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Archive for February, 2019

How to Prevent Autistic Individuals from Wandering

It’s every caregiver’s nightmare: Someone goes wandering off. Then a search is mounted.

For caregivers of autistic kids and adults, their tendency to wander can be worrisome.

Nearly one-third of reported Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) missing person cases related to wandering/elopement from 2011 to 2016 in the United States ended in death or required medical attention, according to a 2017 National Autism Association study. The study was based on more than 800 media-reported missing person cases in the U.S. involving people with ASD.

An attraction to water seems to pose a high risk. Accidental drowning was responsible for more than 70 percent of lethal outcomes, followed by fatal traffic injury (18 percent).

At the time of elopement, nearly half (45 percent) of the individuals were under some sort of non-parent supervision. Times of transition, commotion, and stress were associated with increased risk of elopement. And those who were upset or agitated tended to show a higher risk of abruptly going into traffic or other high-risk situations.

Precautions to keep individuals safe   

What can parents, guardians, and caretakers do to prevent such needless deaths of individuals with ASD who might be prone to elopement?

What follows are some tips from AWAARE: Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response Education Coalition:

Be aware of bodies of water near places the individual frequents.

Talk to those closest to the individual in your care. This includes neighbors, teachers, friends, and extended family. Anyone who might be near your family member when he or she wanders away may turn out to be the first person who can help find him or her quickly. Tell these people what your family member is attracted to or scared of, as this information could turn out to be valuable clues if the person goes missing.

Teach the individual to swim. Many YMCA locations offer swimming lessons for people with special needs. The final lesson should be with clothes on, according to AWAARE. Just realize that teaching a family member to swim does not mean he or she will be safe in water. If you or your neighbors own a pool, put a fence around it. Let your neighbors know about your family member’s tendency to wander and the need to take safety precautions. And remove toys or anything that might be of interest from the pool when it’s not in use.

Give the individual a medical ID bracelet to wear. Of those autistic people who wander, many may be nonverbal. So, they would likely not be able to communicate with those searching for them. The ID bracelet should include your name, telephone number, and any other critical information. For example, it might state that your family member has autism and is non-verbal. If the individual refuses to wear a bracelet or necklace, consider a temporary tattoo with your contact information.

Consider putting a tracking device on the individual. Check with local law enforcement for Project Lifesaver or LoJak SafetyNet services. These tracking devices may be worn on the wrist or ankle and can locate the individual via radio frequency. GPS tracking systems are also available.

Keep an especially close eye on the individual when you observe agitation or someone is upset. These are the times a person with ASD is particularly at risk of engaging in risky wandering behaviors.

Alert first responders before anything happens: According to AWAARE, preparing first responders with key information before an incident occurs can improve response. Create an informational handout including all pertinent information. Caregivers should carry these at all times. Give the handout to family, neighbors, friends, and co-workers, and first responders.

Taking steps now could either prevent the wandering or at least lay the groundwork for more easily locating a missing person.

Resources
For neighbor alert form, safety tips, an autism elopement alert form, and more, visit https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/2018-08/Safety%20Forms.pdf.

Residential Site Supervisor at Casmir Care Services

Site Supervisor-Residential Program

Direct supervision of Direct Support Professionals working with Adults with Intellectual Disability/Autism in a Chapter 6400 regulated Home. Supervision includes staff schedules, disciplines, Individuals appointments, Community activities as well as the overall well-being, health and safety of the Individuals (Adults with Intellectual Disability/Autism) living in the home.  Must have a working knowledge of the 6400 regulations. Ability to complete and confirm required documentation to verify service delivery, and performance of the assigned staff as required. Assist with staff training and monitoring the daily activities of the Individuals’ homes.

 

General Responsibilities:

• Abide by established policies and procedures of the Agency, County, and State.
• Offers direction and supervision for compliance to direct support professionals.
• Anticipates crisis situations effectively using knowledge of individual likes, dislikes, stressors, and communication style.
• Assure individuals have a comfortable, clean, orderly, properly stocked and safe environment, which includes food shopping.
• Attend and participate in all required training sessions according to agency requirements.
• Complete required paperwork in a timely manner, i.e. individual documentation, staff counseling.
• Coordinates and reviews individuals’ logs and ensures that they are kept accurate and up-to-date.
• Communicate and/or attends treatment team meetings to plan individuals’ programs and review progress.
• Effectively communicates with residential staff, case managers and families in a timely manner
• Evaluates and appropriately acts in emergency situations; assists as needed.
• Provides supervision to staff (both positive and constructive). Accept appropriate feedback in good faith and in a professional, courteous, and respective manner.
• Ensures that programmatic and behavioral routines are followed as established; follows established procedures when making changes.
• Review program books in the individual’s home, making staff aware of its content.
• Monitors the quality and completion of all paperwork to and from staff.
• Participation in the implementation of individual support plans as well as the coordination of training of the support plan.
• Remains aware of behavioral and/or medical status of individuals; notifies appropriate authorities.
• Assist in psychiatric appointments of individuals assigned. • Responds immediately to crisis situations such as accidents, aggressive behaviors, illness, seizures, etc. of individuals assigned.
• Stays informed of and monitors compliance with the daily medical and nutritional needs of each individual assigned.
• Other duties as assigned.

Requirements:

At least 3 years of experience working in a Residential Program. Previous Residential Supervisor experience with Adults with Intellectual Disabilities living in a Chapter 6400 regulated Home preferred. College degree preferred but not required. You must have unrestricted access to a private automobile for site visits, meetings, site emergencies etc. as required for the position.

New prospective employees must include the consent form with the Child Abuse Clearance.

This will allow a copy of the report to be sent to our Office.

A $10 money order must be included.

Please send resume to bthomas@casmircares.com

 

Job seekers are encouraged to attend an open house to learn about Casmir Care and the individuals we serve. 

How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

In the depths of winter, more people say they feel tired or depressed. For some, it’s a normal response to less sunlight. Just the winter blues. For others, it can be a deeper, clinical form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that’s a regular pattern of mood changes that leaves people feeling gloomy during the fall and winter months, when there’s less natural sunlight each day.

If someone you’re caring for is suffering from SAD, it might seem like they’re hibernating. They tend to lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. Symptoms may include sadness, feeling hopeless, worthless, or irritable, low energy, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, carbohydrate cravings and weight gain, and thoughts of death or suicide. Without treatment, the symptoms usually last until the days start getting longer.  

Since depression can be trickier to spot in individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, and SAD is a form of depression, caregivers should realize that SAD may manifest in different ways. While people suffering from SAD may be less active when frustrated or feeling hopeless, it’s possible that someone with ID might bang his head or exhibit other behaviors. 

The exact causes of SAD are not clear. But researchers have found that people with SAD may suffer from an imbalance of serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood. Their bodies may make too much melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, and not enough vitamin D.

The people most at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder tend to be younger females who live far from the equator and come from families with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, or SAD.

In the early 1980s, researchers first discovered a link between light and seasonal depression. They pioneered the light therapy, which has become a first line treatment for SAD. With light therapy, patients sit in front of a light box every morning for at 30 minutes or more, according to a doctor’s recommendation. The light shines brighter than normal indoor lighting and relieves symptoms in up to 70 percent of patients after a few weeks of treatment.

A town in Norway took light therapy to a new level. Three huge mirrors stand on the mountainside above the town of Rjukan, according to Mosaic. The mirrors are mounted in such a way that it turns to track the sun while continuously reflecting its light down to the town square.

Studies also show that certain antidepressants can help treat SAD and prevent winter gloom. And mounting evidence shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy, can also help people with SAD. It involves identifying patterns and errors in one’s way of thinking and challenging them, according to Kelly Rohan, a psychologist and SAD expert. Patients with SAD might rephrase thought such as “I can’t do anything in winter” to “It’s harder for me to do things in winter, but if I plan and put in effort, I can.” Therapy can also involve finding activities that a person wants to do in the winter to pull out of “hibernation” mode.

Whether you or someone you’re caring for suffers from SAD, know that you can change your thinking and behavior and feel a bit better at this time of year. And with your help, they may be able to feel better too.


Mood Lifters

If you’re a parent or caretaker of someone who shows signs of having Seasonal Affective Disorder or perhaps experiencing it yourself, these tips from the National Institutes of Health can help lighten the effects of seasonal depression.

  • Go to a movie, take a walk in a park, go do some other activity you normally enjoy.
  • Get out in the sunlight or brightly lit spaces, especially early in the day.
  • Spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
  • Eat nutritious foods. Avoid overloading on carbohydrates like cookies and candy.
  • Be patient. You won’t snap out of depression. But your mood can improve gradually.
  • See a mental health professional if sadness doesn’t go away or interferes with your daily life.

National Alliance on Mental Illness – Philadelphia
5 strategies to beat caregiver depression
Low-cost cognitive providers therapy by state
Health care centers in Philly

Direct Support Professional at Casmir Care Services

Safety: Security, Environment, Health

  • Maintain a safe and clean environment that meets the physical, emotional, and personal needs of the Individual(s).  Knowledge of crisis interventions, mental health diagnosis, and therapeutic relationships processes.

*Administers medication in accordance with medical provider directions and Casmir Cares Services /State of Pennsylvania policies (Medication Certified Residential Program only)

  • Assist with and work to strengthen the individual’s many daily living needs including but not limited to: communication and socialization skills, nutrition, preparing proper meals, proper hygiene.  Teach the Individual the importance of making his/her bed each morning, the importance of exercise by leading Individual in exercise routines when needed and weight control
  • Assist in maintaining Individual’s well-being by keeping his/her home clean, safe and orderly.
  • Gain and maintain knowledge of health and medical issues for all assigned individual(s) supported
  • Assist individual(s) with healthcare visits, (*Medication-Certified Staff-Residential Program only) and behavior support plans (BSP)
  • Assure Individual’s safety by observing and reporting any risk and notifying appropriate Supervisor/ Service Coordinator of any health concerns or needs for the individual(s)
  • Follow all policies and procedures regarding the safety of the individual(s) in all environments
  • Be a personal companion to the individual(s) and act as a helping hand serving his/her needs and working to build his/her independence
  • While performing the duties of this job, employee are occasionally required to stand; sit, walk, use hands to finger, handle, reach with arms and hands, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, talk or hear, taste or smell.
  • Must be able to lift and/or move at least 50-75 pounds

Programmatic: Choice, Active treatment, Community Resources

  • Implement, demonstrate and teach specific skills as outlined in the individual support plans as written (ISP), Behavior Support Plan (BSP) and any other clinical aspect for the Individual.
  • Obtain knowledge of individual(s) supported desired outcomes and works to ensure they are integrated into daily activities
  • Provide assistance and support to individual(s) in activities of daily living
  • Teach appropriate skills and involve individual(s) in meaningful and valued activities
  • Provide and seek out opportunities for individual(s) to make choices

Rights, Dignity and Respect:

  • Incorporate time, space, and opportunity for privacy in the life of individual(s) supported
  • Maintain strict confidentiality of all personal information concerning individual(s) supported
  • Understand, advocates and respects the rights of individual(s) supported
  • Treat individual(s) supported, his/her family, coworkers and Supervisor/Service Coordinator with dignity and respect

Community involvement:

  • Demonstrate the importance of community involvement, social interactions, and maintaining relationships by engaging Individual in community activities and active treatment when in the home or community.
  • Develop and facilitate community connections and relationships
  • Assist individual(s) in developing and following a person centered schedule
  • Aid individual(s) to participate in activities of their choosing
  • Provides opportunities for activities in various settings and transportation as needed
  • Encourage individual(s) supported to give back to the community

Customer Service and Excellence:

  • Exhibit professional behavior towards the individual(s) supported, families, coworkers, and Supervisor/Service Coordinator
  • Network with coworkers, the community and other professionals to find better ways to include individual(s) in routine life activities and community activities
  • Participate in treatment meetings in keeping with the goals and practices of the Individual
  • Willingly assist individual in activities of daily living including bathing, toileting and other self help skills
  • Willingly support individuals with challenging behavior(s)
  • While on shift staff must stay on site, any outings must be approved by Supervisor/Service Coordinator and documented properly
  • Communicate with Supervisor/Service Coordinator, Individual’s Team and (*Individual’s family- HCBS Program only)

Accountability:

  • Handle and maintain individual/agency finances ethically, honestly and accurately with appropriate documentation and receipts
  • Provide clear, accurate and timely records and documentation
  • Follow all agency policies and procedures
  • Provide emergency coverage when requested by management
  • Take initiative in performing additional tasks as needed or as assigned

Professional Conduct:

  • All Casmir Care Services staff are required to maintain a professional appearance that contributes to the image of the Individual, his/her family, visitor(s), co-worker(s) and stakeholders
  • Provide positive and appropriate feedback to coworkers, team members, Supervisor/Service Coordinators and agency representatives
  • Participate in and complete all periodic training(s) and certification(s) as required
  • Keep personnel records up-to-date by providing updated ID, phone numbers and home address
  • Report all concerns to the appropriate Supervisor/Service Coordinator in a timely manner

Mentor and train new staff to ensure that the workplace is a positive and productive environment (*Residential Staff Only)

  • Attend and participate in all assigned meetings, sharing ideas, discussing issues openly and honestly
  • Maintain confidentiality of records/information according to HIPAA, State, Federal laws and guidelines
  • Report any instance of abuse, neglect, mistreatment and exploitation immediately to the appropriate Supervisor/Service Coordinator
  • Display positive conduct in the community that enhances the image of individual(s) supported and the agency
  • Be a compassionate, patient and encouraging support professional at all times; you are a caregiver and advocate for the individuals we serve

Job seekers are encouraged to attend an open house to learn about Casmir Care and the individuals we serve. 

Our Vision

A leading agency providing quality, effective, person-centered, flexible and innovative services in Pennsylvania and surrounding states.

Contact Us

4950 Parkside Ave, Suite 400,
Philadelphia, Pa 19131
Phone: 267-292-3116
Fax: 267-292-4879
support@casmircares.com

About Us

Our goal is to ensure peace of mind for families and loved ones who are faced with the challenges of placing relatives in nursing homes and other treatment facilities. We offer a wide array of non-medical services tailored to the unique needs of the individuals we care for.