Working wellness into lives of those with disabilities

Working wellness into lives of those with disabilities

Wellness is defined as the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.

The state of Indiana began a new program on March 1, 2016 with the intention of providing wellness services through a Wellness Coordinator. This individual may be an LPN who practices under the direction of an RN or is currently an RN themselves.

The Wellness Coordinator oversees the plans developed to assist an individual towards living a healthier lifestyle. This may be simply by encouragement and guidance to achieve this goal.

Services are determined by a consumer’s “health score.” Scores are assigned at the state level by frequency of health care visits and by a consumer’s health care concerns or conditions. The score is determined with the oversight of a case manager and after a detailed assessment is completed; services are assigned a Tier level of care. Tier levels are from 1 through 3. Tier level 1, would allow an individual a face to face meeting with the Wellness Coordinator monthly with weekly oversight of their care. Tier level 2, would allow an individual a face to face meeting with the coordinator twice a month with weekly oversight. Tier 3, would allow for weekly face to face meetings with the coordinator as well as weekly oversight of their care. Coordinators are also available to answer questions and address concerns as needed.

Face to face meetings with the coordinator could be to check their blood pressure or other vital signs, check an individual’s weight, provide teaching and review any questions which may arise. These meetings also include accompanying an individual to a doctor’s appointment and to help with understanding and negotiating the health care system.

Emphasis is placed on eating a balanced diet, increasing exercise or activity level as a consumer is able, taking their prescribed medications and seeing their doctor for yearly exams which include mammograms, prostate exams and testing, and at least yearly dental exams and cleanings.

Consumers who receive this service are given the opportunity to receive this added benefit. Individuals who qualify must have a health care score of greater than 4.

Some risks or needs that would qualify an individual would include some of the following: use of high risk medication such as blood thinners, health conditions or diagnoses such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol or triglycerides, hypertension, use of adaptive equipment. Examples of adaptive equipment include the use of a walker or cane. Mobility issues also add to an individual’s “health score.”

Other conditions or qualifiers can include conditions such as Dementia, Alzheimers, mental illness, difficulty with eating or swallowing, and intellectual disabilities

Abilities Services, Inc. of Crawfordsville has provided this service to it’s consumers who qualify with a health care score of greater than 4 since July 14, 2015. To date, more and more of our consumers qualify for this service. A majority of them qualify for Tier level 2. More consumers will be added to this number as more individuals age, just as the general population continues to age as well.

Amelia Hathaway hired into this role as Wellness Coordinator in October 2015 after working in hospital health care systems for most of her professional career. Her most recent experience has been with Indiana University Health Hospital in Avon. The satisfaction in helping and caring for others has been the driver in her life.

For those who qualify; the benefits of a more healthy life are priceless. The Wellness Coordinator is that individual who assists others to lead a more healthy life and lifestyle; to encourage and offer support and to make sense of the complicated environment of the medical world. Wellness Coordination is a benefit that is paid for under an Indiana Medicaid Waiver and can be used even if additional services are not provided directly by Abilities Services.

For more information on what ASI does to support adults with developmental disabilities, please visit our website at www.asipages.com or become a friend of ASI on Facebook. ASI is a CARF, nationally accredited, not-for-profit organization that is supported locally by MUFFY. Our facility is located at 1237 Concord Road. We also have locations in Frankfort and Lafayette.

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What is a Disability?

The definition of a developmental disability includes, but is not limited to: an intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, a severe head injury that occurred before the age of 22, or a severe seizure disorder.

 

Under federal law, "developmental disability" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:

 

  • attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments
  • manifests before the individual attains age 22
  • is likely to continue indefinitely
  • results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    • self care
    • receptive and expressive language
    • learning
    • reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.
    • economic self-sufficiency; and
    • capacity for independent living
    • self-direction
    • mobility

 

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