Discussions around the state continue to gather strength for Ohio Shared Living, a residential service option currently billed under Medicaid as Adult Foster Care. The concept, and its reality as a family home-centered option, has been poorly understood in the past, and Shared Living has been under-utilized. To be eligible, an individual needs only to be enrolled for services through an Individual Options waiver, and have an interest in living in a small family environment. County Boards of DD are taking a fresh look at this service option and the possibilities it offers to the people served, as well as to the host families.
In the January 2015 issue of the Franklin County Board of DD’s Dateline, a cover story noted,
“Simply stated, it is a residential service possibility, available through the Individual Options Waiver, which allows an individual to receive continuous care and support while living in the home of a carefully-selected family in a typical neighborhood.”
The article continued, “While this type of arrangement may not be desirable for everyone, for a person who wishes to live in a small, nurturing family environment, there are numerous advantages. Chief among them is stability.”
In discussions with families about ways to provide quality care that is sustainable and flexible, DODD staff have noted that people often express concern about frequent staff turnover in typical residential settings. In comparison, Ohio Shared Living offers the potential of a long-term stable relationship with the host family. It also offers a small, inclusive setting in which to experience the natural rhythm of family life and community activities, which is consistent with recent federal directives.
DODD continues to work with agency partners including the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACB) and the Ohio Provider Resource Association OPRA), along with several service providers, to determine how individuals and families can be better informed about this residential option. Currently, expanded training is scheduled for Service Coordinators at several County Boards of DD, and a number of provider agencies are prepared to assist in recruiting and matching host families with interested individuals.
As Ohio Shared Living expands in Ohio, we are learning more about the many people who are enjoying the changes in their lives since choosing this family-based model. Some of their experiences are featured in the Summer 2014 Pipeline Quarterly. If you have a story to share about Ohio Shared Living, please contact Sherry Steinman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-644-0262.