Direct Support Professionals | Personal Outcomes Still Apply
Since CQL published the Personal Outcome Measures® in 1993, we have continued to emphasize the importance of understanding how individuals define the outcomes for themselves. The Personal Outcome Measures® are not prescriptive. There is no uniform requirement for friendships, being safe, or being respected. The Personal Outcome Measures® promote diversity, differences among people and recognition that there are very often different paths to people's personal outcomes.
The values and principles of the Personal Outcome Measures® provide a framework for supporting Direct Support Professionals.
Managers and organizations can use the Rule of Seven as a guide to sustaining Direct Support Professionals:
- Recognize and understand the personality, preferences, culture, and abilities of the Direct Support Professionals. Understand what is important in their lives, their culture, and their work setting.
- Set expectations in terms of personal outcomes - those for people with disabilities and those for the Direct Support Professionals. Make sure that the Direct Support Professionals define quality in terms of personal outcomes and not by conformity for organizational rules or their job descriptions. In the same manner, assist the Direct Support Professionals to articulate their own personal goals and objectives.
- Replace management with leadership in guiding Direct Support Professionals. Management through organizational hierarchies, rules, and job descriptions simply won't work. Provide mentors during the initial period of employment and then develop relationships with Direct Support Professionals that emphasize responsibility and accountability for decentralized decision making.
- Promote opportunities for creativity and innovation by dropping firm anchors. When organizations are strongly anchored in protocols and procedures to prevent abuse and neglect, promote people's best possible health, and facilitate safety and security, then Direct Support Professionals can exercise creativity and innovation.
- Provide Direct Support Professionals training in generic skills such as problem solving, negotiating, time management, and community resource development.
- Provide Direct Support Professionals with training in positive behavioral supports, promotion of legal rights, advocacy, and the use of alternative technologies to facilitate communication and mobility.
- Finally, promote inclusion of Direct Support Professionals in their own communities. Inclusion for people with disabilities will require that Direct Support Professionals are part of their own communities. Organizations can encourage Direct Support Professionals to establish their own linkages with their communities by becoming engaged in the cultural, religious, social, economic, and civic community organizations.
The roles and responsibilities of Direct Support Professionals have increased dramatically as services and supports have moved from the institution to the community. Centralized management through rules, regulations, and job descriptions no longer facilitate personal outcomes. Direct Support Professionals, working in systems of defined responsibility and accountability, can find creative alternatives that promote personal outcomes.