Checklist for Community Living Click here for a print-friendly version
Listed below are some important questions to ask when considering a move to the community.
The most important step you can take is to visit at least two or three homes. Much is learned by observing how a household looks, feels and actually operates. Keep in mind what you consider most important. Examples are stability/consistency, safety, quiet, personal attention, personal space, specialty services (like behavior supports), co-operating and collaborating with the parent/guardian, and supervision. Bringing your written list of criteria and making notes while visiting a home are extremely valuable.
What to look for and ask about during visits to potential homes:
Does the environment look and feel comfortable to you?
Is there enough to do?
Are there things happening in the home?
How do the staff and housemates interact?
Do they seem to respect and like each other?
What kind of food is available and who picks it?
Are choices encouraged and available?
Are diets supervised?
Does each person have his/her own bedroom?
Can each person individually decorate the bedroom?
Will your son/daughter have convenient access to restaurants, shops, parks and other community settings?
How is transportation handled?
How are community activities determined?
How are leisure activities encouraged?
If your loved one is employed or involved in volunteer work, what would be the transportation and supervision?
Will your loved one have opportunities to pursue his/her personal interests balanced with social interaction in a group (e.g., going to a movie)?
Is there evidence that personal hygiene and good grooming are in place?
Are clothing and bedding laundered separately and well maintained?
What is the staff turnover rate at the home and what does that mean in terms of staff having a relationship with your son/daughter?
DISCUSS ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENTS
Each one of our sons and daughters is unique and has his/her own requirements. Making a list of needs and “must haves” up front makes for a smoother transition.
Examples of requirements:
24 hour direct supervision
Fenced yard or deck
Medications administered daily at consistent times
Determine how doctors, dentists, psychologist, nursing will be identified
Do you want to take your child to appointments yourself, have staff accompany you, or have staff take your child and notify you to discuss results?
Behavior support plan in place and followed. How do you want to be involved with reinforcing or discussing changes to the plan?
What you as the parent/guardian require, such as notification of incidents, emergencies, changes in behavior, illness.
How do you want to be notified (phone, e-mail)?
Level of support needed for showering, tooth brushing and all hygiene
Regular and routine schedule
Parent/guardian knowing who is in charge and who to contact with issues, complaints or needs, including week-ends and nights
How often parent/guardian can meet with staff
Language/speech support, physical therapy, following a diet (Such as gluten free)
Loved one transported and accompanied for home visits, if needed, and how often
These are examples. There may be other requirements you have.
ANYTHING PROVIDED IN INSTITUTIONAL CARE CAN BE REPLICATED IN COMMUNITY CARE, PLUS MORE.