Two decisive years for MUSCO

to complete the projects developed and sustain the collaborative efforts

While the review of the strategic plan has shown that the Initiative is very positively perceived by collaborators, there is still a long way to go: MUSCO is at a turning point, and a new milestone is about to be reached. Members of the Initiative’s Bureau, Isabelle Demers, Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer, CHU Sainte-Justine, Jacques Boissonneault, Hospital Administrator, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada and Cindy McCartney, Associate Director of Nursing, Montreal Children’s Hospital and the Women’s Health Mission of the MUHC, answered the following questions as the Initiative enters its final two years:

What did we learn from the strategic plan review exercise?

The brainstorming sessions held with collaborators from a wide range of backgrounds, and the support they received in reflecting on their strategic positioning and vision, led to a number of important observations. One of these was that the Initiative is primarily focused on the professionals whose expertise and fieldwork enable us to care for children requiring complex care – and not directly on actions aimed at families. A significant recalibration which, without deviating from the impact the Initiative can ultimately have on families, has been shaped by time and experience.

What struck me the most was that among the participants in this strategic review, we all shared the same observations. We were all seeing the same thing. For me, it’s a real unifying force when there’s a convergence of opinions. 

Isabelle Demers

According to Jacques, “A strategic plan review allows us to take a step back, to see what has been achieved in the last five years, and to make better adjustments for the future based on experience in the field and accumulated experience. For him, the process of reflection was particularly stimulating because it was carried out collectively: “That’s the beauty of science and research, the empirical side keeps us moving forward. Our new impetus for MUSCO is based on empirical data, and this gives us greater precision for the future,” he insists.

All in all, an encouraging exercise that highlighted the Initiative’s central position in partner establishments. Its strength lies in its collaborative culture, committee-based management and cooperative practices.

Establishing timely access to care for our patients requires four things: attention, communication, teamwork and collaboration between all the care teams involved. MUSCO fosters these skills to ensure optimal access and care.

Cindy McCartney

What are the priorities for the next two years?

“We must ensure that patients and their families remain at the heart of all our decisions and participate as key partners in decision-making,” insists Cindy, “This is how we can optimize individualized access to care through successful collaboration of the entire care team at local and inter-institutional levels.”

Indeed, involving patients and their families as partners was one of the key elements at the outset of the Initiative. The aim was to increase learning by bringing care staff and families to the table. A new reflex for many, it took a certain courage and humility on both sides to open up to this partnership approach. In the end, however, the inclusion of patients in the early stages of the project, and of their experiential knowledge in consultation and decision-making, proved fruitful. According to the Initiative’s board members, MUSCO has made a major contribution to ensuring that families are heard and that their needs are taken into account. All in all, families are essential to improving care and services, and a demonstration that collaboration is possible and necessary. 

The strategic review can almost be seen as a new beginning. It’s very exciting to see what’s next! What’s certain is that none of the members of the Initiative’s board would wish the collaborative efforts made to date to have been in vain. The last two years are the ideal opportunity to formalize the approach and leave a mark. What’s more, we could imagine other healthcare fields benefiting from the MUSCO approach, such as the cardiology department, the continuum of services in complex care… all in all, MUSCO is transferable and that’s how we should present the Initiative to ministerial bodies with a view to making it sustainable.

Jacques Boissonneault

Ensuring MUSCO’s longevity is certainly a concern for the collaborators who contribute to it. The members of the Initiative’s Bureau believe that the revision of the strategic plan made it possible to name the most important things: continuing to work in collaboration with patients, quantifying and communicating. “We are faced with the urgent need to perpetuate, to maintain the learning and successes that MUSCO has bequeathed to us to date,” says Isabelle.

Indeed, sustainability will have to be everyone’s business. It can’t happen without the support of all those involved, to give what has been achieved so far a chance to endure over time. 

The responsibility for MUSCO’s future will be a collective one, and everyone’s commitment will determine its success.