At one time, it was believed that people with Developmental Disabilities would not reach the average life expectancy of the general population. As health care has improved, and institutionalization has waned, society has learned that this is not true. People with developmental disabilities are living past their forties and fifties and even longer.
Many forms of disability that result in mental retardation, however, are also linked to other serious health conditions that emerge as the individual ages. For example, early onset of Alzheimer’s is likely for individuals with Down’s Syndrome. Consequently, agencies serving adults with developmental disabilities experience increased demands on residential and health care systems as their client population ages.
Philosophy of Elder Care for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Men and women with mental retardation should have the same range of life choices as their counterparts in the general population. Personal choice should continue as the individual ages. Personal choices for older adults with mental retardation or other developmental disabilities include living within a community setting, receiving support to enable them to remain in their own home, living among others with similar interests, enjoying an active retirement or continuing full or part-time work past a traditional retirement age.
Our intent is to support individuals in small residential home as they age, even as their physical and medical support needs increase. This involves staff training in procedures that are not typical in a residential setting, and may include working with hospice to care for an individual who chooses to die at home, rather than in a hospital or nursing home. With a few limitations, we can provide the same or even a greater level of support than a family could do for a family member who prefers to remain outside a nursing facility.
Elder Program Description
KCR’s Elder Program serves adults with developmental disabilities. The program may include well elderly residents as well as those with complex medical conditions. Individuals with complex medical conditions who are under the age of thirty (30) will not be typically be served within the Elder Program.
There are three residential settings, two currently in operation, in the Elder Program: Mountaintop, home for four men living in Gouldsboro; Atlanta, a Scranton residence for six women, and Blue Shutters Residence in Springbrook Township, expected to open in February, 2009 for four individuals.
The program emphasizes restorative care programs tailored to the individual’s needs; community involvement for recreation, worship, and medical care; support for the working elderly, the well retired elderly, and the medically complex elderly individual. Staff are trained to provide care directed toward maintenance of the residents’ abilities, restoration of optimal levels of function and independence, adaptation to an altered life style, and prevention of deterioration and complications of disability.
Each physical site will be designed in anticipation of the needs of the elder population. Each will have be accessible to individuals using wheelchairs or walkers, including handicap accessible bathrooms, and designated bedrooms that can accommodate wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment.
Within the Elder rate, staffing can be adjusted to allow for coverage around the clock in the home in order to support both an active retirement of the residents and care for those whose complex medical needs limit involvement in work or day program.
Nursing involvement is a key component of the Elder Program. Nurses maintain regular contact on site and by phone and are active in care planning for each individual.
Admission and Discharge Criteria
KCR’s Elder Program will assess individuals with the following health concerns for admission:
- Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia
- limited ambulation or dependence on a wheelchair for mobility
- feeding tubes
- permanent catheters
- insulin dependent diabetes
Keystone’s Elder Program will not accept for admission individuals who
- Are ventilator dependent
- Require suctioning
- Are completely bedridden due to extremely severe osteoporosis
- Routinely pull out tubing or other necessary medical/health maintenance devices (for example, catheters or feeding tubes) or are routinely uncooperative with prescribed treatments and/or medications (for example, checking blood sugar levels)
Keystone Community Resources, Inc. • 100 Abington Executive Park, Clarks Summit, PA 18411 • Phone: 570-702-8000 Fax: 570-702-8093
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