Quality Clinical Care
Objective measures of programmatic quality include:
- qualifications of staff;
- training of staff; and the
- number of staff working directly with program participants.
With doctoral level clinicians, New Lifestyles maintains one of the most highly trained clinical staffs among transition programs. Most non-clinical staff have a bachelor's degree or related experience.
All clinical staff receive weekly individual supervision by the clinical director. Group supervision and case review occur multiple times weekly. As a continuing education provider for psychologists in the Commonwealth of Virginia, New Lifestyles provides monthly continuing education workshops attended by the clinical staff as well as other community professionals. Additional internal clinical training occurs in psychometrics and therapeutic skills and techniques.
The Student Life staff receive supervision by the clinical staff to insure the integration of clinically relevant information in residential and social interactions. The clinical staff further enhance the skills of program personnel through the provision of regular training on topics including interpersonal skills and communication, appropriate utilization of information in psychological test reports, medications, anxiety and mood disorders, and other topics relevant to work with the New Lifestyles student population.
Depending upon enrollment, the clinical to student ratio ranges between 1:2 and 1:4, with an average ratio of 1:3. This ratio is recognized as unusually high for a transitional program. Student Life staff ratios range between 1:3 and 1:6 during prime programming hours.
Integrated Treatment Model
An integrated treatment model further enhances these measures of quality and thus provides an intensive and comprehensive, yet individualized approach. Not only is each participant assigned to a primary clinician, but also he or she interfaces with other New Lifestyles clinicians. Thus, each individual benefits from a multitude of therapeutic interactions and perspectives. Student Life staff work closely with the individual, group and family clinicians and maintain responsibility for various domains relevant to the student.
Matrix of Services and Expertise
The New Lifestyles clinical team includes clinicians well versed in the treatment of Axis I and Axis II disorders who utilize psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, behavioral, and family systems approaches. Specific tracks address particularly difficult conditions.
Intensive Communications Management and Coordination
Various meetings for coordination and review of treatment are conducted daily, weekly and quarterly to ensure that all staff are up to date on participant areas of difficulty, progress, and the continuing refinement of treatment interventions. Daily meetings include house meetings and house manager reviews with the clinicians; weekly meetings include clinical/coordinator reviews and clinical and psychometric case reviews; monthly and quarterly meetings include formal treatment and progress reviews.
Participants receive weekly feedback regarding performance and progress. Clinicians contact families at least weekly and more often if warranted. Contact with referral sources occurs per the directive of the participant and the family. In the case of educational consultants, New Lifestyles recommends more frequent (weekly) contact upon admission. This contact fades to monthly as the participant demonstrates adjustment to the program routine. However, clinicians notify the consultant immediately in the event of any setbacks.
In addition to the exchange of information at staff meetings and case conferences, New Lifestyles maintains an extensive system of documentation. An intranet utilizing state of the art technology aids the implementation of this system by providing a means of secure and confidential Internal communications.
Evaluation and Follow-up
New Lifestyles tracks student progress quarterly with various evaluation instruments that assess treatment effectiveness. The results of these surveys provide feedback about student progress that are integrated into not only the on-going treatment for the individual but also future programmatic developments. Supplementary information from assessments and satisfaction surveys administered at program completion further contribute to programmatic refinements.
In summary, New Lifestyles maintains a leadership position among transition programs. Our emphasis on staff qualifications, training, and the maintenance of a superior ratio of staff to program participants ensures a foundation for effective and efficient services. Our treatment model, staff expertise, and communications systems both internal and external further enhance our operations. Finally, our continuous and ongoing surveys of progress provide feedback on our success and consistently guide us in the development of new and more effective strategies of intervention to further enhance Quality Clinical Care.