Over the past couple of months, we have embarked on a Province wide road trip to talk to people with disabilities, their families and the people who provide services to them. It has been a rich and profound experience to have people share their hopes, ideas and stories with us as we have gone to the different regions of the Province.
Our intent was to go and listen… listen to the collective wisdom, hear stories of frustration and joy, glimpse the passion and commitment to better services and take in the hopes and dreams of people who receive those services and their families. The rich insight we gained will give context and power to the next steps in our work on the quality assurance framework.
We asked questions like: “What’s a good life?”, “What’s working?”, “What do you hope for?”, “What do you need from services to move towards that good life?”. These questions will directly inform the outcomes and standards that will be created as part of the framework.
From service providers we heard a strong desire to improve services, to gain knowledge and expertise, to work collaboratively to share success and lift each other up. From families we heard a desire for connection… connection to other family members walking the same journey, a sense of their place in the service system and most of all a desire to be an active and respected part of their family members’ support team. From people with disabilities we heard strong consensus…. they want a real home, a real job, real friends and rides to get around!
While many things we have heard did not surprise us, everything we heard has eloquently and profoundly confirmed the importance and need for a common set of expectations for high quality, consistent and accountable services and a reliable way to measure our successes (as well as how far we may have to go!)
We will end this round of focus group sessions in the North in early May and are working with Health in Common to produce a “What We Heard” summary that will be available on this site and shared with those that requested it as we went around the Province. To date we have visited and held focus groups in Selkirk, Steinbach, Dauphin, Brandon, Winkler, and Winnipeg. So far we have talked to almost 250 people and another 90 completed online or written surveys.
Next steps in our work towards a Quality Assurance Framework will be to take what we heard, along with best practice research available and our learning from other jurisdictions in Canada and beyond and begin to draft the outcomes and standards that will be the backbone of the framework.
Thank you for your sharing your stories with us as we have traveled.. thank you for sharing your hopes, dreams, ideas and experiences… we know our questions, while simple, were not always simple to answer and your passion, commitment and willingness to spend your time and energy to help inform this process will make it a better one!
Next stop… Thompson!