Lessons Learned from a Quality Improvement Intervention with Homeless Veteran Services

Published in: Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, v. 23, no. 3, Suppl., Aug. 2012, p. 210-224

Posted on RAND.org on August 01, 2012

by Matthew Chinman, Gordon Hannah, Sharon McCarthy

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Homeless veterans are a vulnerable population, with high mortality and morbidity rates. Evidence-based practices for homelessness have been challenging to implement. This study engaged staff members from three VA homeless programs to improve their quality using Getting-To-Outcomes (GTO), a model and intervention of trainings and technical assistance that builds practitioner capacity to plan, implement, and self-evaluate evidence-based practices. Primarily used in community-based, non-VA settings, this study piloted GTO in VA by creating a GTO project within each homeless program and one across all three. The feasibility and acceptability of GTO in VA is examined using the results of the projects, time spent on GTO, and data from focus groups and interviews. With staff members averaging 33 minutes per week on GTO, each team made significant programmatic changes. Homeless staff stated GTO was helpful, and that high levels of communication, staff member commitment to the program, and technical assistance were critical.

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