We work in partnership with people with disabilities so each person can plan and live happy and healthy lives. Despite everyone’s best efforts, things come up along the way that prompt us to take a look at what we are doing. In our line of work, when things fall outside the norm, they are often considered reportable incidents. The Office of Developmental Program’s defines an “incident” as an event with potential to adversely impact an individual’s health, safety, or rights.
While incidents can be frustrating, they also provide an opportunity to assess the quality of services provided. From there, we work with the person and their team to identify and lead areas of improvement. It can also lead to systemic improvements.
Striving to be incident-free is an unrealistic goal for any provider. However, we can create the conditions for reduced incidents. It starts with including the person and their team in creating an aspirational Individual Support Plan that includes preventive strategies, ongoing. By doing so, we are promoting a healthy and fulfilled life. Then, with proper oversight, quality training, and ongoing supervision, we are working proactively to decrease the potential for harmful incidents.
In all circumstances, there are lessons to be learned. These lessons offer so much value. They strengthen relationships. They also allow us to enhance our support of one another. The goal is for us to strive to be better, together. By learning from past incidents, we can prevent recurrences. We also promote happier and healthier lives. At Values Into Action, we contract with an external Certified Investigator. This allows a conflict-free investigation process that compels reflection and accountability beyond what is required.
The incident management system is critical in our field. It provides parameters that promote the health, safety, and rights of people served. These guidelines act as the backdrop for collaborative quality management efforts to take place. It is important that we acknowledge the “Value of the Unexpected,” and take the learning opportunities as they come.