(Fort Worth, TX)…The most vulnerable Texas adults, those who have IDD diagnoses plus high medical needs and living in State Supported Living Centers (SSLC) or those in nursing home settings now have additional, alternative Medicaid-funded long term care settings available.
Caregiver, Inc., a Fort Worth-based company that provides intermediate, home and community care services to thousands of Texans who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions, has new options for Texans with both IDD and high medical needs who meet the criteria for leaving SSLCs, according to Amanda Corrigan, Caregiver’s President for Texas Operations.
Caregiver opened the first of two newly state-licensed group home Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs) just south of Austin
in the San Marcos/New Braunfels area, with space for six individuals each.
A second, only five minutes away, will open soon.
“We have spent the last 18 months investing in and preparing two homes under the first two of only three new Texas licenses granted to operate ICF group homes,” explained Corrigan. “There is a great need for ways to serve individuals who meet criteria to move from SSLCs or nursing homes to a community setting. Working hand-in-hand with our SSLC partners, we developed community homes with the highest site and service standards and are thrilled to be able now to accept those referrals.”
During the last legislative session, funding was made available for up to 100 applicants. Only three licenses were released last year by the state. Caregiver received two, to provide care for up to 12 people.
It takes about a year to become approved as an ICF due to various renovations and inspections.
“There is an extensive leadup to readiness. Caregiver invested over $150,000 in the first home, with additional dollars committed to the second in final preparation now,” added Kathy Griffith, Caregiver’s Regional Director for South Texas.
Before opening, Caregiver extensively remodels each open-concept home, purchases specialized equipment, designs and structures wheelchair accessibility, and identifies and assigns ideal 24-hour Direct Service Providers (DSPs) and nursing staff, among other activities to prepare for new residents.
While formerly living in SSLC facilities, these first six individuals reached a level of ability for referral to transfer to a community group home, Griffith explains. There are hundreds of individuals in Texas with high medical needs who could be considered for a group home setting, but limited spaces are available.
“Caregiver’s new homes make it possible for careful attention to individuals’ medical needs while providing a measurable increase in quality of life,” explains Griffith. “Patients may have tracheostomies and require gastric tube feeding. They are at risk for extensive wound issues and pressure ulcers and at a high risk for aspiration. The Caregiver group home setting supports these needs and provides great peace of mind for an individual’s family or guardian.”
Caregiver’s group home open floor plan benefits the individuals, caregivers, and family members. Each home has a shower trolley, modified bathrooms, fully accessible lifts, and a weight scale for wheelchairs. Every employee in the group homes has been trained by SSLC staff, including former staff nurses, physical therapists, dieticians, and DSPs.
Underpinned by a staffing ratio of two professionals caring for each six individuals 24/7, care includes attention from a registered nurse who will float between two homes and an on-call physician who visits the home for routine services on a regular basis. Other health care professionals see group home residents via telemedicine or in their offices.
As well, group homes are often closer to families than are SSLC facilities.
“We must remember that these individuals have been in care of SSLC for a long time, many since before age five,” stresses Griffith. “Now, most are middle-aged and non-verbal. They require supports for bathing, repositioning, hygiene and all activities of daily living (ADLs). Experienced staff members can understand their likes and dislikes with no verbal cues.”
Caregiver’s team also plans community outings like shopping, going to the park, or perhaps a field trip to Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park. Since none of the individuals can propel their own wheelchairs, additional staff are required for outings, and a nurse may go along to do the G-tube feedings. Caregiver has backpacks to carry formula and continuous feeding pump equipment to hang the unit on the back of wheelchairs, allowing each individual mobility and continuity of care while enjoying activities outside of the home.
“It is a happy situation,” stresses Griffith. “Individuals blossom and open up.”
Concurrently, Caregiver also offers alternatives for non-high medical need individuals with IDD diagnoses living in nursing homes who want to come back into a community group home. For example, an individual with IDD formerly living in his family home may have had to move to a nursing home after losing one or both parents.
“An individual may use a wheelchair and need a hospital bed but may not need a nursing home level of care,” Griffith explains. “Without a small group setting available, a nursing facility might have been the only option. Now Caregiver’s nursing home diversion program can offer these individuals group home community living.”
Following evaluation by federally regulated Preadmission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR), the process is facilitated by a local intellectual and developmental disability authority (LIDDA). The State of Texas carefully monitors all Caregiver, Inc., group homes throughout the state.
“These are two shining examples of how Caregiver is developing and providing group home settings ideally suited to individuals’ unique needs,” Griffith stated. “Our Texas group homes offer environments that are closer to what these people enjoyed when living at home with their families.”
For more information about Caregiver’s group homes and other services, please call (800) 299-5161 or visit www.cg-idd.com.
ABOUT CAREGIVER, INC.
Caregiver, Inc., is a privately held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group in Fort Worth and branded affiliate organizations in four states. The affiliates provide intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Caregiver, Inc. was formed in 2015 and now includes these affiliates: Unified Care Group, Southern Concepts, River Gardens, Daybreak Community Services Inc., St. Giles Living Centers, DSA of Indiana, CG-HHC, All Care Services, T/R Residential, and Omni Support Services of Tennessee, and S&K in Ohio. All have similar service offerings and strong reputations in their local communities. Caregiver services include supported home living, family protective services, case coordination, nursing services, respite services, day habilitation, psychology services, dental treatment, specialized therapies, adaptive aids, minor home modifications, and supported employment. Caregiver president and CEO is Mark Lashley. Company headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440 in Fort Worth, Texas 76109. Phone is (800) 299-5161. They are on the web at cg-idd.com.
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