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Ongoing Data Collection from Stakeholders in the Human Services Environment

It is important that organizations collect feedback and information from persons served, personnel, and other stakeholders. Gathering information should be done on a continuous basis throughout the year. During a CARF® survey, the surveyor will review a variety of data sources to assess the organization’s compliance with CARF® standards, determine the effectiveness of its services and provide feedback on areas requiring improvement.

Relationships that Constitute a Stakeholder for a Behavioral Health Organization

Persons served: Persons served are the individuals who receive care and treatment from the organization. They may be clients, patients, or members, depending on the specific services provided by the organization.

Personnel: Personnel are the employees and contractors of the organization who work directly with the persons served. This includes clinicians, support staff, and administrative staff.

Board members: Board members are individuals who are elected or appointed to govern the organization and make strategic decisions on its behalf.

Funding sources: Funding sources are organizations or individuals that provide financial support to the organization, through donations, grants, or contracts.

Community partners: Community partners are organizations or individuals that work with behavioral health organizations to support the needs of the community. This may include other healthcare providers, schools, faith-based organizations, and government agencies.

Advocacy groups: Advocacy groups are organizations that work to promote the rights and needs of specific groups of people, such as persons with disabilities or persons with mental illness.

Family members and caregivers: Family members and caregivers may be stakeholders in the organization if they are involved in the care and treatment of persons served.

Regulators and accreditors: Regulators and accreditors, such as state licensing boards or CARF® (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), may be considered stakeholders if they have a role in overseeing the organization and its services.

Local government and community leaders: Local government and community leaders, such as city council members or community activists, may be stakeholders in the organization as they can influence policies and funding decisions that affect the organization.

In general, any individual or group that has an interest in or is affected by the actions and decisions of a behavioral health organization could be considered a stakeholder.


Mechanisms for Gathering Data

  1. Surveys and Questionnaires:
    • Persons Served Surveys: Organizations may distribute surveys to individuals who have received services to gather their feedback on the quality and effectiveness of the services provided.
    • Personnel Surveys: Surveys should be provided to personnel.
    • Stakeholder Surveys: Surveys may also be sent to stakeholders such as those listed above.
  2. Focus Groups:
    • Organizing focus groups with persons served, personnel, and other stakeholders allows for in-depth discussions and qualitative insights. This method can provide a more nuanced understanding of experiences and concerns.
  3. Interviews:
    • Conducting one-on-one interviews with persons served, personnel, and other stakeholders can yield detailed information about their experiences, satisfaction levels, and suggestions for improvement. Interviews can be conducted via online meetings, telephone, or in-person.
  4. Feedback Forms:
    • Providing easily accessible feedback forms or suggestion boxes at service locations enables individuals to share their thoughts and experiences anonymously.
  5. Ongoing Communication Channels:
    • Establishing open communication channels, such as helplines, email addresses, or online forums, encourages continuous feedback from persons served, personnel, and other stakeholders throughout the accreditation cycle.
  6. Review of Complaints and Grievances:
    • Examining and analyzing complaints and grievances can provide valuable insights into areas that may need improvement. This information is often considered during the accreditation process.
  7. Collaborative Decision-Making Processes:
    • Involving persons served, personnel, and other stakeholders in decision-making processes, committees, or advisory boards ensures their perspectives are considered in the organization’s policies and practices.
  8. Observations and Site Visits:
    • CARF® surveyors may conduct on-site visits to observe services, interact with persons served, and gather firsthand information about the organization’s practices.
  9. Social Media and Online Platforms:
    • Monitoring social media and online platforms can provide real-time feedback and insights from persons served and stakeholders. Organizations may also use these platforms to engage with their community.
  10. Review of Outcome Data:
    • Analyzing outcome data related to the effectiveness of services can provide an objective measure of an organization’s impact on persons served.

By employing a combination of these mechanisms, organizations seeking CARF® accreditation can demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement and person-centered care. Regularly collecting input from persons served and other stakeholders helps organizations identify strengths and areas for enhancement in their services.

Accreditation Now provides prepared surveys for clients, personnel and other stakeholders, grievance, compliance, and critical incident reporting systems, as well as policy and procedure templates that are designed specifically to meet CARF® standards and assist in gathering data throughout the year.