Clients will receive information regarding their rights to submit such complaints. Clients will also be informed on the different levels and time frames related to the process of submitting complaints. Clients and their representatives will receive assistance in the process of grievances, until the complaints are resolved. It is important to the agency that not only direct clients, but also their family members and other representatives be satisfied with the quality of service at all times.
Complaints or grievances can be filed by any client of the Division of Development Disabilities, their parents, guardians, or other representatives. These persons have the right to make complaints or initiate grievances. Areas targeted for such grievances may be the conditions under which clients are treated, as well as treatment provided by the staff of the Division or other service providers under the Division. Upon receipt of such complaints, it is the obligation of Serenity to handle all complaints in a timely and professional manner. These responses will be handled according to policies and procedures until the client, parent, guardian, or representative is satisfied that Serenity has done all in its power to obtain an acceptable resolution for the complaint or grievance. Being a service provider, client satisfaction, communication and satisfactory service are at the top of the agency's list of priorities.
12. The complaints and grievances process entails a number of steps to facilitate the process not only for clients, but also to ensure that all staff involved can handle the situation promptly. Appropriate procedures are established for responding to complaints and grievances, as mentioned above. Clients and their representatives receive specific information on submitting grievances and complaints. Clients and their representatives are made fully aware of their rights to submit grievances and complaints. They are also assisted on the different levels of submitting and handling complaints.
13. In addition to their right to submit complaints and grievances, clients and their representatives also have the right to submit input regarding the level of service and conditions provided. Firstly, clients are provided with a documented list of best client interests. This can then be used not only in the complaint process, but also as a basis for submitting further improvements and additions to the list. The purpose of this list is to solicit family support, preserve the integrity of the family in terms of clients and family members, and to involve the family in problem-solving and decision-making in terms of the care clients receive. The family is therefore supported and empowered in order to help the agency in its care giving capacity.
A mailing list is established in order to connect not only individual families and clients with the agency, but also to connect families and clients with each other in terms of support and empowerment. The electronic media provide a very large framework for support, without having to establish a physical location for inter-family meetings. Clients' families will then be able to understand that neither they nor their disabled family members are alone in their predicament. This alone establishes a very prominent sense of support. Establishing an online community therefore helps families to connect on a community basis. This is then also a channel by which input can be provided to the agency. Family empowerment is regarded as a very important element of mental health in children. Thus, input from families is highly encouraged, since studies have shown that greater family involvement also means better mental health for the children of these families.
14. As involvement is seen as a vitally important element of providing mental health services, measures are implemented by which consumer and family satisfaction with the service is measured. In determining how these measures can best be implemented, what other agencies are doing has been investigated. In Northern Arizona, for example, parents are involved as leaders on the Board of Directors of the Human Service Cooperative, a measure supported by the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities. In Flagstaff, a Community Partnership website has been developed via which information and communication are facilitated. The University of Northern Arizona arranged a conference on Autism in October 2004.
These are measures that can be used as a springboard for ideas in the agency's future as a service provider. Basically, client and family satisfaction is measured by communication. It is therefore vital to, as seen above, communicate with all involved in the service. Such communication serves more than one important function: it imparts to families and clients their rights, while also soliciting from clients and families their level of satisfaction. The electronic media have facilitated this process to a great degree. What other agencies have done serves as an important springboard for ideas for what can be done locally.
15. In addition to clients and families, the non-related representatives of clients also need to be taken into account when monitoring the level of satisfaction. These persons also have the right to submit complaints and grievances, and thus also have the right to submit input regarding their satisfaction. Specifically, a wider context needs to be established from which to measure the satisfaction of client representatives.
A definitional framework should then be suggested as a framework of consumer satisfaction. This framework should be established on the basis of monitored consumer views. Different contextual settings can also be considered in developing this framework. The established definitions of satisfaction should then be established as being consistent with the consumer views that are collected. The consumer is the focus of care and should therefore be considered as very important in developing the definitions of satisfaction. Concomitantly, consumers should also understand what is meant when the agency uses the term satisfaction. Specific and targeted studies are conducted to establish the different components involved in consumer satisfaction and its various meanings.
16. Because family-centered care is at the heart of our service delivery, it is important that both clients and their families and representatives are involved in as many as possible of the administrative processes that concern them directly. One of these processes is the hiring and evaluation of direct service staff.
It is our concern to establish relationships between families and staff rather than just an impersonal connection of clinical care. Hiring and evaluating staff is therefore driven by the needs of families and children that come to use for service and care. Family-centered care means that families have the right to periodically evaluate the staff members providing them with care. This includes both positive and negative evaluations. In the case of negative evaluations, staff members are made aware of room for improvement and are asked to pay attention to problem areas. Because our paradigm of care is focused upon the needs of human beings, it is important that relationships with professionals occur in a collaborative and mutually respectful way.
17. Feedback within the agency is forwarded to Kenneth Rose, the Controlling Manager. The Controlling Manager takes to heart the specific needs of clients and their families. As such, he involves all the necessary parties in feedback sessions in order to provide the highest level of service excellence to families.
18. Clients and their families, caregivers and/or representatives are not only to provide feedback, but they are also expected to be part of the evaluation process in order to improve services. One of our concerns is therefore to, as mentioned above, help to establish good relationships with caregivers, especially in cases where these caregivers work at their clients' homes.
In such cases, families often feel unsure and nervous about caregivers within their homes to care for their children. This is particularly the case when caregivers are established in the home for the first time. Families need to be reassured regarding the necessity of care for the well-being of their children. These families therefore need to be reassured by establishing good relationships with their caregivers from the beginning of the care period. Specifically, caregivers are expected to establish open, honest, and respectful communication with families. This will translate into better care for children, who will receive care in a positive atmosphere that promotes learning and health. We believe that such a philosophy of family-centered care best meets the needs of the primary care clients, the children, and their families. Family-centered care occurs in a mutually respectful and collaborative way, according to principles such as: dignity and respect, complete, unbiased and useful information, and a paradigm of control and independence for clients and families. The relationship with the caregiver is therefore seen as collaborative and equal, with families and children continually made aware of their rights to provide input, criticism, and praise when it is deserved.
19. Feedback from former consumers is very important to provide families with the information necessary to make informed decisions about the care of their children and wards. This falls into the category of mutually respectful communication between the agency, its employees, and care recipients. Families have the right to be provided with targeted and…