Our October meeting began with a presentation by Diane Tillman, manager of the Springfield and Berkshire branches of Caregiver Homes of Massachusetts. They are located at 35 Center Street, Suite 203, Chicopee, MA 01013 and can be contacted at 866-797-2333. Caregiver Homes is an adult foster care program supporting structured family care. They operate in MA, RI, and several other states and serve about 2000 people across MA.
The individual needing care must be 16 years of age or older, have a disability or chronic illness (including physical or mental illness, or developmental disability. The individual must need a 24-hour live-in caregiver. Said caregiver is credentialed by Caregiver Homes, including a background and CORI check. CH must also inspect the home for safety standards. The caregiver may not be the parent of the individual who is a minor, the individual’s spouse, or the individual’s legal guardian. The caregiver receives a stipend of $20-50/day, tax-free.
Caregiver Homes provides support to the individual needing care and the caregiver using a team model that includes monthly home visits. A nurse provides training to the caregiver to meet the needs of the individual needing care. Continuity of care is conducted thorough daily laptop-based communication with the CH team. The individuals receiving care can and do graduate from the program, as increasing independence is a goal. The individual receiving care may not have both a caregiver through the Adult Foster Care program and a Personal Care Attendant, however the individual may use caregiver services along with an adult day care program.
Our next presenter was Jennifer Amadon, director of admissions at Seven Hills Pediatric Center at 22 Hillside Ave Groton, MA. She can be contacted at (978) 732-5311 or a email@example.com. Seven Hills provides short-term respite care and long term residential care for eligible medically complex children who are 0-22 years of age. The child must have a cognitive level at 24 months or less and two skilled nursing needs. For example, many of the children have a seizure disorder and use medical technology such as a tracheostomy tube, a feeding tube, or a Baclofen pump.
The pediatric medical director is Dr. Julie Hauer of Boston Children’s Hospital. There are two nurse practitioners and two medical fellows on-site five days/week and on-call on weekends. Weekends are staffed with RNs and LPNs. There are 83 pediatric beds including both respite and long-term residents.
Before either type of stay, the Medical Review Team convened by the MA Department of Public Health must approve the child. Families are encouraged to visit Seven Hills before or during the application and before a child’s first stay. Families are welcome during a child’s stay. One parent may stay with the child overnight and families often stay near by. During the application process, Jennifer usually makes a home visit to the family for assessment and screening. The Medical Review Team’s application must be renewed yearly.
Respite care provides families who can take care of their children at home, times to rest, attend to other medical and personal needs, or travel. There is often a waiting list for respite stays, although some times are busier than others. Respite stays are limited to 90 days per year and do not need to be consecutive, although Seven Hills prefers a child’s first respite stay to be at least seven days to allow the staff to get to know the child and their needs. Respite stays can provide an opportunity for other care, like dental cleanings and care. Seven Hills has a dental clinic on site that is affiliated with Tufts University Dental School.
The meeting continued with discussion of the Holiday Party at Shriners on December 12th from 5-7 pm. We are looking for volunteers, entertainment (with the help of Karen Cassidy), donations, gifts for kids and giveaways, and food donations. Suggestions included: having Shriners clowns and inviting inpatients.
We wrapped up the meeting with a presentation on MassStart by Carrie Somppi. This is a free nursing consultation service to collaboratively help families and schools to develop a child’s school health plan, including planning for emergencies so a child can safely attend school. This is especially for children who utilize medical technology, but includes children with other complex medical needs. She covers all four counties of Western Massachusetts and is based at Baystate.