The small group home is here to stay, although they are not what we once accepted them to be. 30 years ago we relegated them to the backs of neighborhoods, prejudged many to be substandard and gazed at their populations of often only the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill.
Today they are among the major players being toured and sought out by families, case managers and other care coordinators who seek a personable, quaint, less regimented option for long-term, residential care. Whether its six, (6) beds or twenty, (20) beds, these icons of community based care now have a legitimate place in America’s care spectrum.
At the same time, families are asking for more as are regulators and prospective clinical partners. What are they now demanding from the 2017 group home? Let’s take a look:
- Structural Changes
Often smaller than institutional care settings, group homes are not typically barrier free across-the-board. Today they need to be. More and more people with special needs are going out of their way to avoid placement in the often less-dignified nursing home setting. This includes stroke survivors, the catastrophically injured and the chronically obese. A call-to-action demands that group homes, smaller assisted living programs be physically accommodating environments.
2. Clinical Competence
We need homes to focus on assisting specific populations in a more care-directed manner. This has to go beyond the generic program statement and checking boxes under populations on a licensing application. We need small homes to arrange staff training, design the home and identify resources that assist a specific group. This might be those with spinal cord injuries, the most fragile diabetics, those with swallowing disorders and others. Its a very focused level of specialization.
3. Internal Care Coordination
This is not new but is coming up more and more. We need homes whose management is literate in identifying and arranging other resources needed by residents. From specialized medical care to being able to opine on innovative medical equipment, we need leadership with a wide understanding of auxiliary services and the ability to do quality and informed research. Even if the ownership of the home does not come from a care coordination or clinical background, the home’s leadership should. Even better, the home can contract for care coordination leadership through a seasoned case manager.
It truly is a new day. We can only hope that for the good of us all, current and prospective providers rise to the demands of society.
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Another Blog Post from the minds of Direct Care Training & Resource Center, Inc. and its Chief Executive, Bruce W. McCollum. Join us for a monthly podcast, next edition on ITunes called, “All that Care Can Be” – August 15, 2017.
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