Gauging satisfaction in support of quality improvement
RMHS shares results of client satisfaction survey for people supported.
A satisfaction survey of people supported by Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) showed overall positive results despite disruptions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gathering feedback and looking for ways to continuously improve services and supports always a high priority at RMHS. When a recommendation was received as a part of a 2019 audit to create and distribute a satisfaction survey to people supported by the organization, RMHS quickly went to work and made the suggestion a reality.
Overall, the results were positive and there were no identified areas of significant concern. But there is always room for improvement and there were responses that provided valuable information that will support ongoing improvement efforts.
RMHS engaged the services of HMA Community Strategies to ensure the survey design and execution followed best practices. Work started in early 2020, with HMA communicating closely with a cross-departmental group of RMHS employees.
They put together a core set of questions coupled with a few program-specific questions. All the questions were designed to elicit an actionable response. The survey was available in multiple languages, the wording was simple and free from jargon and there were multiple options for responding including the option to respond verbally.
As the survey design was being finalized, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a public health crisis. As RMHS staff and services moved to a remote work environment and stay at home orders were issued, concerns began to grow about asking individuals and families to participate when there was so much uncertainty and stress in the community. The decision was made in March to pause work on survey distribution and focus on supporting individuals and families with the challenges emerging.
Work on the survey resumed in June, including a decision to add questions related directly to COVID-19 and its impact on people’s satisfaction with their RMHS services and supports. In July and August, the survey was distributed, and responses were collected by HMA. HMA targeted a 10 percent response rate and achieved a 15 percent response rate. Additionally, the demographics of the respondents was very consistent with the demographics of people supported by RMHS.
Pre-COVID, respondents generally reported “often” having a positive experience with their services and supports, with “often” being the choice that indicated the highest level of satisfaction. There were subtle differences in satisfaction levels across programs, but overall, no significant differences emerged. The data was helpful in identifying both strengths and challenges.
Accessible and timely engagement and assistance.
Assuring informed and free choice, rights and privacy.
“[Service coordinator] is wonderful and I hope is spotlighted by her role in my daughter's care. She is extremely responsive. This tells me she knows how to complete all aspects of her role for my child to have the best possible outcomes. Thank you!” – EI Caregiver
Payment and approval for services.
Delay in receiving services.
Frequent changes in service coordinators.
“We have had numerous changes in service members due to them leaving. This is a real strain to these people that depend on someone to help them in time of need.” – Service Coordination Self Advocate
Responses from the questions related directly to the pandemic revealed that people supported by RMHS are experiencing significant impacts related to COVID-19. While people’s satisfaction generally remained high, there was a drop from pre-COVID levels. Two common reasons cited for the change in satisfaction were a desire to return to in-person services and a lack of access to technology. RMHS values input and has identified five next steps based on the survey responses.
Improve workflows to expedite timely authorization and service delivery.
Identify which services need to be prioritized for returning to in-person and when and how to do so safely.
Ensure that the people we support know how to ask for a new service coordinator or other needs.
Prioritize technological solutions and supports when access is a barrier.
Identify strategies to reduce staff turnover.
RMHS is grateful to all the people who responded to the survey and gave their feedback. Work is underway to identify and implement the best methods to continue to gather information and support RMHS’ ongoing quality improvement processes.