Adapting Enabling Technology Over Time
“Hello? Yes, is this SimplyHome?”
“Can you turn off my daughter's prompts?”
"She no longer needs all of the reminder announcements about her daily routines. She’s doing some of the tasks on her own now."
This is one of our favorite phone calls to receive at SimplyHome. We love to hear from families and care coordinators that technology has enabled people to become more independent, even to the point of no longer needing the technology!
Sometimes the phone calls go a little differently: “Hello? Yes, so I guess he’s just getting a little older, and may need more help following his daily routine. We’re also concerned that the door sensor has a low battery. And we want to check the water/flood sensor to make sure it’s still working, because he has been leaving the water on sometimes.”
We love to get these types of phone calls, too. Why? Because it means we have the chance to continue adapting our technology to support an individual’s independence.
Recently we received a phone call from a parent who was anticipating her son’s move to a new apartment. All of the sensors in his SimplyHome System would need to be transported and reinstalled, and some of his daily routines had changed, including what time he needs to go outside to wait for the transit bus.
For the SimplyHome team, this is a chance to re-engage in a person-centered conversation with and about the individual: What are their current goals? What are their priorities for their life right now? What are their concerns? Are there other concerns that technology can help address?
Like the original assessment process, SimplyHome’s reassessment process is collaborative. It may be a brief conversation, or in this parent’s case, we spent over an hour discussing motion sensors, the time frames when the individual should receive automated verbal prompts, and how to use technology to create a more secure residence, without restricting the individual’s independence and privacy.
We understand that our clients’ goals and needs may change dramatically over time. That’s why we make the reassessment process complimentary for our clients: to make sure that the SimplyHome tech continues to support the individual’s priorities, goals, and concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions about Reassessment:
1. Does the reassessment process involve installing or buying more tech?
Putting more technology in place is often not necessary, and we often adapt what has already been installed. If the existing technology is already supporting the client’s goals sufficiently, or is sufficient once slight changes are made, then we will not recommend the purchase of additional equipment. Sometimes the individual’s circumstances or priorities change enough that we would recommend a different or additional piece of technology. Our goal is for the assessment process to be a collaboration focusing on the individual’s goals rather than on the “latest and greatest” technology.
2. If I need additional equipment, will it be covered by a Medicaid waiver, such as the NC Innovations waiver?
If your original SimplyHome technology was covered by your Medicaid waiver, there is a good chance that additional tech will be covered, provided that it is deemed necessary and that funds are available. For example, the individual’s ISP may feature the goal of learning to cook, and after following up, we may include a stove sensor as a new feature for the system, to support that goal. We do not guarantee coverage. We do often see waiver coverage for additional technology.
3. When does this follow-up conversation occur?
The short answer is: Whenever clients request it!
We recommend reassessment when we are notified that an individual is experiencing a big life change that affects their daily life or safety; when there is a long delay in getting equipment approved by Medicaid; and annually if the client’s funding is dependent on an annual renewal. Sometimes the reassessment process flows out of having an initial conversation about a low battery or something that has been broken.
4. Does anyone ever “grow out of” needing technology as a support?
Yes! We have clients that initially wanted and needed support with medication compliance, who now manage their own medications without assistance. We also have clients who, once verbal prompts have been in place for a couple of months, now manage their morning routines without those prompts. Carl is someone who has thrived in his morning routine now that he is living on his own.
Dakota’s support from technology has also been adapted over time; we first met Dakota in 2015. We’ve continued to work with him over the years and this spring, we installed new tech to support his new goals and concerns.
5. How much does reassessment cost?
Our reassessments are always complimentary, whether it’s the first one or a refresher. The process takes place over the phone. It can be a five-minute “How’s it going?” or an in-depth conversation revisiting all of the technology and the individual’s goals and circumstances.
If you are considering a reassessment, don’t wait! When there’s a need, please let us know. We will schedule a follow-up call with you. We love figuring out how to adjust and adapt technology to better support the individual in their independence.