Over the years, Crestwood has developed a set of practices, protocols, and tools that we employ across our organization and they have become part of our service model, programs, and reputation. This service model is what you see when you come into any of our Crestwood programs and it includes Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), Trauma-Informed Approaches; homelike environments; employee and person-served wellness; peers in the workforce; Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT); employing people at all levels of care with disabilities through Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network; and mind, body, spirit wellness. This service model has become our Crestwood Praxis, which is a process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, practiced, embodied, or realized.

Crestwood has seen the results of this Praxis in successful discharges, shorter lengths of stay, working with individuals who challenge the system at all levels, and building relationships with communities. So, for our next step, we wanted to start looking at how to measure and study the impact of the Praxis and the individuals we serve in a more scientific and quantifiable manner. After searching for the right University-sponsored research, we found Rutgers University, who had two researchers that could evaluate our Praxis as a whole, as well as individual elements across the levels of care we provide that includes our skilled nursing facility programs, acute crisis programs, long-term residential programs and community-based, peer-operated programs. 

This past January, after several months of working with our team to determine how we might best collaborate in the researching and publishing of the efficacy of our initiatives, two leading researchers from Rutgers University, Nora Barrett, MSW, LCSW, CPRP and Associate Professor and Vice Chairperson of the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation & Counseling and Aaron Levitt, PhD, Director of the Integrated Employment Institute, visited eight Crestwood campuses and the Sacramento Home Office on a 5-day visit.  During the visit, the researchers analyzed each of our Crestwood initiatives such as WRAP; Dreamcatchers’ Peer Employment Program; Compassionate Care; Trauma-Informed Approaches; Wellness with our heart-healthy diets and Zumba; Peer Providers; and our therapeutic, homelike environments. Nora and Aaron also met with Elaine Miller-Karas from the Trauma Resource Institute; Raul Almazar on Trauma-Informed Approaches; Matthew Federici from the Copeland Center on WRAP and Organizational Wellness Landscape; and Lori Ashcraft from Resilience Inc. on peers, so that they could talk to the source of each training that we use for our programs and staff, as well as to gain a better understanding of each of the elements of that practice.  

The visit was a great success, with the Rutgers researchers initiating a formal review to create a scientific platform for the analysis of our Crestwood initiatives and practices, which ultimately will then lead to publication of our Praxis.  We look forward to working with Nora, Aaron and Rutgers University during the next several years to study the specific elements of our service model Praxis and its impact in general on the people we serve, our employees, and communities.

Contributed by Patty Blum PhD, CPRP, Crestwood Executive Vice President