December 12, 2016

At AUCD 2016, RTC:Rural presented research to help inform VR service delivery for people with disabilities

Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D., Director of Employment Research at RTC:Rural and Associate Director of the Rural Institute on Inclusive Communities (RIIC) recently returned from the 2016 Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) conference in Washington DC. At the conference, Ipsen delivered a poster presentation to approximately 40 attendees, titled “Factors Associated with Premature Exit from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services.”

Catherine Ipsen presenting her poster "Factors Associated with Premature Exit from Vocational Rehabilitation Services" at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) 2016 conference in Washington DC.

Catherine Ipsen presenting her poster “Factors Associated with Premature Exit from Vocational Rehabilitation Services” at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) 2016 conference in Washington DC.

The conference, “Navigating Change: Building our Future Together,” focused on strong collaborations across programs and political parties to build a future where people with disabilities are able to participate fully in all aspects of life.

The presentation focused on understanding the reasons VR consumers drop out of the VR program before completing services. Ipsen & Goe (2015) tracked 355 consumers as they progressed through VR services. Over the 18-month study period, approximately one third of consumers left because they met their goals, a third left for personal reasons (such as their health or family issues), and a third left because they were dissatisfied with services.

The data showed that consumer dissatisfaction was associated with the pace of service delivery, with nearly half stating that progression through services was too slow. Dissatisfaction was also tied to how much contact the consumer had with their counselor, and to the consumer’s overall satisfaction with dimensions of the counseling process.

These findings provide VR counselors with strategies to improve services. For instance, engaging VR consumers early and frequently in the VR process may decrease the rate of premature exit and increase the number of consumers who achieve favorable vocational outcomes.  Several attendees, including job developers and representatives from Centers for Independent Living wanted to bring back this data to use as a discussion point for service delivery in their own states.

For more information on the study and to view the poster, follow the links below: