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New Clarity About The Personal Outcome Measures®

By Erica Giaimo, Quality Assurance Director, Welcome House Inc.

I became interested in this field after having family members diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders and spending summers in high school working at a camp for kids diagnosed with Autism. One of my favorite positions was as a direct support professional (DSP) at the St. Louis Arc during college. I joined Welcome House as the Quality Assurance Director after graduating from Cleveland State University with a Masters in Clinical Psychology and have remained in this position for the past 11 years.

About Welcome House

Welcome House, Inc., located in Westlake, Ohio, is dedicated to helping individuals with developmental disabilities live full and rewarding lives by providing a variety of residential services in an atmosphere of a caring community. Welcome House currently provides residential services to over 200 individuals with developmental disabilities every day in a total of 45 residential sites.

Welcome House logo

After receiving Quality Assurances Accreditation in February 2020, Welcome House began using the Personal Outcome Measures® (POM) in the summer of 2020. The information gathered during the Personal Outcome Measures® interview process is communicated to the person’s staff to provide additional guidance into preferred supports. We have also focused our training efforts on the Personal Outcome Measures® factors and indicators with an emphasis on choice and participation.

Power Of The Personal Outcome Measures®

We have already seen some positive impact on people receiving services by utilizing the Personal Outcome Measures® to highlight what matters most to a person. A discussion about the indicator ‘People have the best possible health’ prompted us to assist a person to seek a second opinion for a knee replacement which has resulted in the elimination of significant pain and increased mobility for the person. Related to the factor ‘My Community,’ we are currently pursuing an electric wheelchair for a person who expressed that their access within the community is limited due to their stamina to self-propel their manual wheelchair for long distances.

As we were using the Personal Outcome Measures® within our organization, I began to wonder if each interviewer was interpreting the guidelines in the same way. I had conducted one POM interview prior to attending the workshop and had watched several of the presentations from the POM Decision-Making Webinar Series and the POM Indicator Webinar Series. I saw the Virtual Personal Outcome Measures® Workshop, which took place in April 2021, as the perfect opportunity to gain further insight into the POM factors and indicators to ensure we were consistently scoring each interview.

Impact Of The Virtual POM Workshop

The workshop provided clarity on the decision-making related to the Personal Outcome Measures®. It was refreshing to spend the week focusing on individual outcomes and supports related to the Personal Outcome Measures®.

There were quite a few interesting takeaways from the workshop. I learned that the specific meaning of the outcome is defined by each person based on their own experiences. This really shifted the way that I thought about the POM decision-making and reiterated the idea that we must discover how each person defined the outcome for themself.

“Viewing an outcome or support that is not present as an ‘opportunity’ was also a transformative process.”

Erica Giaimo, Quality Assurance Director, Welcome House Inc.

Viewing an outcome or support that is not present as an ‘opportunity’ was also a transformative process. This non-judgmental language changed the way that I think about the outcome and our response as an agency.

Another major concept was “The Three E’s: Education, Experience, Exposure.” The fact that people need to have these three areas as the foundation to achieve the outcome really put things into perspective. In addition, I appreciated learning more about the Personal Outcome Measures® data and how individual outcomes are correlated with certain indicators.

The workshop experience was interactive and well-paced with small group activities integrated throughout. The virtual format allowed for flexibility and comfort while still being connected within the group. Conducting actual POM interviews throughout the workshop and using multiple real-world examples also allowed for a dynamic discussion about each factor and indicator.

Moving Forward With The POM

We plan to continue to use the Personal Outcome Measures® during each person’s annual planning. The information gathered during the POM process will be implemented into the person’s plan and integrated in the person’s individualized supports.

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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.