Improving Quality of Life

CQT’s primary goal is to address individuals’ needs. One CQT staff member has a card taped to their door that reads: Tell someone what you need and see what happens. Sometimes all it takes is one voice.

Here are a few stories about how a CQT interview, site visit, report, or meeting improved an individual consumer’s quality of life:

Special Dietary Needs Met

A consumer at an inpatient facility told CQT they needed kosher meals. They were not eating because the meals served at the facility did not meet their needs. CQT brought this to the attention of hospital staff, who reported that they had not heard this request from the consumer. The facility immediately provided kosher meals for the consumer. 

From Staff Misconduct to A Safe Program

At one of its first visits to a PRP, consumers told CQT about staff abuse and their fear of retribution for reporting the abuse. After program staff violated the confidentiality of interviews, CQT terminated the visit and immediately reported this information to the CSA. Two days later, the program director reported that corrective measures were taken and CQT scheduled a follow-up visit. At the follow up, abusive staff had been replaced, the curriculum had improved, and the facility was cleaned.

A Glass of Water in the Night

At an inpatient facility, a consumer reported that they could not have drinking water upstairs where the bedrooms are located. They took medication that made them frequently thirsty, and requested water be available upstairs throughout the night. CQT reported this to staff, who shared that carrying water upstairs posed a safety issue. CQT reviewed the request with the facility’s senior management in the next Feedback Meeting. They worked with staff to create a safe water station for consumers.

Uncovering Trends and Finding Solutions

While CQT hears comments about food at nearly every program, teams heard consistent and repeated complaints about the food at three sites run by the same agency. After reports to staff, CQT learned that the same caterer was used at all three sites. Agency staff began to look for a better option and contracted a new caterer. On subsequent site visits, CQT heard from consumers that the new food was much better and included healthier options.

Improving Procedures for Safety Issues

Safety concerns reported during CQT interviews are immediately referred to the appropriate staff and/or funding/oversight agencies. In inpatient facilities, issues with safety, abuse, or rights violations are immediately referred to the Resident Grievance System. One Rights Advisor shared with CQT that the facility had begun to revise its reporting guidelines for abuse and rights violations after CQT reported new, uninvestigated concerns from consumers in the hospital.

Individual Choice and Staff Education

At one agency, CQT heard that the residential program staff pooled individual consumers’ food stamps to buy food for the whole house. Consumers wanted to control their own stamps. CQT reported this at the monthly Feedback Meeting and attendees responded that was not an appropriate or legal way to manage food stamps. The Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland (CBH) started a discussion group among member agencies to clarify regulations and solicit feedback on how to help consumers best manage their stamps.

Consumers Becoming Advocates

At a PRP site visit, CQT interviewed a consumer who requested information about their personal rights in the public behavioral health system. CQT staff reported their request to program staff and gave them information about local consumer-run advocacy organizations. They stopped in during the next site visit to thank CQT; the program staff gave them the information they requested immediately. They had also contacted the local consumer group, gone through training, and was going to be teaching a class on advocacy!

Unlocking Doors to a New Home

A consumer shared their CQT Success Story: “I talked to CQT a few times when I was at [one program], and then when I moved up to [another program], CQT came there too. One of the things I talked to them about was how I needed housing. I have some criminal charges on my record and I have a limited income, so it was hard to find housing. CQT talked to the program staff and to the Core Service Agency. The CSA got in touch with me and helped me get into Shelter + Care housing. I still have that housing today and it’s going very well. In my experience, CQT has been very helpful over the years.”

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