RAMP to teach people with disabilities about safely employing PAs

The Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) rolled out a statewide program that will provide training to persons with significant disabilities who are newly enrolled in the Home Services Program (HSP). The training program coordinated by INCIL will be conducted by Centers for Independent Living (CILs) throughout the state. RAMP, a local Center for Independent Living, has trained staff ready to provide one-on-one training to consumers in their home. RAMP provides services and advocacy to people with disabilities from offices in Boone, DeKalb, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties.

HSP is a program of the Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation Services which allows eligible persons with disabilities, who might otherwise be placed in nursing homes, to live in their own homes and hire personal assistants (PAs) to provide the services they need. Such services can range from cleaning, cooking and doing laundry to assistance of a more personal nature such as bathing, grooming and dressing. The services provided and the number of hours a PA works each day are specified in a service plan developed after the consumer has been assessed for the program. Once the consumer’s eligibility has been determined and the service plan developed, the consumer may recruit PAs of his/her choice. The PA wages are paid by the state. It is estimated that these services cost the state about one-third the cost of nursing home services.

This unique program provides freedom and dignity to nearly 30,000 individuals with disabilities throughout Illinois by allowing them to live in their own homes. The training was developed to assist consumers in developing skills to manage their relationships with their PAs, and to safeguard against fraud in the program.

The INCIL program will provide training to each new consumer on an individual basis. The curriculum will cover recruiting, interviewing and hiring PAs, and extensive information on how to recognize and avoid fraud, abuse and neglect. Upon completion of a training, RAMP will provide the consumer with reference material and contact information so RAMP can continue to be a resource to the consumer.

For further information about the PA program or consumer training, contact Jackie Sundquist, RAMP Services Director, at 815-968-7467 or jsundquist@rampcil.org.

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