Inside The Personal Outcome Measures®

Through the Personal Outcome Measures®, people receiving services share what really matters to them, including their hopes and aspirations. Organizations can then use that information to evaluate the quality of their services, become more responsive, and improve the quality of people’s lives.

What Are The Personal Outcome Measures®?

In a Personal Outcome Measures® interview, 21 indicators are used to gain valuable insight into the lives of youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. The interview covers a variety of topics, including choice, health, safety, social capital, relationships, rights, employment, and more. For decades, the internationally-recognized tool has been an effective data set for valid and reliable measurement of individual quality of life.

Why Are They Important?

When people directly describe what they want out of their life, organizations can ensure that services are actually facilitating those outcomes. At an individual level, the Personal Outcome Measures® can be used to inform a truly person-centered plan, and track progress in implementing that plan. At an aggregate level, organizations can collect Personal Outcome Measures® data to analyze the impact of their supports, identify effective services, and highlight areas where additional work is needed.

"Personal Outcome Measures® (POM) have had a profound impact on person-centeredness at Search."

Cory Gumm, Search Inc.

"The Personal Outcome Measures® ensure that we are meeting the needs of the person from their perspective. It’s authentic."

Leslie Long, The Arc of Cape May County

“The Personal Outcome Measures® interview is the springboard to all future planning.”

Dori Leslie, CHI Friendship

"By truly listening to people, we’re able to provide those supports they want and need. The POM helps us achieve this."

Jennifer Stavenhagen, The Adirondack Arc

Personal Outcome Measures® Application


Employees and organizations use outcomes to learn about people. Organizations discover what and how much an outcome means to each person. The choice of priority outcomes is very personal and grounded in people’s current and past life experiences. Personal Outcome Measures® can be used in learning about people and discovering individual outcomes. But people’s own experiences, challenges, and personalities always guide the learning process.


Once an organization has learned a person’s definition of the outcomes, the organization provides the services to facilitate outcome achievement. These services are processes focused on outcomes, not ends in themselves. Frequently the process begins with a person-centered plan. Those who support people are provided with tools to assist people in achieving personal goals. Organizations may use a variety of methods to facilitate outcomes.


After the organization aligns supports to facilitate personal outcomes, it determines if the outcomes were achieved. This occurs after extensive interactions and communication with people and those who know them best. CQL has developed a series of questions that follow a logic chain to guide decisions about the presence of outcomes. From this perspective, the measurement of the outcome defined by the person is a very objective process.

Have questions about Personal Outcome Measures®?

Personal Outcome Measures® Factors and Indicators

The Personal Outcome Measures® includes 21 indicators, organized under 5 factors, to better understand the desired outcomes of people receiving services.

Download Listing

My Human Security

  • People are safe
  • People are free from abuse and neglect
  • People have the best possible health
  • People experience continuity and security
  • People exercise rights
  • People are treated fairly
  • People are respected


My Community

  • People use their environments
  • People live in integrated environments
  • People interact with other members of the community
  • People participate in the life of the community

My Relationships

  • People are connected to natural support networks
  • People have friends
  • People have intimate relationships
  • People decide when to share personal information
  • People perform different social roles


My Choices

  • People choose where and with whom they live
  • People choose where they work
  • People choose services


My Goals

  • People choose personal goals
  • People realize personal goals

Get Started With The Personal Outcome Measures®

There are a number of ways to learn more about the Personal Outcome Measures® (POM), and especially how to apply it to your supports and services.


POM Manual

Obtain the Personal Outcome Measures® manual as a free download, or purchase a printed copy.



Watch webinar recordings that provide detailed insight into the information-gathering and decision-making process.



Download free resources that will assist you in better understanding and applying the POM.



Expand your knowledge of the Personal Outcome Measures® through dynamic and interactive training and workshops.



Learn about the POM with e-Learning courses for management and quality assurance teams.



Improve the validity and reliability in how you use the Personal Outcome Measures®, through CQL Certification.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you be more prepared before the interview?
  • Contact the person, explain the purpose of your visit and get permission to proceed.
  • Find out if the person needs any special accommodations (seating, communication assistance, personal supports, etc.).
  • Give the person options about the time and place.
  • A location familiar to the person often contains environmental cues and symbols that contribute to a good information exchange.
  • Check the person’s comfort level with the setting — seating arrangements, open or closed doors, other people present.
  • Do not form assumptions, perceptions, or opinions about the person ahead of time.


What are some tips to apply during the interview?
  • Explain why you are meeting with the person.
  • Provide the person with the Outcomes Overview Guide.
  • Affirm the person’s right to decline to answer questions and to end the meeting.
  • Observe and listen to everything.
  • Take notes on exactly what is communicated.
  • Be aware of body language and other cues.
  • Avoid making decisions at this time.


How can I gather more information after the interview?
  • Review and organize information from the discussion.
  • Make a list of items that need clarification.
  • Identify other people who can provide clarification.
  • Talk with the person’s family, friends, and staff as needed.
  • Visit with the person again in a different setting for further clarification.
  • Observe support activities and interactions.
  • Check documentation when you need details or verification of information.


What if the person does not use words to communicate?
  • Always begin by meeting the person with an expectation for success.
  • Spend time with the person, observing how the person interacts (or does not) with you or other people.
  • Find out who knows the person best.
  • Enlist the assistance of the people most familiar with the person and the person’s style of communication.
  • Talk with as many people as possible who are very close to the person.
  • Observe the person in as many different environments as possible.


How can the Personal Outcome Measures® be useful in data analysis?

Beyond the presence of outcomes and the supports in place to help people achieve those outcomes, agencies often require additional data analysis across a variety of data elements. An organization may want to explore whether a specific type of residential setting has any implications for a person participating in the life of their community. When it comes to people exercising their rights, agencies may want to evaluate decision-making authority to understand how autonomy and independence can affect the presence of particular rights. To dive deeper into the effect of staffing changes in various homes, outcomes data involving continuity and security could be reviewed by geographical location.

Where can organizations collect and analyze their Personal Outcome Measures® data?

Organizations are now using CQL’s PORTAL Data System, for the reporting, tracking, analysis, and logging of outcomes data. It is a secure, online tool to collect and evaluate your discoveries during Personal Outcome Measures® interviews. PORTAL integrates the information-gathering questions and decision-making matrix that are outlined within each indicator of the Personal Outcome Measures® manual. The data system aligns with the manual, which can serve as a convenient crosswalk for entering data.

Personal Outcome Measures® Overview Video

The 30-minute video provides an overview of the Personal Outcome Measures®, sharing how it helps human service providers and systems transform their services to support people to identify desired quality of life outcomes and realize their goals.