News From Self-Directed Personal Assistant Services

The devastating and disproportionate rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths in institutional settings continues to be a part of the national crisis. It’s estimated that more than one in four COVID related deaths occurred in such a setting. The thread puts people with disabilities and others unable to maintain or manage independence in the community at increased risk. In rural areas, the threat is likely even greater.

These skilled nursing facilities can benefit from community partner support with Centers for Independent Living. We can use a whole community approach in local response and recovery in these rural areas. CIL’s are positioned to reach people with disabilities in both urban and rural areas and coordinate with other emergency response efforts to provide information and referral, independent living skills training, peer support and individual and systems advocacy to help people with disabilities, many of whom have needs for services and supports, to meet these needs in less restrictive and community settings.

We have historically played an important role in disaster response. And we currently have funds available for additional staff and technology to deliver these supports such as communication, transportation, equipment, and copied related supplies such as personal protective equipment, and access to life sustaining food.

Most important, we have traditionally supported transition and diversion services. We have the information necessary for nursing home residents to consider and use in moving into independent living plans within their community.

Currently 12.3 million people in the U.S. use long term services and supports to reside within the community. Another 1.7 million reside in institutions. Through the use of in-home personal assistance, direct care services, and the use of assistive technology and durable medical equipment, a person with a disability can reduce their possible exposure to COVID by being able to shelter in place. 

If you know of someone who is interested in leaving an institutional setting, please contact your local CIL for an advocate trained in helping to make that switch. We all are happiest in our own homes, and now we are safest there as well!