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Connections - 06.01.23

Traditional Service Models are Broken. Here Are 3 Ways We’re Reimagining Them.

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Since we opened our doors in 1977, there’s been remarkable progress in improving access to care for individuals with disabilities.

Providers across the country have expanded their support services, opened more facilities, and deployed more caregivers with the goal of ensuring that everyone has a chance to live an independent and fulfilling life.

Despite this progress, traditional service models simply can’t keep up with the demand for in-home, direct care. So, where do we go from here?

At GoodLife, we believe a new paradigm of care is emerging — one that is able to deliver quality care at the moment and place of need. Here are three ways we’re reimagining traditional services and helping providers prepare for the future.

iLink Technologies

When the pandemic hit, providers went into high gear connecting with individuals and their families online. Virtual tools like Zoom taught us that there were still ways to support individuals when we couldn’t be there face-to-face.

However, the need for that didn’t end when we returned to in-person services. There are still plenty of times when an individual needs support — for example, to cook a meal or remember to take their medication — even though we’re not physically there to assist.

Our iLink technology infrastructure allows you to do just that. It’s a combination of smart home technologies, software, and human support that lets you provide 24/7 remote assistance at the touch of a button. In addition, these tools can help you respond to safety and health needs, control home automation, and supervise and support in-home caregivers. The result is a cost-effective alternative to assisted living that enables individuals to stay in their homes longer and retain their independence.

Neighborhood Network

Of course, reimagining service delivery doesn’t mean just adding more technology. We have a unique opportunity to look at structural shifts that redefine what’s possible for living a rich, independent life.

One way we’re doing this is through our Neighborhood Network: a combination of professional next-door neighbors and virtual support. In the Neighborhood Network, trained caregivers live nearby semi-independent adults with disabilities, such as in an apartment complex or 55+ community. Using the iLink technology framework, these caregivers function as iCoaches who are available with the touch of a button to remotely assist or deploy in-person help at the moment of need. This approach means that individuals and their families no longer have to choose between independence and peace of mind.

Professional Family Model

In the past, we’ve seen agencies use shared living or foster arrangements for individuals who need substantial help with daily living activities but want to live as normally as possible. Unfortunately, these kinds of alternative placements can be hard to find — and even then, caregivers may not have the skills and support to meet the individual’s needs.

We’re working to make the option for stable, safe care in a home-like setting the norm moving forward. In our Professional Family Model, an individual lives in a nurturing family environment with a pre-screened, professionally trained caregiver. This could be a former direct support professional, supervisor, manager, or clinician. It could also be someone who had a longstanding relationship with the individual, such as a paraprofessional in the school. In addition, we can leverage the Neighborhood Network and iLink technology to provide respite support for the host family.

Not only does this model provide highly stable care from seasoned professionals, it also reduces the number of people required for care. In fact, it would take seven DSPs working in shifts to replace one Professional Family!

Reimagining What Care Can Be

In order to keep up with the demand for in-home care, providers will have to think differently about their service models and how they deliver support. Letting go of traditional service models and transitioning to a new way of doing things won’t be easy — but we need leaders who are willing to try.

If you would like to learn more about GoodLife’s Neighborhood Network and Professional Family Models, along with iLink, and how we can help you apply these solutions, contact our team today.

For more than 30 years, Mike Strouse has led GoodLife Innovations, Inc., where he serves as President & CEO.