely private. Information is kept strictly confidential so that no one can be individually identified as the source of any specific commentary.
The Quality Review Process was developed in 2001 and applied first to the Coach House, Wellspring’s original site, that year. Each centre in Wellspring’s network, including those outside of the Greater Toronto Area, goes through a Quality Review every few years on a rotating schedule. In fact, agreement to this level of scrutiny is required to be part of the Wellspring network.
1Due to the proximity of Wellspring Westerkirk House (Sunnybrook), Wellspring Halton-Peel and Wellspring Downtown Toronto, these centres are operated as one legal entity, with one Board of Directors.