Monday, December 17, 2012

A Brand New Day/Cedar Lake, Kentucky

What an amazing day this past Friday at Cedar Lake, Cedar Lake Lodge, Cedar Lake Enrichment Center and Park Place Residence near Louisville, Kentucky!! Joe Macbeth, Executive Director of NADSP, and I had the great honor and joy to be invited to the agency-wide celebration of certifying  110 DSP-Rs!   DSP-R essentially means that the candidates have passed the requirements and petitioned the NADSP and have qualified for registry in a national data base.  DSP-Rs are recognized as being in the initial qualification stage for national credentialing. Cedar Lake has committed to transforming the majority of it's front-line direct support workforce into fully nationally credentialed professionals with the DSP-C within 5 years. Amazing goal!! 

Cedar Lake began this wonderful journey towards a DSP-centric culture on August 2, 2012, at the Brand New Day Gala!....heretofore referred to as BND (I was not blogging then but may just devote a retrospective blog entry about that day in the near future...stay tuned) During the BND event last August every stakeholder in the Cedar Lake family committed to a 5 year plan to educate, remunerate and register and credential as many their Direct Support Professionals as possible.  This was such a celebratory day and was indeed the opening ceremony for what is to be a powerful journey towards excellence.  We were there that hot August day and we have watched carefully over the last four months as the leadership of this organization and the staff at Cedar Lake are fast becoming a shining beacon for similar organizations in the country to follow and aspire to become.  Cedar Lake is steadfast and on a clear path to becoming a true national leader in supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the emphasis on their Direct Support Professionals as being the primary vehicle for assisting the people supported in achieving abundant life and abundant possibilities in life.

Chris Stevenson, President and CEO, of Cedar Lake has been the heart and soul of this agency transformation and has clearly committed dollars and "sense" to make Cedar Lake the absolute pioneer in promoting competent and ethical Direct Support Professionals to the top of the organizational chart.  We see Cedar Lake and it's fine leadership as an example and model for a national shift into promoting organizational DSP-Centric culture and focus.This can only be done  strategically and with LOTS of focus on the right people leading.

Patrick Varner, Cedar Lake's Community Engagement Coordinator, is Cedar Lake's resident BND cheerleader and culture-maker.  He is at the center of the agency transformation and is a person who infects you with hope, inspiration and BND mojo!!   Ya gotta see this man in words can describe him!! He is important to keep the spirit moving.

Janet Wilson, Cedar Lake's DSP-Educator , (yes, the organization has created a specific position called the DSP-Educator that will help DSPs with all aspects of their credentialing journey as well as educate and train all staff of the organization)   had this to say about Friday's event,

" It is an important moment for us all to be supporting so many staff in this transformative undertaking, and we are looking forward to carrying on the work to build more steps in the career ladder. Most of all, the day served to reinforce the importance of the services that our DSPs provide to our residents, the full support of the organization, and everyone’s commitment to building a career based upon a firm foundation of our values."  Janet Wilson, DSP-R ....Yes, Janet is a DSP-R!!

Several other people are on the Cedar Lake Leadership team and I do want to give them a mention;

Jason Squires, VP Operations.
Jim Evans, VP Development and Marketing
Martina Netherton, VP Community Services
Clyde Lang, VP Finance and Administration
Marcy Clark, VP Human Resources

....all of these Cedar Lake leaders are critical to the success of the Brand New Day initiative and deserve great credit as well....

The most important people at Cedar Lake will always be the people supported.  With DSP-R and DSP-C staff by their side the mission of the organization will blossom, and life will be abundant for everyone in the Cedar Lake family.

So friends, look to Kentucky for some shining light!  Cedar Lake is an organization that has 110 Direct Support Professionals signing-off on their documentation with....


they deserve to be listed here!!!!
.....and here they are!!!

Nancy Acree Cedar Lake

Joshua Acree Cedar Lake

Carla Allen Cedar Lake

Kent Allen Cedar Lake

Erin Ayres Cedar Lake

Sharon Ball Cedar Lake

Barbara Ballew Cedar Lake

Cynthia Behymer Cedar Lake

Janet Bierman Cedar Lake

Elizabeth Bolin Cedar Lake

Virginia Bosco Cedar Lake

Deanna Broyles Cedar Lake

Laura Calhoun Cedar Lake

Keely Carroll Cedar Lake

Cassandra Carroll Cedar Lake

Leslie Carter Cedar Lake

Gail Cashion Cedar Lake

Claudia Castaneda Cedar Lake

Linda Chesser Cedar Lake

Katy Clark Cedar Lake

Katie Clark Cedar Lake

Deborah Clemmons Cedar Lake

Joyce Clubb Cedar Lake

Kimberly Coates-Smith Cedar Lake

Ashley Cooke Cedar Lake

Candace Corona Cedar Lake

Allissha Crawford Cedar Lake

Sarah Daniels Cedar Lake

Danna Dixon Cedar Lake

Billie Downey Cedar Lake

Angela Durbin Cedar Lake

Sandra Edsell Cedar Lake

Stephanie Esparza Cedar Lake

Aleshia Fisher Cedar Lake

Brittany Fitzgerald Cedar Lake

Vickie Fitzgerald Cedar Lake

Emma Foree Cedar Lake

Mary Fowler Cedar Lake

Sarah Fox Cedar Lake

Shelly Gaines Cedar Lake

Maria Gaona Cedar Lake

Rickey Geary Cedar Lake

Connie Gebhart Cedar Lake

Rebecca Goins Cedar Lake

Samantha Grigsby Cedar Lake

Laura Hall Cedar Lake

Sandra Hanley Cedar Lake

Patsy Hensley Cedar Lake

Vicki Hickman Cedar Lake

Ima Holland Cedar Lake

Renata Ingram Cedar Lake

Debbie Jackson Cedar Lake

Michael Jeffries Cedar Lake

Amanda Jones Cedar Lake

Michele Kidd Cedar Lake

William Kiser Cedar Lake

Amy Klumb Cedar Lake

Deborah Kopp Cedar Lake

Kandice Lane Cedar Lake

LeAnna Liter Cedar Lake

Harry Lyons Cedar Lake

Doris Marple Cedar Lake

Bonnie Meadows Cedar Lake

Donna Mershall Cedar Lake

Brianna Miller Cedar Lake

Leslie Mills Cedar Lake

Joyce Monroe Cedar Lake

Leslie Nussbaum Cedar Lake

Donna Ouellette Cedar Lake

Rebecca Payton Cedar Lake

Theresa Payton Cedar Lake

Nora Perkinson Cedar Lake

Candice Perry Cedar Lake

Jennifer Phelps Cedar Lake

Gene Potts Cedar Lake

Theresa Powell Cedar Lake

Tomasa Rogers Cedar Lake

Maria Rojas Cedar Lake

Lori Saylor Cedar Lake

Jaleesia Smith Cedar Lake

Karen Smith Cedar Lake

Stephanie Stivers Cedar Lake

Allyssa Storey Cedar Lake

Sheree Stucker Cedar Lake

Amanda Teelucksingh Cedar Lake

Kena Thomas Cedar Lake

Mary Thornton Cedar Lake

Ryan Timberlake Cedar Lake

Danyel Tingle Cedar Lake

Christopher Travis Cedar Lake

Tiffany Troxell Cedar Lake

Paula Tuttle Cedar Lake

Mary Ullman Cedar Lake

Tiffany Ullman Cedar Lake

Amberley Van Cedar Lake

Tammy Vanover Cedar Lake

Shannon Vogel Cedar Lake

Blanca Wade Cedar Lake

Rebecca Washburn Cedar Lake

Jennifer Webb Cedar Lake

Hazel White Cedar Lake

Kermit White Cedar Lake

Theresa Wigginton Cedar Lake

Harli Williams Cedar Lake

Janice Wilson Cedar Lake

James Witt Cedar Lake

Rose Witt Cedar Lake

Amegan Zaring Cedar Lake

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Waste not, want not....

Today I had the great honor of facilitating the final session of six regional New York State OPWDD DSP Dialogues in Happauge, Long Island.  Since July of this year, Joe Macbeth, Executive Director NADSP (National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals)and Assistant Executive Director at NYSACRA (New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies) and myself have toured New York State and talked with DSPs. 

NYS OPWDD, under the thoughtful direction of Commissioner Courtney Burke, has created this forum for the front-line workforce to share opinions, views, thoughts and suggestions to the leadership of the state for the sake of improving services and supports to people with developmental disabilities.

One theme that struck me today as the DSPs discussed their viewpoints was the issue of waste.  In our system Direct Support Professionals are constantly on the receiving end of directives to save money or they are told that there is "no money" for things.  Several DSPs shared that in their opinion they see lots of wasteful spending.  One of the participants in today's session said that she would love to see staff members be conscious of the use and misuse of lighting and electricity. She made the connection that if in all the homes of her agency, let alone the state and country, had conscientious DSPs and staff members observing energy awareness and energy savings, the result over a long-term would be awesome. She indicated that perhaps if wasteful behavior was monitored and people took responsibility for the consumption  of energy, products, food and so forth, that there would be more funds to do good and meaningful "things" with the people supported.

This may seem obvious to the reader but in actuality many DSPs in the room today felt very much in agreement with this issue and were of the mind that to waste not is to want not.  Furthermore, it is the job of the DSP to be aware of the consumption of resources and materials used in the day to day support of people with disabilities.  This will allow for the funding to continue for important things and not be wasted on items that can be controlled. This connects to the skill standard and DSP Competency of Organizational Participation.  The competent DSP will be aware and informed about the utility policy of an organization in which they are employed. This shall include understanding the impact of energy savings and conservation on the organization and the people supported.

More agency administrators and policy makers need to listen to the wisdom of DSPs!!!  They get it!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Japan's thoughtful, interesting, stylish AND ACCESSIBLE bathrooms

This was an accessibility sign for a bathroom complex in Japan. Note the array of "who" gets barrier freedom and accessibility.....This signage was also in Braille and was a "talking" (two languages, Japanese and English) sign as well. Really cool!!
No Direct Support Professional content to speak of in this blog......but it does celebrate thoughtful bathroom technology and design for people with disabilities.....This is a really quick blog entry to share some photos of a bathroom in Japan, with a focus on how lovely and stylish it was, especially as many bathrooms I encountered throughout Japan are keenly designed with accessibility and barrier freedom in mind.  It took us the ADA of 1990 to legislate access in the United States. Japan is doing it with style and without legislation to my immediate knowledge.

Note the rails and the size of urinal for men to use for going # 1.  The space around the urinal is also very roomy and the perimeter will allow and is designed for comfort of standing from a wheelchair without blocking other "customers". It is also the first urinal in the is not "hidden, separate or at the end of the line".  Loved it.   

The other cool designs in the potty were the "family-with-infant-friendly" stalls.....I am not talking about changing stations (yes they had those.....really clean ones by the way!!) but see this next photo and note the left side.....

The seat on the left side of the picture is an infant"holding-seat" so when mom, dad or whomever is with small-fry, they can place the kiddo in this carrier as to not worry about the child rolling or crawling on the floor.  Clever, safe and a statement of the value of children and parents in this society.  The toilet seat is heated, has a built-in bidet and completely accessible for wheelchair users and people needing more space to do their business.  

Washing up is very important!  Here are the most stylish sinks going!!  Each sink is fully automated, low enough for children to use and the sinks are designed for people who use wheelchairs or adaptive devices to be able to comfortably access soap, sink and drying devices.....they use the Dyson Dry-Blade technology...I did not get a photo, sorry....there were several dryers conveniently and thoughtfully situated.

Not a great photo to see that the wash stations were very spacious and accessible. The sinks and adjacent tables seemed to lower and raise to meet the needs of the "washer"....

Ok....I hope you enjoyed my show and tell.....The reality is I am back from Japan, it is 2:30 in the morning and I am Jet-Lagged out of my mind!!  Strange blog entry perhaps.....but hey, it is my blog. I will get back to more Direct Support next time.....

brief note:  No status update on my mother-in-law to speak of.  Status-quo.....My wife and daughter still there for support and care.....thoughts and prayers are welcomed at this time for her.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Japanese Direct Support/ Privacy and Confidentiality

I am in Japan for a family medical emergency. My mother-in-law, who is Japanese, is in the hospital and we needed to come immediately to be with her.  In my experience at the hospital over the last few days I have witnessed lots of direct support "moments" in a Japanese light.  The support I have been observing is more medical than not but still it is a variation of direct support worth noting. A few reflections about confidentiality and privacy;

The Japanese are incredibly modest people.  Maybe we can take some direct support lessons from this cultural value...

In a moment of intimate care, I observed the steps and care for confidentiality and promoting physical and emotional well-being made by her direct support assistant.  This direct support professional ensured my mother-in-law was treated respectfully and privately as she shares a room with 5 other people and uses a commode next to her bed.  I happened to come back into the room well before my mother in law was completed and the DSP was clearly and adamantly not allowing me back in her bed space or near her until  all was finished.  The DSP stood "sentry" with her and also assisted with all those important details associated with cleaning up and sanitizing following the personal "event".  This person was very respectful to me but was putting her allegiance with my mother in law first. Even as a close family member, I was told that I was not welcome back until the scene was dignified, safe and respectful for everyone, mostly my mother in law who was in a very compromising and private moment in an EXTREMELY public setting.

This may sound that it is not such a unique thing....well, I have spent LOTS of time in hospitals as a social worker and family member.  At least in my experiences, privacy is often unheard of. Curtains and doors exist but seemingly in most hospital environments in America one can be sure to be seeing all sorts of intimate things happen.  Heck, why do we even have those federal HIPAA Laws??  Well, some of the rationale for HIPAA is to prevent medical personnel from blabbing about patient's private health matters in public settings i.e.; hallways, waiting rooms, shared spaces, documentation, etc.....confidentiality is precious.  We lack it big time in our culture comparatively to the Japanese. And, in situations beyond a hospital setting, whether a group home or a setting that hosts people with disabilities in some congregate way, I have time and again been confronted with situations whereby professionals disregard the privacy and confidentiality of those they are serving.  I could devote an entire blog to that theme!

This one small interaction with a Japanese Medical DSP was illuminating in regards to the culture here but more-so was a validation for me about the power and efficacy of confidentiality as an ethical obligation and a best practice. This should be the case anywhere. Thanks for that brief moment with a dedicated professional in a Tokyo hospital I was reminded of the importance of this value and ethical code.

Here is a snapshot from the hospital in Tokyo, Japan where I am spending some important time with my family. Please note my wife, mother in law and daughter.  My daughter is the budding future DSP in the lower right corner of the picture assisting her grandmother with some artwork activities.

I will be observing more Japanese "DSP stuff" and will be sure to report to you more before I leave if I get the opportunity.  But as I said before,  I am here based on some serious developments in my mother in law's health so, of course, that must come first.  Please keep us in your thoughts.   More soon!!