The rise of the residential adult day care program is real and visible. Serving 8 to 14 people in a private home during the day for people who cannot be left home alone as they battle dementia and catastrophic injury is a real community booster. People are helped to avoid premature placement into institutional settings and these same program users may find the larger programs in commercial buildings just a bit overwhelming. Additionally funding sources are starting to prefer these programs due to the level of personalization each participant can receive in a smaller setting and the likelihood of owner/operator involvement in the day-to-day operations. This may be lacking in larger, commercial programs that may serve 100 people or more.
While states and cities have established guidelines and local ordinances governing child day care in private homes, most do not have the same for an adult day services program operating on a city block in a residential structure. They should. While a state Office of Services to the Aging can adapt its programmatic guidelines that impact certain clinical and participant treatment elements, local safety and location issues involving fire, accessibility, evacuation, electrical and plumbing functionality will rest with local authorities. So does the potential for having to re-zone a home for this usage. Local authorities also have to set guidelines for how many people can be served based upon the home’s square footage and the makeup of the neighborhood.
This makes education for zoning board members, building and safety department personnel including inspectors, fire execs, personnel serving mayors and city managers and city council members very important. Even bodies who make decisions regarding the allotment of community development block grant money indicate such education about how these programs operate is important to their fund allocation and approval processes since they serve local communities so well.
Direct Care Training & Resource Center, Inc. has a special division for educating local governments across north America. This process includes providing suggested fee and inspection schedules, language and guidelines for the issuance of permits and much more technical advice. Sessions conducted include a wide-ranging explanation of how residential adult day services programs work. Additionally, fire executives with decades of experience provide suggested guidelines for ensuring effective evacuation and related safety for those served.
Even equipment recommendations are made which can make the structure more functional during various emergency situations.
Sessions to prepare for 2015 start with a webinar December 10, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. and live in-person sessions in the morning and afternoon on Wednesday – December 17, 2014 in Livonia, Michigan. Click Here for On-Line registrations. Those attending the webinar will receive their manuals and other handouts by email or U.S. Mail.
A special area of this program is strictly for fire fighting personnel. Since these programs often serve seniors with limited mobility, there is advice on protecting in place that can be handed to operators and evacuation strategies applicable for those using special equipment. Not every firefighter automatically knows about this available equipment which makes this aspect of these sessions of extreme relevance.
Communities across the world need these programs. Far too many families are adversely affected by the stress of caregiving and the thought of leaving someone home who cannot manage safely. Others are fighting to manage the care of a stroke survivor or the chronically obese relative who cannot render their own personal care in a safe and dignified way.
These at-home centers are a major staple in keeping families together while helping them to manage the stress that caregiving can bring.
Together we can help keep families together while also protecting the welfare of those being served. It all starts with smart, efficient, knowledge based local governance.
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