Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance

Tools and Resources for Evaluating and Improving Direct Services

Checklist for Observing Staff on Site Visits

Observing direct service staff working with consumers is an important task for supervisors.  See first-hand how direct service staff full fill the mission of the agency.

Other Observation May include: 

  • Case file reviews 
  • Financial record reviews 
  • Interviews with staff 
  • Attend a sight loss support group 
  • Observe a group or individual instructional session 
  • Observe an intake or assessment 
  • Attend a staff meeting 

Here are some points to consider:

A Week Before Site Visit 

  • Confirm dates and times for site visit 
  • Provide a short handout on the purpose of the site visit, if agency has more than one employee, encourage this document to be shared with all agency staff 
  • Share a projected schedule of events to occur during the site visit 

    Site Visit 

    • Greet and introduce yourself to staff, be prepared to explain the purpose of your visit in case they did not read the handout provided previously and be prepared to answer any questions about the purpose. 
    • Follow schedule of event

    What to look for:

    • Are staff dressed professionally or appropriately for the activity? 
    • Do staff conduct themselves with professionalism and respect? 
    • Do staff follow confidentiality protocol? 
    • Are forms being used appropriately? 
    • Are staff attentive and observant of consumer’s needs? 
    • Do staff allow consumers to do/demonstrate tasks? 
    • If not the first appointment, do staff review and follow up on instruction provided in previous appointment/s? 
    • Do staff provide appropriate resources in appropriate situations? 
    • Do staff provide information at an appropriate pace? 
    • Is documentation completed in a timely manner? 
    • Are background checks on file for the appropriate staff? 


    • Look at the case notes that result from the observed visit to see if information is accurately documented. 
    • Encourage staff by complimenting them if they do a good job with something. 
    • Ask staff about how they handle difficult situations 
    • Ask staff if they have any tips they would like to share with others across the state. 
    • Reinforce team work both with you and with other community agencies and other vendors. 
    • Provide feedback about how the vendor did in your review. (If they don’t know what they did well or what to improve, they probably won’t improve.) 


    Sample Documents

    Quality Braille Materials Matter

    Provision of materials in braille, either in hardcopy or electronic format, demonstrates and agency’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion.

    •    Letters to consumers
    •    Promotional materials
    •    Business cards
    •    Materials for advisory or other boards
    •    Resource lists for consumers

    Just as print materials are subject to formatting and spell-checking, braille materials should be held to equal standards for accuracy, usability, and correct formatting.

    Producing Braille Materials: Helpful Details to Know

    •    Paper comes in two standard sizes 11-1/2”x11” or 8-1/2”x11”.  Embossers use paper with continuous track feed.  The paper is perforated, and each page must be separated prior to assembling a document or multiple copies of a document.

    •    Braille page numbers typically appear in the bottom right corner of the braille page.  These refer to the braille pages and may not correspond to print page numbers.

    •    Unified English Braille (UEB) contracted braille is the standard for translation.

    •    Interpoint embossing (printing braille on both sides of the page) is customary.

    •    Duxbury is a commonly used braille translation software available for purchase.  Word documents and other file formats can be imported and translated, ready for embossing. Free translation software may meet your needs.  Learn more about Braille Blaster from the American Printing House for the Blind.

    •    Braille translation programs are not perfect and normally require someone who knows braille to fix the errors.

    Working with Braille Transcription/Production Vendors: Questions to Consider

    Just as you would check print materials prepared by outside companies, always check the work of companies who commercially produce braille to ensure they are delivering a quality product.
    •    Does the company use certified braille transcriptionists and proofreaders? Some companies will use a computer translation program without any oversight.
    •    What experience does the company have with producing braille? Do they focus solely on braille production or is it one of many activities? 
    •    Are different sizes of paper available and can the company advise which size is appropriate for the materials?
    •    Do they have a procedure in place for proofreading materials before embossing or delivery?
    •    Can you arrange to see a sample of their work (ask an experienced braille reader to check it over)? Consider ordering one small item before committing to regular use of that company.
    •    Do their costs and turnaround times meet your needs? Planning ahead is required as companies need materials in advance of when they will be distributed. Turnaround times and cost vary depending on the length, amount, and complexity of the materials to be produced. 

    Producing Braille In-house: What Those Responsible Should Know

    Ideally, that person or production team should…
    •    have as much knowledge of the braille code as possible in addition to having time available to dedicate to brailling projects.  Take advantage of braille symbol cheat sheets or guides. If knowledge is limited, engage volunteers who are experienced braille readers to assist with proofreading and answering questions about the meaning of braille symbols.  
    •    know how far in advance print materials need to be provided so that the braille copy is available for distribution at the same time.
    •    be familiar with the in-house software and hardware used for producing braille.
    •    Ask about the intended audience and tailor braille production to their needs (uncontracted or contracted braille, single-sided or interpoint).
    •    Be able to properly collate and organize braille materials for distribution.

    Tips for In-house Transcription and Formatting

    •    Many braille translation programs can be configured to show a line of print at the bottom of the screen which corresponds to the line of braille as indicated by the position of the cursor.
    •    Errors in the print document will appear in the braille version.  Proofread the printed document carefully before translating.
    •    Be aware that at times, reformatting the braille document may be needed for increased usability. Consider how the material will be used and how individuals will locate desired information. Check with an experienced braille reader regarding usability of any formats in question.

    Considerations for In-house Embossing

    •    Provide training on how to use the software and hardware so that staff are familiar with how to load/reload paper or make changes to embosser settings.
    •    Page numbers are commonly found in the bottom right corner of the braille page.  This will help orient the pages right side up when collating. 
    •    Staple or bind multiple pages of braille.  Ensure each page is correctly oriented before stapling/binding.
    •    Find a volunteer who is an experienced braille reader to help check the first copy of embossed braille.  Check for any lines that are too short or words that are cut off at the end of the line or the top or bottom of the page.  This could indicate that new margins will need to be set for the embosser.
    •    In most cases, interpoint braille (braille embossed on both sides of the paper) is appropriate.
    •    Plan ahead. Allow ample time for braille transcription/embossing prior to the date the materials are needed.  For documents 1-5 print pages in length, it is recommended to provide print material to be embossed a minimum of 48 hours in advance.  At least one week in advance may be necessary for longer documents.

    Resources to Improve the Quality of Braille Materials

    Braille By Sight or By Touch—free training in uncontracted or contracted UEB braille from Hadley.

    The Burns Braille Guide:  A Quick Reference to Unified English Braille

    Free 11x17 printable cheat sheet of UEB braille symbols 

    The Braille Authority of North America

    National Braille Association

    For more information about producing quality braille and for information on resources for becoming a certified braille transcriber or proofreader, contact info@oib-tac.org