When Creative Community Living opened 14 years ago, we supported individuals in 23 locations with four or six individuals in a setting and staff awake 24 hours a day. Now CCL supports individuals to live as independently as possible in 28 residences in three cities.
Some of these residences are duplexes with staff awake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Other settings are one-person apartments with staff present only a few hours a week to assist with menu planning, grocery shopping, laundry and house cleaning. In between those two extremes are homes with two to three individuals living together. The staffing patterns vary from 24-hour awake staff, to staff permitted to sleep when the individuals are asleep, to no overnight staff.
We strive to meet the needs of the individual who selects services from us in the environment that best supports that person. Each residential setting is unique, even when the same number of individuals lives there as in another setting.
When families first contact CCL to inquire about residential services, we attempt to obtain information about their loved one in order to determine where to have them tour. It is important for them to view places where they might ultimately be served. Sometimes we are unsure of the needs of the individual and will show the individual and/or family a variety of settings.
It’s important to CCL to try to make the best placement because we really do strive to help the individual make a choice that will last a lifetime, if that is desired. Many, just like you and I, dislike moving, so selecting the right home minimizes the number of moves.
Sometimes individuals will first live in a setting where each person has a private bedroom but shares the main living area, then with support and training become more independent and decides to move to an apartment or home with fewer people. Sometimes individuals decide to move to another city where CCL provides supports. Other times the needs of the individual change.
CCL tries to keep the number of moves an individual makes to a minimum unless the moves are requested by the individual or family. Sometimes, however, moves are inevitable. As mentioned previously, each of the 28 residential settings is unique. The needs of an individual may be better met elsewhere rather than having CCL develop the supports needed at the current setting.
Marvin’s story is a great example of this situation. When Marvin left Winfield State Hospital and Training Center almost 14 years ago, his primary support needs were related to his propensity to poke objects unsafely and other behavioral issues. He needed a very structured, active setting with staff well trained in positive behavioral supports. Over the last few years, Marvin’s health declined significantly, and he needed a slower pace of life with greater health care supports.
CCL will develop supports to meet the needs of the individual within the original home if at all possible, but sometimes it does become necessary for the individual and family to look at options that are available. Marvin has moved twice in almost 14 years in order for all of his needs to be met. Could those moves have been avoided? I don’t think so.
Staff members could have been trained to support Marvin at Harris Road, but when meeting Marvin’s needs impacted the desired schedule of his former housemates on a regular basis, we knew it was time to make a change.
CCL looks for a change that will be in the best interest of the individual moving. In each instance, Marvin visited the new home and staff members were trained in preparation for the moves.
CCL will not guarantee that your loved one will always live in the same home, but we have proven we can support individuals across their lifespan. We have successfully supported individuals with very high medical needs, just not necessarily at the home where they first received services.
CCL has worked with families and Hospice so individuals can die with dignity at home surrounded by friends and family. Similarly, CCL has supported individuals who were ready to try living more independently.