Self-advocates share what contributes to a meaningful life


Quality of Life Project to provide BACI with genuine feedback
Natalie Hamilton

The Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) has embraced a unique opportunity to hear directly and candidly from the people it serves about what makes their lives meaningful and how the association may be able to better support them.

Through the Quality of Life Project, self-advocates from seven community living organizations in the Fraser Region are interviewing people served about their life experiences.

“It’s pretty exciting for us,” says Leslee Madore, senior manager of human resources and quality assurance for BACI.

“As an organization, BACI has always been committed to listening to the needs of the individuals and families we serve and participating in a project like this will hopefully deepen our understanding of what it means to have a good quality of life.”

Leslee says this is also an inspiring project for BACI because of the value the organization places on innovation.

“This project is innovative (because) it recognizes that self-advocates are as reliable as surveyors who do not have a disability, and that individuals – when given the right opportunity – have a lot to say.”

The confidential survey utilizes a tool called ‘My Life – Personal Outcomes Index,’ created by Dr. Robert Schalock.  It encompasses questions that target eight areas or aspects of life including independence, personal development, social inclusion, rights and emotional well-being. The questions are designed to be accessible to people with a range of abilities and are based on the premise that quality of life can be measured

“People are excited to participate — both the interviewer and the interviewees. As Dr. Schalock shared with us, having self-advocates conduct this research will provide more and better data than he, or other professionals, could obtain because the process is collaborative between self-advocates.”

Four self-advocates served by BACI were hired to conduct the interviews with people who access support from other service providers. The project is about mid-way through, with it expected to wind down in March. The results will be reviewed, collated and shared with the umbrella organization, Community Living British Columbia, which will then disseminate the information to participating organizations.

BACI will receive feedback from 82 interviews.

Leslee says the results will help shape BACI’s quality-improvement plan.

“While this research provides feedback to organizations for quality improvement, it also provides important feedback to the individual about whether personal and organizational-level quality-of-life improvement strategies have made a difference in the person’s life. This opens the door for further change and is an exciting prospect for BACI.”

— Hear from one of the interviewers in an upcoming story on this website.

If you have feedback on this article, e-mail natalie(at) or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.



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