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Agency Design & Quality Improvement

Why This Is Important

Today, best practices show that all systems and organizations that provide support and services to people with disabiltiies must continuously address two challenges: 1) the foundations of designing services that deal with the requirements and responsibilties of all professional practices to assure the protections of health, safety, and human security for all people who receive services. 2) once the foundations are secure, organizations and systems are able to move toward defining and improving quality in services and supports provided to people.

More than 30 years of experience and data shows that the field has made a lot of progress in providing appropriate supports and services to people with disabilities. However, providers and governing systems continue to have a critical challenge to assure that all people who receive services and supports are free from health, safety, abuse/neglect, and expoitation concerns. These basic assurances set the stage for service provision and allow providers to move on to defining and improving quality.
Central to any quality improvement effort is the definition of quality. All organizations must struggle with the definition of quality and whose definition they will use. During the '90s, discussions focused on these essential questions in determining quality improvement efforts: * Is quality defined through professional consensus? Is it regulated by federal or state governments? What input should family members have in the definition of quality? Most recently, the discussion of quality has shifted to the recipients of services/supports. More and more, people with disabilities (or their parents if age appropriate) are being asked to define quality. Organizations are being challenged to demonstrate its responsiveness to people in a person-centered manner. Only from the service users' perspective can organizations ensure its quality improvement efforts are effective.

A person-centered approach is not a special project of the organization. It is not an add-on. Rather, it is what the organization should be. It is a core value of the organization's culture.
Materials are included for agencies and systems interested in addressing issues of basic/foundational assurances and incorporating qualty improvement strategies into the service delivery system.

This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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