Our March meeting started with Philip McCauley, Director of PSA Healthcare (Shrewsbury). This agency provides home health care services for both children and adults. Technology-dependent clients are encouraged to appy for home care services. PSA offers 24/7 clinical and ancillary supports, and provides family-centered care. The staff has extensive, ongoing training. The nurses are well-versed in caring for patients on ventilators. PSA provides on-call care, but does not offer PT and OT services.
PSA accepts all insurance, and will work with co-vendors. A discussion arose about co-vending. The Work Group was reminded that all families can coordinate home care with multiple vendors (PSA, Centrus, Loving Care, etc) if one vendor cannot meet the needs of the family. This discussion moved into the availability of pediatric respite care from medically complex children. A combination of cognitive and medical needs are necessary to qualify for respite care. Unfortunately, we no longer have a facility in Western MA. Families are encouraged to take advantage of services in Groton, Billerica or Plymouth, MA.
Our second presenter was Janet Simeone, Director of the Center for Human Development Early Intervention Program (CHD). Eligibility for Early Intervention (birth to 3 years old) is as follows:
- Medical conditions with relatively well-known expectations of developmental delay (EI diagnosed conditions list);
- Development of at least 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in one or more areas of development;
- Biological insults to the central nervous system in prenatal, perinatal or neonatal period–and/or–environmental risk factors that limit early life experience (poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness);
- Questionable quality of developmental skills and functioning, based upon informed clinical opinion of a mulitdisciplinary team.
*Effective March 20, 2013: MDPH will no longer charge a fee to families receiving Early Intervention services. Public and private insurers and state & federal funds will support Massachusetts EI.
CHD provides bilingual staff (English/Spanish). OT, PT and Speech Therapy is provided if the assessment includes a recommendation for services. Transition services start at 2.5 years old, when children are referred to the school system or elsewhere.
Nancy Bazanchuck spoke about CHD’s Making Healthy Connections, a 12-week transition program for youth. This program covers a range of topics, including by not limited to: disability pride, independent living, transportation, relationships, sexuality, healthy cooking, and mental health. This program is run in collaboration with Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD), a transition program for youth ages 14-22 years old. The peer leaders group is for ages 16-24 years old. This program helps parents to activate teh transition process.
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