Eyaa-Keen Case Study Conducted by CARF International
Eyaa-Keen Healing Centre Inc. has been an accredited provider of Indigenous Mental Health Services (IMHS) since 2004 and has achieved consecutive three-year CARF accreditations in Intensive Outpatient Treatment and Governance Standards.
Eyaa-Keen’s programs and services deliver integrated physical, emotional, mental and spiritual treatment, healing and development through a series of Indigenous Traditional ceremonial sessions. Treatment is based on traditional ways, disciplines and laws.
Co-Founders and Co-Directors Mel and Shirley Chartrand were trained in Western treatment methods and recognized the limitations western treatment for Indigenous peoples. These methods did not get to the core of the Indigenous people and ways of healing from trauma, focusing on identifying and connecting with inner strengths and abilities. Now, Mel and Shirley have been trained extensively by their ceremonial Elders in healing using Traditional methods, which they apply to all their programs and services.
Many times the people who seek out Eyaa-Keen’s services are not ready to fully embrace traditional ways. To ease the transition, the Chartrands created a way of teaching and discipline that is traditional-based, but not recognizable as such. Eyaa-Keen offers one-on-one sessions, group sessions, day programming for two or three days, and five- and ten-day residential programs.
Eyaa-Keen makes sure that the service is geared toward what each person needs. Eyaa-Keen clients are trained to look after themselves – they learn discipline and how to recognize triggers and handle situations. By the end of a five- or ten-day program, they have a complete maintenance system for themselves. After that, they continue one-on-ones for support, or they continue for groups or ceremonies. The end result is that each time a person improves themselves, they improve the community.
The main challenge faced by Eyaa-Keen is that the mainstream modern and western ways do not understand Traditional ways and systems of healing. These systems are very powerful and very clear, and they have been working for thousands of years. it. It was difficult for Eyaa-Keen to demonstrate to funders that the organization does have a system, the Indigenous Behaviour Trauma Specialists are knowledgeable and well-trained and the system works well.
Eyaa-Keen chose CARF accreditation for several reasons, the first of which is the outcomes-based measurement system. The CARF accreditation process helped Eyaa-Keen validate their traditional ways and systems of governance, healing, measures, management and so on.
The second reason lies in the consultative survey process. Other accreditors have their own system and providers are supposed to fit into it. With CARF’s consultative accreditation process, Eyaa-Keen’s systems and ways were not evaluated – it was the outcomes that counted.
The third reason is the relationship forged between the people involved in the accreditation process on both sides. The process was a balanced give and take. Eyaa-Keen had to give to the process by demonstrating their outcomes, and the CARF people gave back by helping Eyaa-Keen along the way.
IMPLEMENTING QUALITY STANDARDS
Implementing the quality standards was challenging for Eyaa-Keen because the organization has an oral tradition that was not documented. Dan Stavert, the chief advisor-accreditation standards at CARF Canada, advised Mel and Shirley to simply write down what Eyaa-Keen does. When they wrote down exactly what they do in each situation, they found that Eyaa-Keen’s standards came naturally because they followed Traditional ways.
Still, writing down the Traditional ways without revealing the inner part of it was the toughest challenge. In the oral tradition, there are things you are not supposed to write down. The Elders taught Mel and Shirley how to write it in a way that meant something and was real and true.
After completing the Intent to Survey, the survey dates were set and experienced CARF surveyors visited Eyaa-Keen to review their materials, speak with staff and interview the people receiving services.
Although Eyaa-Keen was worried that the history and cultural differences between western and Traditional Indigenous ways would cause problems, they had nothing to worry about. Eyaa-Keen’s staff was able to answer all the surveyor’s questions and they enjoyed talking to the CARF representatives. The on-site survey fit with the traditional way of doing things, and there was nothing punitive about it.
The staff at Eyaa-Keen was happy and fulfilled while they did all the work to put the pieces together by having long discussions to figure out all the quality standards. It helped everyone at Eyaa-Keen feel confident in everything the organization is learning and doing.
ACCREDITATION PROMOTES QUALITY
Accreditation has helped Eyaa-Keen run more smoothly and allows the company to demonstrate the quality of its services to both funders and its community.
Mel and Shirley believe that accreditation has helped to streamline the organization and will pull together all the staff, management and directors and give them strength to keep doing the work they do. Having the accreditation means people everywhere can see Eyaa-Keen is consistently doing something and doing it well.
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