Quality of life survey shows the way forward

Minnie, a self-advocate surveyor who works with Malatest, demonstrates the include Me! quality of life survey at a recent launch event in Port Moody.

“The include Me! survey is important to us because we get information directly from people served about how they’re supported to have their best quality of life,” says Randy Humchitt, Deputy Executive Director of the Nanaimo Association for Community Living (NACL). “It helps us see what we can do as an organization to improve their quality of life.”

CLBC’s include Me! initiative is continuing to gain momentum across the province as it expands to more regions this year. The survey invites individuals CLBC serves to participate in a survey that measures quality of life from their perspective.

Polling the province

The surveys have been taking place this fall with 16 participating agencies in the Vancouver Coastal and South Fraser regions, and have expanded for the first time to Vancouver Island (Duncan and Nanaimo) and additional locations in the Southern Interior (Grand Forks) and North / Thompson-Cariboo (Kamloops) regions.

Those conducting the surveys are individuals with developmental disabilities who are hired, trained, supported and paid by a research firm (R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd.) contracted by CLBC to conduct this work. The survey asks people CLBC serves questions about eight quality of life domains. For example, how they feel about their health, finances and home; whether they have opportunities for learning and choice; how things are going with their friends, family and community; and if they feel safe in their neighbourhood.

Debbie Reece, CLBC Strategic Initiative Advisor, and Cory Friesen, include Me! Regional Advisor, kick off the survey process at one of the many local launch events during the fall.

To launch the surveys and build excitement, agencies hosted launch events this fall with individuals they support. NACL, which is participating in include Me! for the first time this year, held a launch event at their day program and an evening event for home sharing providers and supported individuals. At the events, CLBC staff and surveyors shared what the survey is all about. Then interested individuals took part in a one-on-one survey with the peer surveyors. Randy observed during the presentation and discussion that individuals who previously hadn’t been vocal about their quality of life were speaking up enthusiastically.

“I saw aspects of people’s personality that we hadn’t seen before,” said Randy. “When we have the opportunity to hear their voice, they can pleasantly surprise us.”

When CLBC approached NACL to participate, they jumped on board. NACL focuses their services around the quality of life framework so they wanted to see how they’re doing as an organization.

“Primarily we want to use the data to say ‘here’s where we need to step up our game’,” adds Randy. “It gives us a great barometer of where we’re at in our services and where we can go.”

A clearer picture through data

The include Me! survey is based on a framework that was researched, developed, and internationally validated by Dr. Robert Schalock. CLBC hosted quality of life sessions for service providers with Dr. Schalock this fall in Vancouver and Nanaimo.

Dr. Robert Schalock developed the quality of life framework that the include Me! survey is based on, and shared his expertise and insights with service providers at sessions in Vancouver and Nanaimo.

Dr. Schalock highlighted the importance of self-determination, one of the eight quality of life domains, which provides an individual with choice and personal autonomy. He also explained that successful personal support plans are built on an individual’s goals, and support strategies can be tied to the quality of life domains that are most important to the individual.

This is the eighth year that CLBC has conducted the include Me! survey. As of September 2019, close to 6,000 individuals have been surveyed and quality of life data has been gathered with 70 agencies (23 for a second time) in four out of five regions. By the end of the 2019 survey period, CLBC will have surveyed approximately 7,000 individuals in all five of CLBC’s regions.

CLBC’s Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives Jack Styan noted at the session with Dr. Schalock that a robust data set has been collected through the surveys over the years that allows CLBC to do an analysis comparing different service types.

“The include Me! quality of life initiative has given CLBC a framework to understand how to better the lives of people we support,” says Jack. “It provides the perspective of individuals themselves about how they’re doing.”

Occasionally, CLBC also conducts a version of include Me! quality of life survey with members of the general public in B.C. This information is used as a point of comparison for the data collected from individuals who receive CLBC funded services. Malatest, on behalf of CLBC, is currently conducting data collection with the general public in the Fall of 2019.

Learn more and see the survey results

To learn more about CLBC’s quality of life survey, including helpful information sheets, visit the include Me! page on our website here.

You can also view the provincial results from the 2018/19 include Me! surveys here. In addition to the provincial results, a storyboard and summary report were produced for, and provided to, each participating service provider and region. These reports include additional information and comparisons that are useful when interpreting results.

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