Meeting the Needs of Waiting Communities: ICI’s Community Living Program Area

Sun Oct 15 2017
Man in wheelchair sitting next to his direct support professional.

“The need for our research, training, and outreach grows as people with disabilities tell us what they want and need,” says Amy Hewitt, who leads ICI’s Community Living and Employment Program Area and is director of the Research and Training Center on Community Living  (RTC-CL). “We continue to push our capacity to translate knowledge effectively and quickly to waiting communities.” That commitment to timely, responsive work drives Community Living staff to continuously expand their reach and effectiveness, and three areas where that drive has been especially apparent this past year are the following:

  • Person-centered practices. In the past 12 months, Community Living staff delivered 41 person-centered thinking trainings to nearly 900 direct support professionals, frontline supervisors, and others supporting people with disabilities. In addition to in-person trainings, new online training was launched in 2017 — the Person-Centered Counseling curriculum of Direct Course,  a cooperative agreement between RTC-CL and international partner Elsevier. From July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, over 7,300 learners nationwide completed that curriculum. And the RTC-CL is co-sponsoring the third annual Minnesota Gathering for Person-Centered Practices in November 2017  in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and The Learning Community for Person-Centered Practices.

  • Outcome measurement. The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement (RTC-OM) at ICI evaluates the quality of life experienced by people with disabilities as a result of receiving Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). This 5-year project is developing reliable, consistent measures for researchers, policymakers, and others collecting data to use in assessing the impact of HCBS on the lives of people with disabilities in their communities. As it begins its third year, it has completed over 50 discussion groups nationwide that has collected input from a diverse set of stakeholders about what they believe are the most important personal outcomes and indicators of quality; and staff have examined HCBS outcome data collection instruments for people with different types of disabilities to identify gaps in measurement areas and best practices in outcome measurement.

  • Direct support workforce development. DirectCourse remains the gold standard for online training for the direct support workforce and related fields, and as of this year it has trained over 518,000 learners in 41 states, with 113,580 learners completing nearly 1.5 million lessons this year alone. New courses released this year included "Understanding Depression," "Roles and Responsibilities of the Home Care Worker," and "Trauma Informed Care."