A Case for Provider Investment

Alan Berner, Vice President of Community Services – The Phoenix Residence, Inc.

 

While the state of Minnesota boasts one of the richest, most comprehensive funding structures for technology, there continue to be areas in which funding is not available. Lack of formal funding should not deter providers from considering to invest their own dollars in certain solutions which make sense to help improve an organization’s ability to encourage independence of the people we support as well as helping an organization become more effective.

The Phoenix Residence, Inc. has invested heavily in back-end solutions aimed at helping us complete our work in the most efficient manner possible. This has helped us continue to grow in our ability to support people with their technology. It has also led to solutions which have great benefits for the people we support as well as our organization.

The first solution I’d like to highlight is our support of a highly mobile individual who has a history of falling and is living in an ICF/DD home where we provide support. We had several instances where bruising or other injuries occurred and were unable to be explained by staff as they hadn’t witnessed any causal events. As a result, the relationship between our staff and family members, who expected answers, grew strained; so at the request of the family members, we installed a camera system in the common areas of the home. For a cost of less than $2,000, staff have not only been able to identify more fall instances, but they are also better able to evaluate care needs such as whether a neuro evaluation is needed, and demonstrate to family members the proper supervision as detailed in the care plan is being provided. Those benefits alone were worth the investment. Financially—installing cameras has saved time in resources that would have gone into investigating issues and providing unnecessary supports.  As an organization, we continue to only implement this type of solution at the request and consent of the people living in the homes, as we feel it is their place to say whether they would want cameras in their home.

Another solution in which we invested is an assistive voice activated remote for an individual who spends considerable time in his room watching TV and movies. Like many of us, he wants to change channels frequently, but he needs help in order to do so. He would frequently call out to the staff members on site to come and change his channel causing them to either alter what they were doing or he would have to wait for a task to be completed before they could come and support him. By adding the device, he was able to change the channels on his own. With the investment we made in this device, it is not only improving his independence, but freeing up our staff to focus on alternative tasks for significant periods of time. The device itself, along with the training to make it useful, cost nearly $5,000.  While the investment in the remote was significant, even if it saved 15 minutes of our staff time a day, it would result in a savings of nearly $2,000 a year.  Over the five years he effectively was able to use this remote, we easily recouped our investment.

These two solutions were focused on creating better outcomes for specific individuals and funding was not available due to the ICF/DD homes where they live.  Our investment in both locations not only created the better outcomes we were hoping for, but also allowed us the significant savings in our staffing resources that outweighed the resources we dedicated to getting the technologies implemented.  

 

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Putting a Plan Together for Independent Living

The Story

Though experiencing health issues that would ultimately require her to need more intensive care, including possible round-the-clock assistance, Angie wanted to maintain her independence and continue to live on her own without being reliant on a staff person constantly in her home.

Following conversations about her needs and wishes, a support and response plan was created with her team that not only made her feel supported, but maintained her desired level of independence as well.

The Outcome

Angie moved into her own apartment supported by CCRI’s Independent by Design program which helped to identify, implement, and monitor technology solutions to meet her medical and quality of life needs. Along with hourly staff services to assist with household tasks, technology supports provide monitoring and assistance for needs such as waking up on time and medication management.

Putting a plan together that considered Angie’s needs and desired living situation resulted in an overall improvement in her independence and reduced her reliance on assistance. She is healthier and continues to remain very active in the community—just the way she likes it.

Watch the video to learn how Angie and her team began the planning process:

Begin Planning or visit the ARRM Technology Resource Center to learn about more success stories and case studies showing how technology is changing the lives of those living with disabilities.

Technology On The Job

Dylan Dreifke provides outstanding customer service at The Home Depot by utilizing his iPad, a free Home Depot app, and his amazing memory (prior to being hired, he memorized all product and product category locations throughout the entire store!).

Dylan greets people who enter The Home Depot by using his iPad along with customized sentence software which he purchased on his own. Paired with a speaker bought by Opportunity Partners, Dylan is able to greet and communicate with customers to provide excellent service by asking customers what they are looking for and then leading them in his wheelchair to the appropriate location.

Check out Dylan’s story in the news:

Visit the ARRM Technology Resource Center to learn about more success stories and case studies showing how technology is changing the lives of those living with disabilities.

Remote monitoring starts with a conversation

The Story:

An exploration of technology support options began when a group of men with developmental disabilities expressed their desires for increased privacy and independence. These men had been supported by staff 24/7 and wanted to reduce the amount of time caregivers spent in their home. A conversation began with the group of men, regulators, guardians, and providers to find a solution everyone was comfortable with.

The Outcome:

After extensive research assessing normal habits, safety concerns, and abilities to respond to emergency situations, a plan was implemented utilizing remote monitoring technology.  Following the implementation, the men’s home became almost exclusively staffed remotely during nights and evenings. All parties were pleased with the dedication to safety and the care taken in working through all ‘what-if’ scenarios.

And what do the men think of their increased independence? “Awesome” sums up one man’s feelings towards what it’s like living with the new plan in place.

Watch the video to learn more about the process:

 

Start the Conversation or visit the ARRM Technology Resource Center to learn about more success stories and case studies showing how technology is changing the lives of those living with disabilities.