The Stellar Certification Program offers recognition as part of a voluntary process. Long-term care (LTC) homes apply to the Stellar program and, if they pass a rigorous review process, are awarded certification.
The program evaluates LTC homes based on six standards of excellence:
Nursing voice refers to the ability of nurses to have a say in decisions that affect the delivery of care, particularly decisions that create positive change and advance the practice of nursing. Nursing voice establishes prospects for direct care nurses to collaborate, work in partnership, share ideas, and be involved in decision-making.
Leadership excellence refers to the ability of leadership to cultivate an environment that fosters empowerment, engagement and skill development for staff. Leadership excellence encompasses leaders who serve others effectively and are committed to furthering the mission of their organization, maintaining and creating new resources for employees, engaging and prioritizing mentorship, being receptive to feedback and self-reflection, and providing employees with opportunities for knowledge development.
Education and career progression refers to nurses’ acquisition of new knowledge and skill that enhances their abilities in the workplace. This standard focuses attention on the role of LTC homes to support nurses’ ongoing education, gerontological certification, and opportunities for professional growth. This standard also evaluates nursing orientation and mentorship programs to ensure nurses feel supported, which helps prevent burnout, increases job satisfaction, and improves person-centred care.
Resourcing refers to the commitment to providing the best in evidence-based policy, practice, products and professional development to ensure a safe ratio of nurses to individuals living in the facility. Resourcing also includes the provision of necessary tools and resources.
Practice environment refers to ensuring that nurses’ working conditions are positive and safe. It also seeks to ensure that the nursing perspective is meaningfully recognized and valued as contributing to the foundation of a positive practice environment and an enjoyable work culture that is free of incivility, bullying and violence.
Optimizing care refers to the support of nurses to optimize care delivery using an evidence-based, person-centred holistic approach. This standard seeks to ensure that nurses are being fully utilized and encourages LTC homes to invite feedback from patients, families, community partners, and evidence-based practice to reinforce positive patient outcomes and increase health-care efficiency.