FY22 Quality Enhancement Results and FY23 Plan
Quality Enhancement Planning (QEP) at Search is a comprehensive, agency-wide process for making continuous improvements to the services and supports we provide. The process involves a diverse group of stakeholders, including the people we serve, their families and friends, community employers and other community partners, as well as leadership and staff members from all levels of the organization.
Our FY23 QEP goals build upon the success of FY22 and allow us to continuously develop our programs and services. Our goals this year focus on the priorities communicated to us by all of our stakeholders including Search leadership, Direct Support Professionals, and the people and families Search supports. These goals are detailed in our full FY23 QEP plan.
This year, all QEP goals are organized around the CQL Basic Assurances, which are a balance between concerns for individual Health, Safety and Security and the necessity of social constructs such as Respect, Natural Supports and Social Networks to ensure sustainable outcomes for people. Basic Assurances are essential, fundamental and non-negotiable requirements for all service and support providers. Basic Assurances are demonstrations of successful operations in the areas of health, safety and human security, forming the bedrock of social stability.
As a team, we made great strides this past year. Every Search team member worked collaboratively to make substantial progress on several initiatives related to our programs and services.
FY22 QEP goals spanned the entire Search organization and included:
Accessibility Improvements Ensuring Accessible and Safe Environments
Search continued to improve its properties with a focus on accessibility throughout the fiscal year. FY22 highlights included the completion of a larger, improved landing at Enfield home with the support of CDB funding from the Village of Skokie. We also installed new concrete at 4 homes to improve the safety and accessibility of the exterior walkways.
In our community homes specifically, access to private spaces and privacy were greatly expanded in FY 22. In the fiscal year, all Search homes received an accessible keypad on one exterior door as well as lockable doorknobs on all interior bedroom doors.
Additionally, new sensory emersion spaces were created at our Oriole and Church homes. These spaces are designed for individuals with diverse sensory needs. The purpose of this space is to help individuals learn to self-regulate their sensory inputs and outputs, improve focus and enhance fine and gross motor skills. Being in this type of environment also helps to improve visual, auditory, and tactile processing.
Finally, planning work was completed with the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to remodel the entrance at our Lincoln Adult Learning site to improve accessibility for people with mobility challenges or those who use the support of a wheelchair. This project will be fully completed in FY23.
Visibility Arts Makes Major Milestones
In FY22, our Visibility Arts artists hosted 15 art shows and 4 events, including teaching and mentoring experiences for our artists. There were 3 art shows hosted at our Planet Access store.
We expanded community partnerships in Visibility Arts, including Studio 3 in Evanston and with City Elementary in Hyde Park. These opportunities have allowed Visibility Artists to get involved with unique experiences in their communities.
The City Elementary partnerships resulted in Visibility Arts artists leading an art activity onsite at the school in May. In April, Visibility Arts Artist, Pam S. co-taught a Character Development workshop at Studio 3, for which she was paid. Studio 3 also hosted a NeurodiVERSED art show in March.
Also in FY22, Three artists participated in a show at Dittmar Memorial Gallery at Northwestern, two artists participated in the Visible Invisible Art Exhibition at Noyes Cultural Center, and three artists participated in the Evanston Made: BIPOC Members Group Show. Visibility Arts ended the fiscal year with a huge show at Uncommon Ground in Lakeview, which will stay up through November 2022. It's predicted the show will be viewed by over 60,000 patrons.
We continued to sell Visibility Arts products at our Planet Access social enterprise store in Lincoln Square. Products included glassware, candles, buttons, pins, stickers, paintings and prints. In the upcoming fiscal year, we are excited to expand on these successes.
Staff Development Opportunities
Search contracted with Blue Tower Solutions to launch “It Starts with Hello,” a training curriculum aimed to improve inclusivity and equity for everyone at Search. This curriculum is co-taught by staff members and the people supported by Search.
25 Search staff members participated in the United Front initiative in FY22. United Front offers a program that provides a safe environment for participants to learn a shared humanity, a common language, and philosophy around diversity, inclusion and equity.
These initiatives will be continued in this coming fiscal year.
Career Services Has Stellar Year
Our Career Services (CES) team had a stellar year, providing job placement services and vocational support to 49 individuals in FY22. The unwavering commitment of the CES team along with the incredible support of our exceptional community employer partners resulted in 18 brand new job placements over the past year, which is a CES record for placements in a fiscal year. For those who chose to continue working, there was an unparalleled job retention rate of 100% for pre-pandemic placements!
Expectations were exceeded on Performance-Based Contracts with the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) leading to expanded capacity allotments from the State for FY23. These additional funds will enhance CES’ outreach to the communities we serve and lead to even greater outcomes for our future job seekers.
Clinical Services Expands Access to Quality Healthcare
In FY21, Search began using Station MD to provide telehealth medical services at our Central Park, Gross Point and Golfview homes. With Station MD, individuals do not need to leave their home to receive assessment and care from their on-call physicians which reduces the stress of transitioning to the hospital, waiting, and being exposed to the elements of that environment. Search expanded the use of Station MD in FY22 to six additional homes as well as two Community Day Services locations for a total of 11 sites. We will continue this momentum in the coming fiscal year.
Enrollment in the Medical Self Advocate’s Program increased from 36 individuals in FY21 to 42 in FY22. Virtual meetings were held via Zoom throughout the fiscal year. In collaboration with Oak Point University students, individual medical passports were created for 22 Medical Self-Advocates this fiscal year.
FY23 Quality Enhancement Goal Highlights
For FY23, Search has identified 14 quality enhancement goals. Each goal has a desired outcome with 3-4 measurable milestones that will be monitored for progress on a quarterly basis. A few highlights of this year’s goals include:
- Build robust opportunities for individuals to participate in community education and advocacy activities. (Rights Protection and Promotion)
- Improve the experience of students and families who are entering adult services by engaging with their natural support networks. (Natural Support Networks)
- Research and identify opportunities to provide behavioral health services to new populations of individuals with disabilities. (Best Possible Health)
- Launch a DSP task force to increase DSP involvement in organizational priorities. (Staff Resources and Supports)
- Review Search ALP and SLP to ensure compliance with the HCBS Settings Rule. (Positive Services and Supports)
- Broaden external communications activities with all Search stakeholders. (Continuity and Personal Security)
Thank you for being a part of our Search community! Our team looks forward to learning and growing as an organization this coming year.