Nearly a year and a half into their commitment to improve service delivery, Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley (CLUOV), staff and people supported continue to reap the benefits of introducing personal outcome measures training.
Thanks to a three-year, $200,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, CLUOV and the Madawaska Valley Association for Community Living (MVACL) have been working with staff on a best practice model developed by the Council for Quality and Leadership (CQL).
Beginning last year, employees at both organizations have been participating in workshops to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. In the case of CLUOV, that means approximately 100 staff have been receiving training to assist more than 150 people and their families.
At the end of the three-year timeframe, CLUOV and MVACL will each have an interviewer and two trainers on staff to be able to continue to measure the quality of their service offerings.
The investment has meant that CLUOV is positioned to better plan service delivery and increase opportunities for collaboration in the region. As part of their community outreach, CLUOV has met with 25 staff from a long-term care home in the area, as well as a representative from L’Arche.
Tina Williams, Manager of Quality Enhancement for Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley, says the measures and the training are really about helping people determine their priorities and preferences, which impacts everyone.
“The outcome measures don’t only apply to people with disabilities. There’s a process that can be used with people who have mental health diagnoses and also people who are seniors. [The measures] are relevant to all of our lives. If we look at ourselves and we think about the things that are most important to us, they fit into the 21 personal outcome measures criteria.”
Since the introduction of CQL and subsequent interviews with people about their goals and priorities, CLUOV has seen noticeable trends emerge. Chris Grayson, Executive Director for Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley, says they realized they hadn’t had much recent success in enabling people to choose where and with whom they wanted to live and where they wanted work.
As a result, the partners have held a couple of symposiums that brought together about 80 people to look at issues around housing. A similar symposium was held around employment and brought 65 people to the table, including representatives from the local college, school boards, employment service providers, ODSP and Ontario Works.
Grayson feels it’s important to bring organizations together to work on issues of mutual interest, like housing and employment.
“The more you work with less familiar partners, the more integration you have. If we’re working with housing, they might not know much about what we do, but they have a housing mandate. At our symposium last year, we had a developer approach us and he’s just purchased one of our group homes. We’re getting out of the group home business and this gentleman was in the audience. He’s bought the group home and he’s going to convert it to housing, probably for students or nurses.”
Grayson referenced another example of a builder that has changed his business model and is now focused exclusively on accessible housing.
“If we can make the community a better place by introducing choice through the outcome measures then, in the long run, I think all of us in the region will be better off.”
As a result of their involvement in the community, CLUOV has been asked to participate in the initiatives of others. The organization took part in the strategic plan of a nearby college, the planning process for the City of Pembroke, and they have had input with the local Accessibility Advisory Committee.
“This has made us a willing partner. We didn’t expect those things at the frontend, but they do happen because people get accustomed to you and our agency is prepared to play with other organizations,” adds Grayson.
As part of the organization’s strategic plan, he says CLUOV is also taking steps to become fully accredited in 2016 through CQL.
“On any given day, there are stresses, pressures and things that can go wrong. But if you look at those 21 outcome measures and commit to doing your best in all those areas, people’s lives will change for the better.”
– Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario