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CARF Connection Blog

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The CARF Connection blog, previously distributed in the form of a newsletter, provides timely tips, resources, and updates about CARF accreditation, business practices, and related matters. Learn about current trends in the fields that CARF accredits, improving services, and the latest CARF news.

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Honoring nurses across health and human services

May 6 12, 2021, is Nurses Week. CARF recognizes the profound impact the nursing field has across health and human services.


10 tips: How unpaid caregivers can beat burnout

With a growing aging population, many adult children and other loved ones step up to provide care, but family caregivers take on a significant amount of work in addition to regular jobs and family responsibilities, which can lead to extreme burnout.


Addressing social determinants with higher standards

Social determinants of health (SDH) are the conditions in which people live, work, and age and include factors like housing stability, employment status, geographic location, education, and other socioeconomic circumstances. SDH, often determined by distribution of wealth and resources, has proven responsible for inequities in healthcare and has become its biggest cost-driver.


Elevating social work

By CARF International

The CARF Connection blog often discusses integrative services and ways to approach a person in a holistic way. In other words, we focus on many of the things that social workers have been advocating since the era of Jane Addams in the 1890s. It is no wonder that CARF’s workforce is teeming with social work professionals.

This March, CARF joins the National Association of Social Workers in celebrating social workers.


Your health literacy: 5 ways to be your own best advocate

By CARF International

With healthcare information more widely available than ever, consumers are boosting their health literacy, taking the initiative to educate themselves more thoroughly on how to take care of themselves. Here are some suggestions for taking control of your own health literacy.


3 examples of outcomes management systems in action

By CARF International

CARF shares best practices related to outcomes management through its standards. To complement that effort, here are some recent field examples of outcomes systems’ improving performance.


2018: CARF’s Year in Review

By CARF International

As 2018 comes to a close, we thank the many stakeholders who spent another year advancing the goals and values close to CARF’s mission. In a brief look back, here are some of the most consequential stories from 2018.


The story of one provider’s path to value-based care

By CARF International

Services for the UnderServed used accreditation standards as part of a wholesale commitment to performance management. Now the organization is well positioned to market itself within value-based and other outcomes-based payment models.


All about outcomes: Performance-based reimbursement is changing health and human services

By CARF International

Many payers are exploring value- and performance-based payment models in which providers are reimbursed for positive outcomes. Most analysts believe such payment systems, which offer lower costs for payers, are the wave of the future.


Untapped market? The pros of hiring people with disabilities

By CARF International

Data show that employers are hesitant to hire people who have disabilities. That’s unfortunate, since having a disability doesn’t necessarily preclude a person from performing well in the workplace. And employers’ failure to recognize that can lead to missed opportunities on both sides.


The Value of Professional Development

By CARF International

Take advantage of the professional development resource offered to CARF-accredited organizations, and encourage your emerging leaders to become CARF surveyors. 


4 ways accreditation supports the human services ecosystem

By CARF International

A recent report discusses the future of community-based human services. The first four initiatives are directly supported by CARF standards, meaning, if you’re a CBO applying the standards for accreditation, you’re likely strengthening the overall ecosystem. Here are the standards and other CARF resources that can offer guidance to your organization.


Seen and heard at the CARF surveyor conference

By CARF International

Surveyors representing health and human service organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada attended the 2018 CARF Surveyor Continuing Education Conference on March 24 and 25 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.


Program repurposes empty parking lots to serve homeless population

By Cassie Roach, Safe Parking Program Coordinator, New Beginnings Counseling Center

The New Beginnings Safe Parking Program in Santa Barbara provides shelter and housing to the vehicular homeless population. The program utilizes empty parking lots that would otherwise remain unused at night. Each night, the program shelters more than 150 individuals and families who live in their vehicles.


Seen and Heard at the Transforming Outcomes Institute

CARF’s winter Transforming Outcomes Institute concluded on February 24. It hosted more than 100 participants in Tucson, AZ. Here’s a visual breakdown of the training.


Tending to business in human services

By Betty O'Keefe, publications & communications, CARF International

Standards for business practices in health and human services are robust and forward-looking in the CARF model. However, this important area can be underemphasized or overlooked entirely by other accreditors. David Wilber, executive director of Diversified Enterprises and long-time CARF surveyor, witnessed the difference in results and volunteered his perspective for the white paper Developing sophisticated systems for success, recently published by BB&T Capital Markets. In the following article, Wilber describes his path to understanding how CARF is a differentiator for organizations seeking to survive, compete, and thrive in this increasingly complex service arena.


Message from CARF CEO regarding Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

We at CARF are deeply concerned about the many lives affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, natural disasters of significant scope and scale.


Where CARF surveyors come from

We spoke with three former CARF surveyors who are now CARF staff members. They shared some interesting context on themselves and why they first got into surveying


Quality Practice Notice on Suicide Prevention

Responsible, quality-based practitioners in the health and human services industry should educate and train themselves to act in a responsible and timely manner when presented with a person at risk for suicide. We know through research that applying evidence-based practice and delivering comprehensive and integrated prevention programs can reduce the rate of suicide. In regard to Suicide Prevention Month, please access CARF’s Quality Practice Notice on Suicide Prevention for first step resources to saving a life.


Technology continues to ingrain itself into health and human service fields

Telecommunications and data management technology has unavoidably made its way into healthcare industries because it can increase consumer access to services and providers’ ability to provide them. Many providers are successfully incorporating technological solutions, which is why CARF has made an effort to highlight practices related to this topic in the Promising Practices newsletter series. This blog post features some articles that highlight successful uses of technology to improve business practices or service delivery.


Increasing formation of healthcare networks calls attention to quality guidelines

A major story so far in 2016 has been the change in service delivery models toward larger systems and networks through affiliations, mergers, and various other types of integrations. Providers are forming relationships across multiple sectors to expand their reach and provide services more efficiently to a broader population. The changing environment poses challenges for providers as they find themselves operating within a new service infrastructure or environment. This trend is of particular interest to CARF because it poses quality questions for providers across a spectrum of industries.


The ins and outs of choosing and displaying the CARF seal of accreditation

After your programs or services have earned CARF accreditation, you will want to market and advertise your achievement to your community and stakeholders. CARF provides resources that can help you promote your accreditation, including guidelines for citing your accreditation, example news release and letter text, and several CARF seal options. This blog post explains how to properly use and display the CARF seals of accreditation in your online and printed materials.


Employment and Community services Q&A: A look back with longtime surveyor Steve Hill

CARF’s managing director of employment and community services, Pete Hathaway, spoke with Steve Hill, CEO of ABC Inc. in Rochester, Minnesota. Steve has been a CARF surveyor for nearly 40 years, and recently announced that he will be retiring at the end of April, 2016. Steve was asked to reflect on his time working and surveying in the employment and community services field. As part of CARF’s 50th year anniversary, we will be sharing snapshots of the industries in which we offer accreditation services. This is part 3 of that series: Employment and Community Services.


Holistic wellness programs energize organization’s workforce

Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin created the Circles of Care program to address its employees' life challenges -- whether their difficulty is emotional, spiritual, psychological, physical, or financial.


A sensory approach proves effective in working with persons with autism and challenging behaviors

Showcasing a sensory processing approach for improving the lives of persons with autism. This approach was presented at a CARF employment and community services conference in 2012.


We, too, are storytellers: People own the stories told from their perspective

The Spectrum Network in Decorah, Iowa, recognized numerous and diverse storytelling voices when it published From My Perspective: Essays About Disability. The book celebrates the stories of persons with disabilities, their parents and caregivers, and rehabilitation professionals. This publication was presented at a CARF employment and community services conference in 2012.


How Ticket to Work helped a county improve employment outcomes

By Maria Walker, Employment Program Planner, Polk County Health Services

To paraphrase a popular book title, it takes a village to reduce the large unemployment rate for persons with mental illness and intellectual or other developmental disabilities. Increasing employment opportunities for these individuals is every service provider’s responsibility. Polk County Health Services (PCHS) in the Des Moines, Iowa, area works with a network of providers in the community to increase employment outcomes. This approach was presented at a CARF employment and community services conference in 2012.


Mission shapes the focus of a social enterprise

A blend of retail and rehabilitation is a recipe for creating a social enterprise -- a social service organization that operates a revenue-generating business to fund the organization’s mission. Cornucopia, Inc., has been using the model for decades. This business was presented at a CARF employment and community services conference in 2012.


Blind consumers learn not only how to use computers but also how to build them

Bosma Enterprises is removing the fear and mystery of using computers for persons served. Four years ago, the organization launched a Build-A-Computer program designed to help persons who are blind or visually impaired become confident in using computers. This program was presented at a CARF employment and community services conference in 2012.


Going back to school today makes it easier to go to work tomorrow

Recognition of the positive roles that employment and supported education play in promoting recovery for persons with mental illness is increasing among organizations like Optimae LifeServices in Iowa. This program was presented at a CARF employment and community services conference in 2012.

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