Archives: Case Studies

Partnerships in Community Living Inc. Helps Empower Staff with College of Direct Support

Prior to using the training solutions available through DirectCourse, Partnerships in Community Living Inc. was training their staff in a classroom setting that would take place over a two-week orientation. However, they soon realized a need for a more modern, intuitive solution, one that would allow learners to meet objectives at their
own pace.

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How MCOs can Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs of Care for Older Adults and Members with Disabilities

The high impact of competency-based training is being recognized throughout the industry

Helping people with disabilities and older citizens to build and enjoy rewarding lives in their communities is an important pursuit. As MCOs continue to take on responsibility for disbursement of related services and funding under Medicaid, they must look for the best ways to fulfill that mission. A primary goal should be insistence on the creation and maintenance of well-trained direct support staffs with the full range of knowledge and competencies required to create an environment of superior, sustained care for these higher-need populations. By requiring staff education specific to the environment in which these members are served, MCOs can put in place a system that helps them meet their own goals while contributing to the U.S. healthcare’s “Triple Aim” of improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations and reducing per capital costs.

Read more – download the white paper here.

A Precision Tool for Training

Read more about Partnerships in Employment, a system change effort focused on helping states increase their employment opportunities for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

University of Minnesota Research Study


See the initial results here!



Study Name: The Effects of a Competency Based Training Intervention for Direct Support Professionals on Site Level Organizational Outcomes, Learner Outcomes and Service Recipient Outcomes

Short name: “Comprehensive Training Study”

Description and Purpose of the Study:

This study was conducted at the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living (UMN/RTC). It was funded by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education grant number Education #H133G080029.

This study was a five-year longitudinal randomized control study that looked at the effects of a site-level (day training and habilitation (DTH) program – included employment- and non-employment services or residential program) intervention on organizations, sites, learners and the people who receive services from these organizations.  The intervention used in this study included a one-year training intervention that utilized on-line training modules from the College of Direct Support (35 lessons organized into 6 modules and delivered over 12 months) delivered to direct support professionals and their supervisors, standardized assessments, supervisor mentoring and on-the-job observations, group discussions about the specific competencies being learned in each module and the provision of technical assistance (organizational readiness assessment, three-day 10 hour implementation assistance) to the organizations participating in the study.

The training delivered to DSPs was aligned with desired outcomes of the people with IDD being served in the organization. These included:

Direct Support Professional : Content Individual with Disability: Outcomes
Professionalism Satisfaction with Staff
Community InclusionPerson Centered Planning Community Inclusion
Individual Rights and ChoiceCivil Rights and Advocacy Choices & Rights
Safety at Home and in the CommunitySupporting Healthy LivesPersonal Care Health & Safety
You’ve Got a Friend Friends & Family
Employment SupportsHome and Community LivingPersonal Care Work, Day, and Home


Data was collected through a variety of means including:

  • Site level survey:
    • Workforce outcomes, salary, incident reports
  • Supervisor assessment of DSP skills:
    • 6 skill scales focused on specific competency areas (DSPism, inclusion, rights/choice, home/work, safety/health, overall)
  • DSP survey:
    • DSP perception of organization, plans for future work, intent to stay at org, demographics
  • DSP training data:
    • Information on training completion, time spent, test scores
  • Individual with disability in person survey:
    • National Core Indicators – 140 indicators
  • Interviews with agency administrator
  • Focus groups with DSP learners


Who Participated in This Study?

Organizations/Sites – To be included in the study organizations needed to have multiple sites within their organization and DSPs could not work across sites. The sites could not have ever used the specific training program strategies we were using (CDS) and they had to agree to accept and participate fully in our technical assistance which included agreeing to invest staff time to ensure effective implementation and data collection. Initially 15 organizations agreed to participate and gathered baseline data. Of these initial 15 organizations, only 11 fully participated in the implementation of the intervention.

Direct Support Professionals – There were a total of 854 Direct Support Professionals who participated in the study. Of these 53% were in the group that received the intervention; 33% worked in the Twin Cities metropolitan areas, 39% worked in other metropolitan areas in Minnesota and 39% worked in rural areas.  Most of the DSP participants worked in residential services (69%) and 31% worked in DTH.  Of the DSPs who participated, 76% were female and 23% were male; these individuals had an average of 49 months on the job in the organization.

Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities – There were a total of 333 people with IDD who participated in the study. Of this group 64% received residential services and 36% received services from the DTH providers who participated in the study. Demographically 50% were female and 88% were White, non-Hispanic. The group was mixed with regard to their support needs.

The Home Care Work Environment for Personal Assistance Service Workers

Julia Faucett RN, PhD, Taewoon Kang PhD, and Robert Newcomber PhD

(Community Health Systems Department & Social and Behavioral Sciences Department School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco)

Published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, April 2013


Infographic-1-Occupational-Haz-thumb-143x300Occupational injury is a prevalent problem in long-term care. However, there is a noticeable lack of research related to workers providing Personal Assistance Services (PAS) – the personal care and housekeeping tasks that enable elderly and other disabled adults to live in community settings. We conducted a statewide computer assisted telephone survey of PAS providers (n=855) from California’s In Home Supportive Services program to describe the homecare environment and its impact on the worker’s health and ability to provide care. PAS providers reported on a variety of household and personal care tasks, including client lifting and transfers, as well as on barriers to care delivery. A total of 262 providers (31%) reported musculoskeletal symptoms or acute injuries causing at least moderate pain (defined as ‘prominent’ problems) that had occurred in the prior 12 months; 25% of that group (n=65) reported 12 or more episodes in the previous 12 months of probable work-related musculoskeletal symptoms. Because of these prominent problems, 26 workers missed work, 54 changed their work duties, and 12 had to drop work hours or clients.

To download an infographic with the primary findings, please provide the information below: