By Aimee Sterk, LMSW, MATP Program Staff
People with barriers to community living who use supports through the Mi Choice Waiver Program (which provides services in the community instead of nursing homes) participated in a study that showed that accessing assistive technology, instruction, and home modifications decreased falls and hospitalizations and increased their ability to complete activities of daily living.
Sandra Spoelstra, RN, PhD, of Grand Valley State University, led a research program (Spoelstra et al, 2018) to implement and study CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders) in four regions of the state.
During the 32 weeks of the study, participants worked with social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, and a handyperson to address activities that are challenging at home like meal preparation, medication management, bathing, and dressing. The team also looked at pain, mood, fall prevention, medications/interactions/side effects, communication with the doctor, incontinence management, sexual health and smoking cessation.
The occupational therapists conducted home visits, helped people access AT, and taught techniques to accomplish activities of daily living. Social workers addressed social and emotional needs, and the nurses conducted medication reviews. The handy person did home modifications like adding grab bars or made repairs to improve the home (these were required to be medically necessary).
This demonstration program is now being rolled out at all of the Mi Choice Waiver programs in the state. Soon, everyone will have access to these interventions and can use their person centered planning process to address needs for assistance and devices to help them live in the community.
The Michigan AT Program also offers one on one demonstration of AT devices, like the ones accessed through the CAPABLE Program, to support community living. If you would like a demonstration, please contact the closest local site and set up this free demonstration.
What AT devices do you use to help you live in the community? What is your favorite AT device for community living? What daily activities are hard for you? Could you use AT or techniques to make it easier for you to do them?
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Feb;67(2):363-370. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15713. Epub 2018 Dec 13.
Dissemination of the CAPABLE Model of Care in a Medicaid Waiver Program to Improve Physical Function.