New ICI Project Focuses on Strengthening DSP Supervisor Skills

Tue Oct 18 2016
A direct support professional (DSP), in a family home, assisting a man who uses a wheelchair.

Direct support professionals (DSPs) are key to the daily supports needed by many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and individuals who are aging. However, the DSP field struggles with high turnover and uneven employee on-boarding practices, undermining the quality and consistency of support services. ICI has received a 3-year, $595,856 grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to help address this need.

The project, a collaboration with the hiring analysis firm CareProfiler Inc.,  will evaluate the effectiveness of the CareProfiler post-hire support system for DSP supervisors. The system is designed to build the leadership and supervisory capacity of site supervisors, increasing retention and effectiveness of DSPs. It uses an employee on-boarding system that includes: (a) a manager report for each hired employee that guides their supervisor on how to best manage the staff member for maximum engagement with clients and job; (b) situational management in-person workshops for groups of supervisors that reinforce the information from the screening reports and allow them to problem-solve together; and (c) coaching for supervisors on how to work most effectively with their recently-hired staff.

"This project will provide us with critical information to share with the field about strategies that can enhance the engagement of direct support staff with both their jobs and the persons they serve," says project co-director Brian Abery. "This will be a critical step in improving the continuity and quality of HCBS services and supports," adds co-director Renáta Tichá.