A new social service organization opened its doors in Hillsboro last week with the mission of helping the mentally and physically challenged be as able as they can be.
Judy Smith, district manager for Empowering People, told The Times-Gazette their program offers services for the handicapped, disabled, MR/DD and anyone else who is mentally or physically challenged.
“We’re interviewing people for a position called DSP, which is Direct Service Personnel,” she said. “These are people who will work directly with our clients on a one-to-one basis, doing things like giving patient care, teaching hygiene and life skills, helping with laundry, things like that.”
Smith said Empowering People’s approach is to make their client’s everyday life better by taking them out for grocery shopping, trips to points of interest, going to Highco Inc. for contract work and every day living.
Their program isn’t exclusive to the MR/DD population, and is designed for anybody who may be handicapped or disabled.
“Whatever the circumstances are, that’s where we come in,” Smith said. “A client may be struggling with a handicap or some sort of disability, whatever the situation happens to be, we can step in do whatever it takes to help them live a happy, productive life.”
Smith emphasized that people who are DSPs aren’t just attendants or “babysitters,” but are fully trained and qualified caregivers.
“Our people receive 16 hours of training to prepare them for the functions they’ll perform,” she said. “Not only do they do the usual household tasks, but because we’re delegated through the hospital, DSPs can dispense medications as well.”
Though their in-house personnel do have some medical training, they aren’t qualified to do anything considered “invasive,” such as insertion of a G-tube for enteral feeding.
Empowering People also is able to take their clients on extended trips and even vacations if they like.
Due to being delegated by the hospital, clients can vacation wherever they choose and medications can be given in a timely manner.
“We had one client who wanted to go to Columbus for a recent comic book convention,” she said. “They left on a Friday morning and didn’t get back until Sunday night. They had an awesome time.”
The goal is to get a person back into the community and continue having an active life, despite whatever the handicap or disability may be. It all begins with an initial meeting that involves the family.
“We always have a meeting before our services start,” she said. “We go over their plan, the needs they have, things they want to do and if they have family close by, we try to involve them as well.”
Smith said the idea isn’t just to take care of them, but to put forth a team effort that draws her office, the client and their family into the plan of service.
Empowering People’s programs will begin Oct. 1, and the hope is for two group homes to be established in the area.
A Hillsboro home on Mary’s Lane is now open, while a Greenfield group home is still in the planning stages.
The new Hillsboro office of Empowering People can be reached at 513-635-6278 or by stopping at 108 Gov. Trimble Pl., Suite A.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571