Examples of Team-Based Implementation of Person-Centered Practices and Other Positive Supports
The stories on this page are based on the work of real organization-wide teams during their first year making person-centered changes.
A Minnesota organization supporting adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in an employment-related setting was struggling due to high levels of staff turnover. The team decided to spend time working on changes that would improve staff attrition. The team felt that decreasing staff turnover would improve the organization's ability to provide person-centered services. The team's first step was to review the organization's data patterns, brainstorm ideas and share these ideas with everyone within the organization. The team decided that a mentor program for new staff would be helpful. All of the mentors invited to work on the project were trained as Person-Centered Thinking Coaches. These Coaches wrote short descriptions of who they were, as well as their interests and hobbies. The descriptions included a history of time spent within the organization, each mentor’s skills and experience, areas of interest, and unique aspects of their personalities. New employees used these written descriptions to choose the mentor who best fits their own interests. A mentor regularly checks in with their assigned new staff member to answer questions, help with the onboarding process, and provide support. The team is monitoring attrition and retention data to assess their new mentoring efforts over time.
A county in Minnesota created a Person-Centered Practices Corner. The county team felt that being person-centered started with how they work with each other. The team working on this project put the Person-Centered Practices Corner in a high traffic area where all staff members tended to visit regularly. The corner is used to share information about person-centered practices, including an approach called Person-Centered Thinking. Each supervisor created a one-page description that shared what is important to and important for them and these descriptions were posted in the Corner. Tools and other resources about Person-Centered Thinking were available for people interested in learning more. Pictures that shared a vision for the organization and a history of the first year of their work on person-centered practices were posted in the Person-Centered Practices Corner.
Members of a mental health center formed a team to work on person-centered practices within their Clubhouse. Mental Health Clubhouses support people with mental health needs who are in recovery by building skills, strengthening relationships, helping people find employment, and by learning more about what people need to continue their recovery. The team began by organizing clubhouse members into smaller groups. An organization-wide team member facilitated discussions in each of these groups. Clubhouse members defined their values and what those values look like during daily Clubhouse routines. They combined all of the feedback across groups to make a list of positive, supportive social behaviors and asked people to vote for what they considered was most important. Examples of these positive social behaviors included: moving chairs out of the way after meals so that people who use wheelchairs can move easily around the clubhouse, respecting each person’s space and privacy, and offering to help each other when cleaning up the clubhouse. Clubhouse members created "thank you" notes that they handed out when they saw someone use positive social behaviors that they decided were important.
Staff members in an assisted living facility supporting older adults developed one-page descriptions of each person in the memory care unit. These descriptions included what people liked and admired about each person, what was important to and for people, their hobbies and interests, and how best to support each person. Family members worked with facility staff to create these descriptions and when they were finished, they were hung outside each person’s door in the memory unit. This helped support staff, nurses and visiting doctors understand each person a little better, encouraged relationship building, and helped improve communication.
One organization that supports adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in residential and employment settings used a person-centered planning process called a PATH to guide a large group in a brainstorming session to improve HCBS services. The goal was to outline the vision for HCBS and discuss how to improve person-centeredness overall. The PATH process starts by asking people what the dream is for the organization in order to make sure that people receiving services can live their best lives. The process involves thinking about the steps needed to make this dream a reality across two years. Together, the group discussed what actions were needed. They talked about what would be accomplished in two years, what actions were needed within one year, and the steps involved in the first six months. People who attended this planning process included people receiving supports, family members, guardians, caregivers, supervisors, managers, direct support staff, and community members. The planning process brought everyone together to make decisions and think about what was most important to the different people receiving and providing services.