We’re committed to providing person-centered care throughout our system. Here’s how we’re doing it.
We invite you to join Support Solutions in continuing our journey to enhance our person-centered services and those throughout the State of Tennessee through a partnership with our funders and partners, such as the people we support, their families, and Independent Support Coordinators. The journey promises to be exciting and full of new discoveries!
In the summer of 2010 our organization was selected to participate in a state-wide movement by the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DIDDS) to increase the number of agencies in Tennessee who use person-centered practices, both in the services they provide for the people they support and in their day to day leadership of the organization. Support Solutions has selected key staff to become “Coaches” and they have participated in training provided through the Learning Community and Michael Smull and Associates. Additionally key leaders of our company have received similar training.
We are in the process of learning the various planning tools available and how they might be used in enhancing our services for the people who receive supports from us. Support Solutions will take a step back and look at how efficient and effective our core processes are. Using activities like “process mapping” we are able to inspect how someone moves from being referred to Support Solutions to receiving our services and by evaluating why, where, who does what, in what sequence, how long each action takes, where decisions are made, and how we measure effectiveness. This supports our organization in making changes that increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the process and in measuring the how well the changes work.
Making changes at all levels in the System
At its core, this effort reflects the beliefs that change should be driven by the learning that occurs from supporting individuals. The effort is constructed so that listening to the learning happens in structured settings where the need for change and effects of changes made are clear.
As described in a paper by Michael W. Smull, Mary Lou Bourne, and Helen Sanderson entitled “Becoming a Person Centered System” there are three levels of change that our involvement in this project will effect:
Level 1 Changes
Those who work directly with the people who use the services are supported in applying the tools. They change what they can change. Those changes that improve the lives of the people who use the services are referred to as level 1 change. The learning of those who apply the skills is collected, organized, and presented to a leadership group than includes both the organization’s (Support Solutions) senior managers and the system (DIDD) senior managers.
Level 2 Changes
The leadership group will listen to what the coaches have learned and look for those things that should be celebrated and shared and for those things that need to change. The changes made by the leadership within the Support Solutions organization which also create opportunities for more level 1 changes, are referred to as level 2 changes
Level 3 Changes
Level 3 changes occur when system leaders such as DIDD and Independent Support Coordination agencies, through their active participation in Leadership groups, act upon and resolve the issues, system-wide polices, rules, and/or structures that create obstacles and/or inefficiencies. Where system manages can make changes that support person centered practices for multiple organizations, these changes are referred to as level three changes.
Together with our partners we are learning that changes are needed in relationships across organizations. What stands in the way of positive change is not only the rules but also the absence of partnerships. Consistent participation in the change process of those who manage the service coordination efforts and the state system managers begins to bridge this gap in partnership. The message that “we all need to change” rather than “you need to change” is a powerful one. We are learning that we must all see ourselves as change targets before we can become change agents. We will be actively engaged in listening, in discovering, and sharing, and in problem solving. This places us on the same learning journey as our leadership and helps us to advocate for change based on the learning that arises from supporting people. It also gives us a vivid and personal way to see the consequences of decisions and the consequences that arise from the lack of decisions (as well as unintended consequences).
If you would like to learn more about our “learning journey” and become a traveling partner please contact Becky Harding, Walter Rogers, Shannon Durbin, Delores Crump, Tawanna Rhodes, Tracey Coffey, Melissa George or Leatha Shuster. We will be most happy to put you in contact with one of Support Solutions’ Coaches and share what we have learned and discovered thus far.