Types of Community-Based Long Term Care Services
- Crystal Mullen
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Although I was blessed to grow up in a home with a mom who loved me and provided for all my needs, I knew not all children were as blessed. I remember watching television shows like “MacGyver” and talk shows like “Donahue” and “Oprah” that spoke about foster children who grew up in various homes until their 18th birthday. Then, almost without warning they are dropped out of the foster care system because they are now legally considered an “adult”. I always thought that once a person turns 18 there is basically no long term assistance for individuals who are unable to care for themselves and I always found that premise to be so cruel because there are adults who need to be cared for. Well, I’m happy to report that for those who need it the most, there is such a thing as Adult Foster Care (AFC).
AFC offers physically or mentally impaired, frail senior citizens or simply ailing adults around the clock assistance that they may not receive from their own family members or caregivers. Often these caregivers are overwhelmed and find themselves unable to continue the necessary care for their loved one. In these cases the only alternative would be to admit them into the AFC system (Boehlke, 2013). Many times AFC homes are large homes that are set up to mimic a traditional, mainstream home that could teach these adults life-skills that will help them interact with society the best of their own ability (Boehlke, 2013). AFC is no substitute for a therapeutic residential facility where an adult would receive services like awake night or nursing care support (Fosterparenting.com, 2013). However, the home does provides 24 hour assistance for up to five adults for those who are simply unable to care for themselves. Adults receive their meals, are supported, supervised, and even receive assistance with their personal care needs while obtaining necessary training in living skills. Licensed providers are paid by the state that has the home, usually on a monthly basis (Fosterparenting.com, 2013). Reviewing the facts with the various types of AFC homes as well as the duration of stay will help a family member or caregiver determine an informed alternative on where he or she can send their loved one to be cared for long term (Boehlke, 2013).
If a person were to develop an AFC home, he or she would require vision, a competent staff, a budget, and the capability of meeting all applicable policies and procedures, regulations and laws. These items can be realized by taking the following steps:
1 A person who is interested in developing an AFC home should research the applicable state laws and regulations where the home is to be founded. States govern AFC through their Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing, Social Services Department, Department of Health, or the state’s Department of Human Services. This is because when an AFC home is being set up, the applicable state office that oversees AFC homes needs be identified. The rules and regulations for creating and establishing an AFC home in each state can be found through Internet research (Rappeport, 2013).
2 Interview people who already manage foster homes. AFC homes may be found through the state office that provides licenses for AFC homes. That are quite a few questions that may arise would be appropriate to discuss when planning to create an AFC. One question to consider would be what type of population does this particular home serve? For example, are they mostly developmentally challenged individuals, emotionally challenged individuals or a mixture of both? Another set of questions to consider would be what is the general age range this AFC home serves? If there is a diversity of ages in the home, how do individuals interact with each other despite the age differences? Finally though certainly not exhaustively I would consider asking the question what does the AFC home schedule look like. For example, does the schedule enable those who can to work outside the home? If so, how are residents able to obtain work (Rappeport, 2013)? Answers to questions like these and many others could prepare an individual for opening an AFC home.
3 Contact the state as well as federal government office that offers grants for the establishment of AFC homes. Periodically, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides grants and/or loans for the development of AFC homes. As soon as the home has been approved the appropriate government entities will then allocate the proper compensation that will be allocated toward the eligible AFC individuals to manage the home and care for their residents in a licensed AFC facility (Rappeport, 2013).
4 Licensed assistants and staff need to be recruited and implemented to help maintain the facility. What the home will need to run efficiently will be based on the needs of the residents’ they house. This includes the severity of their disabilities and the number of residents who live in the home. The state’s regulatory office that governs AFC homes will make available a list of the requirements that state holds for the staff in that home. Information for these requirements can be retrieved from the office’s website. Generally, most states require that those desiring a job in a foster care home complete a basic course in AFC followed by continued education hours annually. A criminal background check may also be required (Rappeport, 2013).
I can now see how AFC can benefit more than the adults who live there. First of all, adults who are unable to take care of themselves have a place to go where they can both receive care while also be enabled to live as independently and autonomously as possible. Furthermore, family members and caregivers who become overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for these adults have an option of ensuring care for their loved one while restoring a sense of normalcy within their own home. Finally, though not exhaustively, I can see how AFC can be a viable business option where licensed personnel can be compensated for caring for those who cannot care for themselves. I don’t know if they are adequately paid for their services, but I still see it as a selfless occupation. Therefore, AFCs give hope to adults to live a fulfilling life without being tossed out by the traditional system. They benefit adults, their families, and those who manage the AFC home.
Boehlke, J. (2013). What Is Adult Foster Care? Retrieved December 31, 2013, from eHow.com: http://www.ehow.com/print/about_4578950_what-adult-foster-care.html
Fosterparenting.com. (2013). Adult Foster Care. Retrieved 31 December, 2013, from Fosterparenting.com: http://www.fosterparenting.com/foster-care/adult-foster-care.html
Rappeport, L. (2013). How to Start an Adult Foster Care Home. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from eHow.com: http://www.ehow.com/print/how_5625539_start-adult-foster-care-home.html
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