Written By: John DeRousie / Custom Marketing Solutions
FULTON, NY – For almost 40 years Sandy Hall has demonstrated her care and concern for others by opening her heart and sharing her home with those in need. A certified home provider, Sandy has welcomed dozens of adults from the Community Based Family Care Program into her home.
“It’s an excellent program,” said Hall. “I enjoy helping people and this as a way that I can make a difference in someone’s life by offering them the attention they need in a comfortable, family environment.”
As a home family care home provider, Hall sees to it that each of her three residents have their own living space and three meals a day.
In addition, she ensures that they receive their medications as needed and offers support and guidance in regards to their daily schedule.
“It’s fun having them here. They share responsibilities for the daily chores like dusting and vacuuming their living space and are great company. In the evening the girls, as I like to refer to them, and I enjoy time together visiting, playing games or just relaxing and watching TV,” she said.
Hall’s residents, as well as all participants in the program, enjoy a Monday through Friday schedule that keeps them busy with a variety of daily activities. They benefit from a number of local mental health programs and services and are encouraged to participate in recreational and social activities to their best advantage at a minimum of four days per week. Staff and home providers help to arrange for and/or provide transportation as necessary. Providers receive reimbursement if they do provide the transportation.
Roxie and Pauline, two of Hall’s current residents, appreciate being a part of the program.
They both enjoy living with Sandy and the feeling of belonging to a family.
“We are always together and it’s comforting to know that Sandy and the other members of her family accept us and include us in their family plans. They are very supportive and I am grateful to be here,” said Pauline.
Roxie, who has been with Sandy for 17 years, echoed those thoughts and added that she appreciates the care and concern that Sandy and her family have for her.
“We really are a family. When I wanted to visit my sister in Florida, Sandy made sure that I was able to get there safely. She helped me plan the trip and taught me how to use a cell phone so that she could stay in touch with me and be sure that I got there and back home without any problems. We’re all just like family,” she said.
During the week Hall arranges for her residents to go to their respective day programs.
Pauline attends programs at Oswego County Mental Health, St. Luke’s and the Step by Step Clubhouse.
Roxie spends her week at the Step By Step Clubhouse where she enjoys arts and crafts projects and cooking.
“I like the day programs. They give you something to do during the day and gives me the opportunity to see my friends and meet new people,” said Pauline.
Hall, and all the home providers in the program, receives ongoing training and 24 / 7 support from Family Care Specialist of the program, Penny Foster-Pratt, who works closely with the program’s home providers.
“We are very appreciative of our family care home providers and see to it that they receive the training and support they need. Our home providers receive monthly training on pertinent issues such as effective communication, special diet and psychiatric medications, psychiatric disorders, CPR and first aid along with 24- hour staff support and semi-annual respite (vacation allotment). Our residents also enjoy a high level of case management and administrative support,” said Foster-Pratt.
To help ensure the success of the program, Foster-Pratt said that all participants are screened and matched with a suitable home provider who is anxious to welcome them into their home.
In addition, all home providers are certified through the NYS Office of Mental Health.
The process helps create a positive experience for both the participant and the home provider. Home providers also have the final say as to whom they choose to accept in their home.
“We do everything we can to ensure that it is an appropriate match for our residents and our home providers. From the location of the home to the unique personalities of those involved, we see to it that it is a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Foster-Pratt.
For Sandy and her residents, it’s been an ideal match.
“All of my residents have been wonderful. They are very considerate and I’m happy to have them with me. It’s a very rewarding experience and I am proud to be a home provider, she said.
A certified residential program for adults who are recovering from a mental illness, the Community Based Family Care program provides these individuals with the opportunity to live and interact in their community.
Due to the success and increased demand for the program, there is currently a need for more home providers.
“Our home providers have found the experience to be very satisfying. The residents are good company and our home providers find comfort in the fact that they are helping their community and offering support to those who need it,” said Foster-Pratt.
The Community Based Family Care program is currently in need of homes in the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the villages of Pulaski, Mexico, and Phoenix.
Providers may either own or rent their homes.
In addition to monthly training and staff support, home providers receive a monthly allotment of $772.48 per resident and a vacation allowance of $749 twice per year.
For more information or to become a home provider, call Foster-Pratt at 598-4710, ext. 1094.
A private, non-profit agency, OCO’s many programs touch the lives of more than 28,000 Oswego County residents each year.
One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than 650 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1,000.
Now in its 45th year, OCO continues to build partnerships and is on a roll as it strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives.
For more information, visit www.oco.org