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Palmer's Home Care opens doors for day services program
Moberly Monitor-Index & Democrat - 1/8/2019
Jan. 08--Palmer's Home Care, a recent addition to the Moberly community, works to provide day services to people with developmental disabilities in Randolph County.
RCDDS Executive Director Jorgi McNamara said developmental disabilities are classified as a disability that stops an individual from developing the typical skills of an adult.
Day services are designed to provide social benefits to adults who need supervised care in a safe place outside the home during the day. The programs operate during normal business hours, providing activities, therapeutic exercise and mental interaction. There are also community outings that include movies, bowling, horseback riding, basketball and karaoke, among others, which are free to the individuals in the program. The activities are designed to improve socialization skills and encourage other areas of personal development.
Individuals can gain access to funding for Palmer's day services program with assistance from the Randolph County Developmental Disabilities Services.
Robert and Candace Palmer started a day services program in Columbia in 2016 to help meet the needs of the growing population of people with developmental disabilities. Within a year, it was nearly at capacity, so a second day program facility was opened in Columbia.
Based on the success of their first programs, they began to explore needs in surrounding communities and identified Randolph County as a location that needed additional services. They purchased the building in Moberly in August and immediately began renovations. The facility opened in November.
"We care a lot about the individuals we serve," Day Program Manager Ashley Ware said. "My staff is very passionate about what we. I've been in this field for 13 years, so it's something I'm very passionate about as well."
There are five people actively enrolled at the Moberly facility and 11 others who are in the intake process, Ware said.
Palmer's provides services to individuals with a variety of disabilities who meet the requirement of the Department of Mental Health. To receive services and qualify for a waiver, an individual must be diagnosed with a developmental disability. Ware said autism, down's syndrome and mild and moderate intellectual disabilities are examples of the patients the facility receives.
Ware said Palmer's also supports several independent supported living homes for individuals with developmental disabilities, which are homes where two or three people would live together as roommates. She said the homes are staffed 24 hours a day by care providers through the Palmers.
"Some of our individuals live in (independent supported living homes), some... live with parents," Ware said. "20 or 30 years ago, parents could either quit work or they would send their children to institutions, and that's where they would live. Now, with the day program the parents can still work. They can bring them here to a safe environment for eight hours a day."
Individuals with developmental disabilities who wish to join the day program have to be approved by their Randolph County Developmental Disability Services case manager. RCDDS appoints five case managers to approximately 225 individuals with developmental disabilities in the county.
"A case manager is a very important part of the individual's life," Ware said. ". ...When they decide day services are what they need in their life, the case manager then gets funding sourced through the state of Missouri."
McNamara said case managers are instrumental in guiding disabled individuals, and their families, through the system and finding funding for programs like those found at Palmer's.
"We have small enough caseloads... that the case managers get to know people and know them for years," McNamara said. "We have very low turnover, so our case managers become the go to person for families, to help them navigate the system. ...They develop really close relationships with their families."
McNamara said case managers also act as stewards of taxpayer dollars by making sure that patients get what they need, but are not given unnecessary luxuries.
RCDDS is a tax entity and political subdivision of Randolph County. RCDDS utilized funds from its property tax for individuals seeking care for developmental disabilities, which provides the necessary means for someone to go to a facility such as Palmer's.
The tax levy from Randolph County alone provides approximately $650,000 a year, though RCDDS is also able to draw in funding from federal and state sources.
McNamara said since the formation of the RCDDS by the Randolph County Commission, there has been a significant change in the way individuals with developmental disabilities are treated and funded. She said previous case managers were state appointed and often not in Randolph County. RCDDS is not held to the same budget restrictions when it comes to hiring case managers, and has allowed the workload to be spread to more case managers, McNamara said. She also said RCDDS is able to utilize tax dollars more wisely due to awareness of local resources.
"You can just see, in everyone's recent memory, a huge difference in people's lives," McNamara said. "... This country has been incredibly supportive of people who have developmental disabilities. ...The tax levy passed at a time when the economy was really bad, but both sides of the aisle... people in Randolph County came together. It has made a huge difference."
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