Using needs surveys to foster consumer and family empowerment

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Conclusions

This survey involved SBPC, its consumers, and their families in a shared task and work experience which had a direct useful purpose: the planning of the next phase in their collaboration. In this way, the survey, itself, was a vehicle for further cementing the collaborative relationship and was consistent with previous suggestions about promoting consumer and family participation (Church, 1989). Future agency efforts seeking to measure differences in priorities untapped by this survey will involve specific services and situations, such as preference in housing or medication (Uttaro & Mechanic, 1994). Having built the collaboration essential to this work, more complex surveys with refined research selection procedures will be implemented.

The authors are grateful to FUTURE and Caring Community AMI for advice and consultation; Marianna Sarkis and Christianna Sarkis for assistance with data analysis; Joan E. Hanvey for editorial assistance.