The Community Living Program at The Ability Center, (ACT) has helped 815 people achieve independent living since the program was established in 2000.
Barriers to transition
Community Living Program Coordinator Cathy Quinones explains that one of the most common barriers that prevent individuals from being discharged from a nursing home facility is “losing their housing. If they stay past three months, their income is going to the nursing home, and they often lose their housing. They may have past credit that’s not great—it may be that they are paying past debts, and that becomes a barrier to their transition (back to independent living in their own home).”
About 80 percent of those who have transitioned from nursing home facilities through the Program have been able to remain independent.
Other barriers include lack of family support, not having transportation to doctor’s appointments and other day-to-day activities, and the lack of home health care. Through the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s HOME Choice program, ACT’s Community Living Program staff is able to connect people with the resources they need. In order to qualify for this assistance, they must be Medicaid recipients who have been in a facility for at least three months and have a source of sustainable income. “(The Program) provides the person with the freedom of choice – getting them back in their own community,” Quinones said.
Rex McCarty knows firsthand what an impact ACT’s programs can make on a person’s life. Through the Center’s HOME Choice Program, he received a porch lift, which was constructed by ACT’s Home Accessibility Program staff and volunteers. ACT also made sure that he had the equipment he needed to live on his own, including a scooter, rollator, and repairs to the sidewalk in front of his home. That assistance toward freedom of mobility were key to getting McCarty back home.
Another benefit to the Community Living Program’s work is the money saved by the State of Ohio. According to the Ohio Department of Medicaid, the current estimated savings is $39,100 per discharged resident. However, the most beneficial part of the Program comes from how it helps people when it comes to their quality of life. “It empowers people to make their own choices and to take control of their lives,” Quinones said. “It’s an invaluable service that you can’t put a dollar figure on. To have someone back in their community with control over their housing and how they receive their services, that’s the biggest impact.”