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AHR/Touchstone Supports Individual Achievement in North Carolina

By Elizabeth Sites, CQL Director of Organizational Excellence

It’s always a pleasure to visit and work with an organization with great inter-departmental communication and a reliable team, and Advanced Health Resources/Touchstone Residential Services (AHR/TRS) is just that. That sentiment was echoed throughout our visit, Personal Outcome Measures® (POM) interviews, and focus groups. Supervisors shared that AHR/TRS’s “driving force is person-centeredness” and direct support staff feel “empowered” and love being able to “engage with people they support.” People supported have strong connections within the community and are encouraged to make their own choices and realize goals that are important to them.

Organizational staff were all enthusiastically engaged in the accreditation process and excited to continually improve in the work they do. Staff felt incredibly supported by leadership and indicated that there is a strong family culture within the organization. This amazing attitude led to robust conversations about service provision, best practices, and the importance of respect as it relates to ALL people – not just people with disabilities.

During our time with the organization, we saw how staff celebrate diversity and differences between people and how they utilize the Personal Outcome Measures® to develop personal goals and support for people. One specific thing that really stuck out to CQL staff was that staff did not use the negative phrase “having a behavior.” Instead, they always noted that people use “alternative expression” to indicate how they were feeling.

Lastly, the organization is so focused on their mission and living that mission, that it reviews the mission and vision each year to ensure relevance. We love to see an organization put their mission into action, and that is exactly what we saw during the planning phase of the accreditation and the visit itself. Advanced Health Resources/Touchstone Residential Services’ mission is “to maximize individual achievement while promoting choices, opportunities, and full participation in all aspects of community life” and clearly, they’re doing it.

About Advanced Health Resources / Touchstone Residential Services

Advanced Health Resources/Touchstone Residential Services provides services to adults in small group home and individual home settings, as well as the community, with a primary focus on strengths and needs to help the individual achieve their goals. AHR/TRS works with the person and others who are important to them improve and/or maintain skills in areas such as: independent living, socialization, coping, activities of daily living, and other areas identified in the person’s plan.

Advanced Health Resources/Touchstone Residential Leadership team headshots.

AHR/TRS Leadership Team (Left to Right): Jannie Scott, Clinical Director; Jeff Jenkins, CEO; Peggy McCormick, QP; Sherry Scott, QP; Cortney Savage, Group Home Manager; Chris Stewart, Group Home Manager; Rebecca Albright, Administrative Assistant

Their dedicated, knowledgeable team of professionals and support staff assist in planning for and accessing services and support. They use a person first, family centered approach while helping people to improve their quality of life.

Advanced Health Resources/Touchstone Residential Services achieved Quality Assurances Accreditation. We asked Jannie Scott, Clinical Director, a series of questions about who they are as an organization, along with their experience with the CQL Accreditation process. 

What are your goals as an organization?

Advanced Health Resources / Touchstone Residential Services is committed to achieving the highest standards of care, and providing uncompromising dedication in partnership with the persons we serve. There is an ongoing process to improve the capacity, continuity, and coordination of care.

AHR/TRS will always stay in compliance with State, Federal, accreditation, and regulatory agency requirements. We are focused on making decisions to enhance the satisfaction of the persons we serve and AHR/TRS staff. 

In short, we love working with the persons we serve and want to see them thrive in the personal goals they make and achieve. 

What organizational values or practices are you most proud of?

We are committed to services that promote the individual’s strengths, foster independence, and honor the rights, wishes and needs of the individual. 

We believe that people are best served within their home community. It is thrilling to see people thrive in an environment where they are comfortable, with options to try new things and achieve new goals.

We believe in the highest level of integrity in all areas of our agencies. Our standards are high with regard to open communication with the persons we serve and our staff members.

Why did you decide to pursue CQL Accreditation?

CQL’s reputation in North Carolina is excellent. Many of our peers within the Provider Community had achieved their Accreditation status with CQL and as a result, they reported their agencies actually enjoyed the process. We appreciated knowing CQL works to improve the quality of life and quality of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This proved to be our deciding factor, as this is our focus as well.

What is the impact of accreditation on the people you support?

Since we first partnered with CQL in 2012, we have enjoyed a greater focus on the successes of the persons we serve. Our Community & Social Focus Group highlights dozens of personal achievements that have occurred. It has been amazing to watch individuals set new goals, and work to achieve those goals. We have seen individuals working and serving in important roles in their communities.

As a result, we are seeing more people trying new things and setting new personal goals. Our staff has enjoyed these successes, as they watched an individual’s growth. Additionally, our Personal Outcome Measures® (POM) interviews have provided great benefits when our staff has an opportunity to hear an individual’s thoughts about their life and the path they want to follow. It has opened up many ways for new goals to be a focus in the year ahead. Overall, working with CQL has helped us enhance a positive focus on the people we serve and their overall well-being.

How do you envision the future of your partnership with CQL?

AHR/TRS is committed to our continuing partnership with CQL. We have enjoyed CQL’s actions to carry out what they say they will do throughout the accreditation process. We in turn, are committed to our response to enhance the work of our agencies. We will use the results of the opportunities discovered during the accreditation review, both now and in the future. CQL is a wonderful partner and we are very happy to learn and grow from the findings of our accreditation review.

A group of AHR/Touchstone staff and people receiving services, smiling in celebration.

“AHR/TRS takes every opportunity to recognize achievements & celebrations! In doing so, the agencies take the time to enjoy the milestones of our persons served.”

Advanced Health Resources/Touchstone Residential Services Leadership Team

Have questions about CQL Accreditation?

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Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.