- Written by Barbara Bodzin, Executive Director
- Published: 25 July 2019
Consumer directed care is both a philosophy and service delivery model often associated with home- and community-based services. The principles focus on the inherent rights of the individual to be at the center of any decisions regarding their care.
Placing responsibility into the hands of the consumer started in the 1960s, as control began to slowly shift away from health care and human service professionals. Disability, or age, should not be a barrier for the consumer to express their preferences. Consumers should determine the type of care they receive as well as who provides their care and when and where the care is delivered. With the emergence of the Independent Living movement, it was the voice of persons with disabilities who led the march in asserting that it is the consumer who has the clearest insights into their own needs, and it is the consumer who is the expert in determining their own care.
For 45 years, LifePath’s mission has been consistent: maintaining the independence of those we serve while coordinating the supports they need.
All of the services provided by LifePath are predicated on the rights of informed consent, protection of confidentiality, self-determination, and consumer choice.
We recognize that although consumer directed care has gained footing over the years, further progress is needed in honoring the rights of consumers. LifePath strives to maintain a consumer-centered, consumer-directed approach throughout its programs and supports to elders, persons with disabilities and caregivers. All of the services provided by LifePath are predicated on the rights of informed consent, protection of confidentiality, self-determination, and consumer choice.
One way consumers are able to thrive in their communities is with support uniquely available through the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program. This MassHealth funded program puts the control into the hands of the consumer to hire, train, and oversee their direct care workers. On the front end, consumers’ care needs are evaluated by LifePath’s skills trainers and nurses. Additionally, consumers are trained and supported in the responsibilities of being an employer.
Other programs core to LifePath’s mission cover the full spectrum of consumer-centric long-term support services. Our commitment to those we serve includes:
- objectives and goals reflecting the individual’s preferences, strengths, and needs;
- lifestyle, values, and capabilities are considered in the formulation of care plans;
- goals are fluid and may be modified to realistically reflect the consumer’s vision as emerging options and challenges are discovered;
- information, resources, and referrals are frequently provided to assist the consumer to build upon existing supports to best achieve improved safety and quality of life.
Our staff are trained and educated to combat ageism and disablism biases held by some health and home care providers and caregivers alike, and to resist tendencies to take charge. We listen, respond, and adjust in an effort to truly deliver a person-centered solution which promotes choice, independence, dignity and self-determination.