Spring 2018 Generations

GENERATIONS – Journal of the American Society on Aging

A Colorado-Based CBO Launches a Pilot to Keep People with Disabilities out of Nursing Homes By Patricia Yeager

A shift in mindset to seeing the hospital as a customer allowed a complex program to fall into place.

T he Independence Center (The IC), in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a state-certifed Center for Independent Living, is a civil rights and services community-based organization (CBO) that is gov- erned, managed, and staffed by a majority of per- sons who have a wide variety of disabilities. The IC’s goal is to help people with disabilities shed society’s diminished expectations of them and to help them create fulflling lives. This calls for peer support, role-modeling, information and training, and advocacy. People with physical disabilities or men- tal health issues typically frst come to The IC for socialization and recreation such as bowling or kayaking; they see that all can participate in having fun. A subset group seeks out additional information and support through participation in support groups. A support group core tenet is to help individuals set goals such as learn- ing to use the transit system, fnding housing,

or exploring what assistive technology could be helpful. Additional support includes identifying employment opportunities, accessing programs to support independent living (e.g., home modi- fcations), as well as assessing beneft impacts. Often, consumers will help others by volunteer- ing in the peer support and advocacy programs. The IC’s Roots and Services The IC began in 1987 as a Medicaid home health agency that catered to people with signifcant disabilities who did not want to live in a nursing home. The IC hired certifed nursing assistants, nurses, and other professionals to provide daily activities of living (ADL) in the home. When home- and community-based services were established as a Medicaid beneft (more specif- cally, in-home support services), The IC became an “agency of choice” that hired, as caregivers, family members and friends selected by the

abstract This article describes the business acumen processes a community-based organization used to identify and plan a Hospital to Home transition program to disrupt the pipeline of people with disabilities going into long-term nursing facilities after an acute hospitalization. A non-residential Center for Independent Living offering social determinants of health services, including home health services, for persons with disabilities of all ages will conduct a pilot project with a local hospital in 2018 to test this idea. | key words : people with disabilities, Center for Independent Living, Hospital to Home transition services, social determinants of health

74 | Spring 2018

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