Reflections From The Gateway Arch
With St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch outside of the windows, we held the 2015 CQL Conference from October 20-21, 2015, which was appropriately themed ‘Outcomes: The Gateway To Quality.’ The conference brought together nearly 350 professionals from more than a 120 organizations located in 4 different countries, to learn and share the very best practices and approaches in human services. Throughout the conference, outcomes were explored, person-centered sessions were attended, connections were created and award recipients were honored.
Whether attendees were brand new to the importance of outcomes or have been dedicated to Personal Outcome Measures® for decades, they left the conference with insight into how outcomes can improve the quality of life for people, as well as the quality of supports for providers and systems. By identifying, understanding and then working toward the achievement of individual outcomes, organizations can ensure that they are truly person-centered in their approach to human services. Attendees were able to find out how a Personal Outcome Measures® interview translates into valuable data for developing individual support plans, organizational strategic plans and quality enhancement plans to best support people.
We all gathered in the Breckenridge Ballroom for keynote addresses from CQL’s Cathy Ficker Terrill and Amy Hewitt, from UMN’s Research and Training Center on Community Living. They both shared insight into personal outcomes not only as a philosophy, but what it looks like in practice. Cathy Ficker Terrill explored what outcomes are, why they’re important and how to put them to use in supports and services, while highlighting the significance of keeping the Personal Outcome Measures® process accessible for all stakeholders.
Amy Hewitt offered deeper insight into outcomes, sharing data on service settings, the achievement of outcomes, the direct support workforce crisis and much more. “The foundation of our work has to be based on the individual person,” said Hewitt during her address. She also presented a video from RTC Media, titled ‘Of The Community,’ which explores community living and the importance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities being active members of their community.
Throughout the two days of the conference, there were also panel discussions from self-advocates, organizations and state systems, with vibrant interactions about outcomes and overall quality assurance. More than 10 panelists from three different discussions offered up challenges confronted and lessons learned, to promote best practices that attendees could apply to their own unique experiences. Jennifer Becher, VP of Human Resources and Organizational Development for Bethesda, was a panelist for the session titled ‘Organizational Quality Assurance,’ and provided information into Bethesda’s partnership with CQL in their Network Accreditation. “The tools that CQL provides, gives us the foundation for person-centered excellence” said Becher.
There were also more than 10 breakout sessions throughout the conference, from a dozen different presenters. These speakers covered topics such as health outcomes, supported decision making, person centered planning, CMS reporting, rights, respect and more. Before they ended, the moderators opened up the sessions to questions from the attendees. We are extremely grateful to St. Louis Arc and the self-advocates for their assistance with moderating these sessions.
The conference also gave us an opportunity to make connections and network with those who share the same vision for quality. From breakfast, to breaks, lunches and an evening reception, people gathered to get better acquainted with colleagues and learn more about the conference sponsors and exhibitors. We were delighted to host four high-level sponsors at our conference, including DirectCourse, CapGrow Partners, Bethesda and Therap. Attendees were also able to meet exhibitors in the Breckenridge Ballroom Foyer, to discover more about products and resources from AbleLink Technologies, MediSked, LLC, Quantum Solutions, Pharmacy Alternatives, LLC, SimplyHome and UIC Department of Disability and Human Development.
Award Recipients Honored
For the first time ever, we formally recognized five recipients with the 2015 International Awards of Excellence, for demonstrating innovative and emerging practices in the achievement of outcomes. The award recipients were selected based on their commitment to quality, connected to social capital, choice, employment, rights, person-centeredness and the use of data in organizational change.
We were proud to acknowledge the following individuals and organizations at the conference, for their dedication to the people they support:
- Brothers of Charity Galway
- CHI Friendship
- Dan Lusk, South Dakota DDD
- Herkimer ARC
- St. Louis Arc, The SUCCEED Program
Quality After The Conference
Below is a listing of links, resources and initiatives from CQL that were shared at the conference. Even if you weren’t able to attend the conference, you can be equipped with person-centered tools to help you on your journey of excellence!