Epic Opportunities has been accepted as one of 11 agencies to take part in a pilot project that could transform the way information is gathered to determine quality of life for adults living with intellectual disabilities in Manitoba.
The Personal Outcome Measures (POM) pilot project is being led by Abilities Manitoba, a network of service providers including Epic Opportunities who provide services to people with intellectual disabilities. It is being funded by the province’s Community Living disABILITY Services (CLDS).
The project will evaluate the use of POM as a tool in determining the effectiveness of services being provided to people living with an intellectual disability. POM is a tool created and administered by the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and is used to gather quality of life information from adults living with intellectual disabilities.
“We are excited to partner in this important provincial initiative,” says Epic Opportunities Executive Director Ruby Reimer. “We are so pleased to see the Department of Families support this work and hope that it will help establish the foundation for the further development of a quality improvement framework in Manitoba.
“We are incredibly grateful for the strong and persistent leadership of Abilities Manitoba in moving this forward. We see the potential for this to strengthen our own understanding of the needs of the people we serve. We hope and believe this project will help build capacity for improvement to our services and other agencies within our province.”
The use of the POM model here in Manitoba has been in development for the past few years. In October 2017, the Department of Families and Abilities Manitoba entered into a partnership to develop a quality improvement framework for CLDS, a voluntary program that provides services and supports to adults with an intellectual disability. One of the objectives of the project was to identify a tool or method that could be used to gather data on quality of life indicators of people receiving CLDS-funded services in Manitoba. The project’s final report recommended the use of POM.
As a next step, CLDS and Abilities Manitoba agreed to run a pilot project to test the use of POMs within the province. The pilot project is scheduled to run from January 2020 to February 2021.
It will assess the use of POMs in seven agencies while another four agencies will serve as a comparison group for the purposes of a formal evaluation. The evaluation will be conducted by Heathy Child Manitoba Social Innovation Office (HCMSIO).
This evaluation will look at whether the use of POM improved knowledge and awareness of quality of life for the people served. In addition, it will help to determine whether the use of POM improved the ability of family members, support staff and agency leaders to understand the needs and desires of people receiving service and then use that information to formulate plans that impact services and improve the quality of life of people being served. Lastly it will determine if the POM process was perceived to be safe, empowering and beneficial for the people who participated in confidential POM interviews, as well as their family members, direct support staff, and agency staff.
“For the women and men we serve, as well as the families and friends connected, we believe this will open doors for more discussion and dialogue about things that are important to you and your wellbeing,” Reimer says.
Reimer points out that Epic Opportunities is well positioned to take part in the pilot project since the organization has past experience with Personal Outcome Measures. In 2012, it provided POM training to 39 leadership employees including all of its managers, coordinators and directors. As well, 36 people it served at the time engaged in an interview process to help the agency understand how POM could be used to better understand the outcomes those people experienced.
“It was a life-changing experience and we still see the positive impact today,” she adds.
To learn more about CQL and POM please visit https://c-q-l.org/the-cql-difference/personal-outcome-measures.