2002 Conference Proceedings

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Beyond Accreditation: CARF's Quality Improvement Products For Assistive Technology Services In The New Century

Dale L. Dutton
CARF...The Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission

Quality, results-oriented standards for accreditation of Assistive Technology Services are now available from CARF's Employment and Community Services Division. These new standards address the relevant points of federal legislation and state implementation acts. As with all CARF accreditation standards, they were created by users, providers, and funders of such services. For 2002, Assistive Technology Services accreditation has been moved to its own separate section in the standards manual, reflecting the unique importance and impact of these services in the lives of persons with disabilities.

Assistive Technology Services include aiding an individual in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device; providing information about, referrals for, and observations of assistive technology devices; and/or exploring alternative strategies.

Strategies for accommodation may include the use of Assistive Technology applications in communication, environmental control, mobility, education and training, activities of daily living, employment, recreation, transportation and/or meeting any other employment or community related needs as defined by the persons or families served.

Some major points of the 2002 CARF ECS standards are:

* Addressing the needs for Assistive Technology in all service planning.
* Connecting with local and regional Assistive Technology service providers.
* Disclosing information to the person receiving services about the abilities of the assistive technology service provider.
* Integrating assistive technology into employment and other services.
* Helping persons served make informed choices by including a full array of options and the costs associated with the choices.

In 2002, Assistive Technology Accreditation opportunities have their own separate section of Principle Standards as well as specific quality indicators in both the areas of Employment and Community Services. Services may be provided in a variety of sites and settings, including organizational programs, community residential and/or education locations.

Working in concert with individual certification and credentialling opportunities, CARF offers an organization accreditation based on the results of the services provided.

Many early applicants have been organizations with existing CARF accreditation who wish to add this new seal of quality to their existing service marketing efforts. Others are new to CARF, and represent providers who have come into prominence under the implementation of the various state's Tech Acts of the last few years. They see the opportunity now to have an independent, impartial observation of their services and the value of a structured quality improvement, consumer focused service delivery design.

In response to this interest, CARF is actively reviewing the experience backgrounds of its existing surveyor cadre and soliciting applications for persons with experience in the field who have interest in becoming surveyors.

Training and information toward accreditation will be included in the CARF International Conference in Tucson in February, all Regional training sessions planned for 2002, and specific exhibits and presentations at the CSUN and RESNA conferences this year.

We look forward to assisting the providers and users of Assistive Technology services. If we can provide additional information, you may reach us at the following:

Employment and Community Services Division
National Directors
Paul Andrew, x112, or Dale Dutton, x133
email: pandrew@carf.org, or ddutton@carf.org

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