Helping collect what’s meaningful to people who have a disability
Setting out to capture what defines quality of life for others is having a positive impact on interviewer Christina Tomingas.
Through the Quality of Life Project, Christina and 19 other self-advocates from seven service provider organizations in the Fraser Region are interviewing people served about their life experiences.
The project, through a series of confidential questions, is intended to help define what makes people’s lives meaningful and how agencies may be better able to support them.
The New Westminster resident was hired in October 2010 and has conducted about 35 interviews so far.
“I wanted to be involved in a new experience and get involved with different organizations,” Christina says.
“It did sound like a fun job as well.”
The Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) is one of the agencies embracing the opportunity to hear directly and candidly from the people it serves.
Since the project is confidential, Christina can’t share what she’s learning so far but says the personal and professional experience she’s gaining is valuable.
“I really enjoy it.”
Work provides the opportunity to travel to Langley, White Rock and different areas of the lower mainland. She likes being part of a team, conducting the interviews and meeting her fellow interviewers.
“I like to work with different people,” Christina says.
She particularly appreciates the Quality of Life Project team meetings when she gathers with her colleagues who have been hired to conduct the same work. She expects she will stay in touch with some of her co-workers.
The project is about half-way through and set to wind down in March.
BACI is excited to be one of the participating organizations, Leslee Madore, senior manager of human resources and quality assurance for BACI, earlier told BACI Blast.
“As an organization, BACI has always been committed to listening to the needs of the individuals and families we serve and participating in a project like this will hopefully deepen our understanding of what it means to have a good quality of life,” Leslee says.
The survey utilizes a tool called ‘My Life – Personal Outcomes Index,’ created by Dr. Robert Schalock, and encompasses questions that target eight areas or aspects of life including independence, personal development, social inclusion, rights and emotional well-being.
They’re designed to be accessible to people with a range of abilities and are based on the premise that quality of life can be measured.
“People are excited to participate — both the interviewer and the interviewees. As Dr. Schalock shared with us, having self-advocates conduct this research will provide more and better data than he, or other professionals, could obtain because the process is collaborative between self-advocates,” Leslee adds.
Christina and three other self-advocates served by BACI were hired to conduct the interviews with people who access support from other service providers.
Once completed, the results will be reviewed, collated and shared with the umbrella organization, Community Living British Columbia, which will then disseminate the information to participating organizations.
BACI will receive feedback from 82 interviews.
Leslee says the results will help shape BACI’s quality-improvement plan.
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