Rachel Freeman.

Your organization is invested in person-centered practices, but are these strategies used in everyday routines?

The Institute on Community Integration (ICI) recently partnered with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to launch a series of free, online training modules and tools for providers of home and community-based services (HCBS) to implement person-centered and positive support practices in service delivery. HCBS are supports available to people eligible for Medicaid health coverage who need assistance to remain in their homes instead of more restrictive or institutional settings. Person-centered practices empower people as they decide how to live meaningful lives based on their unique strengths, interests, and goals. Positive supports are research-based strategies promoting social and emotional skills.

The Minnesota Home and Community-Based Services Modules for Person-Centered Organizations guides everyone involved in HCBS, including people receiving services, all levels of staff, family, and community members. Working together, they assess the strengths of an organization’s person-centered practices, share ideas, make changes, and celebrate successes.

“Anyone working in or receiving HCBS who wants to learn more about how to use a team approach for person-centered and positive support practices will gain key insights using these modules,” said Rachel Freeman (pictured), director of state initiatives at ICI and a lead author of the eight modules. “Becoming a more person-centered organization will foster deeper, more meaningful lives for people receiving services, while also improving relationships and the overall climate for everyone involved.”

The modules guide users through the steps of assessment and action planning, offering tips on overcoming hurdles. They offer strategies for implementing ongoing coaching opportunities for direct support staff, allowing them to learn and reflect on progress. Aligning an organization’s mission with person-centered values and changing policy language in a way that promotes respect for people receiving services is also discussed. Action steps use an organization’s data to assess whether the overall quality of life for people receiving services is optimal, and whether the organization is making progress toward becoming more person-centered.

“Successful teams pace themselves by making these changes systematically,” Freeman said. “Each module is an achievable step, but over time the organizational change is significant.”