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A Day in the Life of a Family Home Provider – Part 1

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 What follows is a day in the life of Ingrid Rushing, Imelda Madrid and Adam. My goal is to let others better understand how family agencies and family home providers work together in hopes of inspiring others to become caregivers and to show how important this type of work is. What our average day looks like:

The people you will meet in this day in the life piece! Myself (pictured left), Imelda and Adam (pictured above).

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Ingrid 1:30 AM

I don’t necessarily think in sunrises and sunsets, and that’s my problem because I’m an insomniac. But what I did do last night… So my day started last night, I slept and I woke up at about 1:30, 2:00. That’s the morning, right? It’s a question of what I am alert enough to do. Last night, it was reviewing all of the COVID laws and worker’s comp COVID laws that are impacting us. It’s really hard to keep up with that stuff because it keeps changing and changing and changing. Everybody’s offering different workshops for different things and worker’s comp fraud because it’s up on the scale. I can revisit all of our HR… our handbook, which we started revising before COVID. Now, we’ve got to revise it again. So, policies, hiring practices, training, and job descriptions. Modes of communication have changed for real.

Ingrid 3:30am

We’ve got new providers that are being trained, but I have to revamp it again and get it out and quick for somebody else to teach it because I don’t have time to teach it. But I just want it concise enough for them to be able to present the new information with the newer state issues and hygienic practices. So sending out emails to people to be careful and cautious, and “Here’s the new training, and this is how I present it” because we wanna be consistent and not everyone can be everywhere. I have a feeling that over the next year, staff and family training will dramatically change…then change again…

Ingrid 7:00am
I try to do my “nurturing mama thing” by cooking for the boys and assuring them they have their plans together for the day. I enjoy this time and take advantage of it as one of the silver linings of COVID. This is their last year of high school and my lingering days of helicopter mom are sadly coming to an end. So, in the morning… they’re still teenagers, I got to make sure they get up and get going. They require some prompting and sometimes they’ll have to start their classes without… They’ll get up with no time to ease into the morning that they didn’t have breakfast, and I can’t stand that. But, I just want to make sure that their bellies are full as well as my hubby Del. He brings me coffee every day of the week and I love to do the same with a light breakfast before he begins his workday. He is much more consistent though.

My mama role also includes delegating daily chores and repeating them several times before I dive into work. By the time the boys get going on their school session, I go through my emails to the best of my ability. I’ve got several emails between personal and professional that I have to go through and see what the hotspots are for the day. This can be time-consuming. Feels like everything is on-demand. Love email, but challenged in keeping up with everything. I don’t know how Oprah does it with her overwhelming schedule and assistance. I am impressed with how people manage. And my life is nowhere as loaded. I triage emails and calls which ones I can address or have to address first and hope that there is time in the day to do so. This is where the second cup of coffee is required. Cup three to shortly follow.

Imelda 7:30 AM

On a workday, I start work at 7:30 in the morning. Adam gets up really early in the morning and he’s able to shower and make his own coffee and make his own breakfast. I don’t necessarily make breakfast for him because sometimes he doesn’t feel like eating that early. I get up, I get ready, I give him his medication. Sometimes he’ll have a little snack like a piece of toast or something like that and then I share with him what’s available for breakfast so that the decisions are not overwhelming. He has options and then he chooses and I usually can tell what he ate because there are signs all over the place. I know he had toast with jelly because the plate’s in the sink and I could see the jelly on the plate or a random eggshell where it shouldn’t be.

Imelda 8:00 AM

Honestly, I am happy for Adam. He has a beautiful home, his own bedroom. He gets up, he makes coffee, he takes a shower, and he sits in a rocking chair and just watches the sun come up. Talk to people as they go by and he’s very pleasant that way.

He is involved with a vocational program. Normally, they pick him up every day at 8 o’clock in the morning, and then he goes off into the community. Now they’re coming into the house. Now they’re trying to teach him how to work on an iPad. Sometimes he’s volunteering and sometimes it’s a paid program. But now with COVID, they’re bringing in little projects. They leave them at the doorstep. Sometimes he likes them, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes the projects they recommend agitate him off and then we have a problem.

Right now it’s COVID and so I’m working from home. I am lucky I have a 3,000 square home, but my office is my bedroom because I tried making my office downstairs in the formal living room, in the casual family room, or in the bonus room and it was just impossible because Adam averages going in and out of the house 41 times a day. I’m working in the kitchen, if I tell him I’m in a meeting, he’ll say, okay, okay, I won’t come in. And then he comes in and he’s like, shh, I’m just getting a glass of water. I’m sorry, I’ll be quiet. And then the ice maker goes. He’s like, I’m just going to rinse my glass, shh, I know you’re in a meeting. It’s okay. I learned that I couldn’t, And how could I tell Adam it’s COVID, you need to stay in your own bedroom. Instead, it’s a compromise that I make to be fair and I spend eight hours a day in my bedroom.

Ingrid 9:00am

One of the matters that I had to address first today involved an employee who’s been with us for a few years. She’s been serving two ladies that live in Santa Clarita. The people we support have rather intense needs and their current provider is moving out of state, and she’s dynamite. These are really two cases that really need a lot of attention to detail and a lot of medical needs that require a strong provider, consultants, staff, and collaborative communication. Luckily the existing and new provider to serve these folk has the experience and/or capacity to provide quality care. This provider will be up and running with skills to support someone with a seizure disorder, G tube as well as challenges with communication. She will do well and we have confidence in her abilities with the right supports and services in place. So medically, we have to work with nursing consultants to make sure everybody’s competent and sufficiently equipped.

The beauty of this new provider is that she already has an established relationship and is invested in her two new future housemates. She was their respite staff. Talk about the custom match, she is finding a place to live so that they can live with her. I love these creations, especially when everything flows so well.

The leasing corporation for their apartment doesn’t get it. They want people to sign leases and our clients can not sign leases, they’re dependent adults and our services are considered in the State’s eye “out of home placement”. I’ve been on the phone with them and their legal staff, to try to get them to accommodate the situation and see if there’s anything I can do to provide more security and confidence in their future tenant. In this situation, COIS really believes in supporting these two folks living in this new arrangement. I am happy to say I believe they would tell us the same. Promising outcomes with the leasing corporation is a goal and without breaching confidentiality, without threatening tones “now that we’re here, you really can’t discriminate” This does not seem like it will be necessary. That’s a good thing.

I woke up, also, to an email from the state agency that oversees our services, provides reimbursement, monitors us for quality, and makes referrals for services. We hold a service contractor together and they represent the State of California. I have been in months-long struggles to obtain supplemental funding for not having day programs for families in Los Angeles County. This persistent issue is one of disparity for us. I am trying my best to resolve this matter and trying to figure out a way to make things happen for our families and the people we serve. There is a disparity in all of this compared to other services and the people we support need an advocate to assure both equity and quality. Meanwhile, I am deeply concerned and fluctuate between cursing under my breath, apologizing for the absence of methodology and funding duly owed to our family home providers who have stepped up to the plate taking on above and beyond efforts that none of us could have predicted last year this time. All of these issues are retroactive back to March 16th, 2020. That’s a long time to go with providing services, and not receiving reimbursement for an additional area of care, services, and supports. I pray that providers keep strong during these challenging days as well as the people we support who put their trust in care in our hands. I will pace the floor undoubtedly as I review regulations and strategies concerning rates, ratios, and realities of this dilemma. I often make reference to these 3Rs. This impacts the abilities of FHA now and in the future if not addressed quickly.

Ready for Part 2? You can read it by clicking HERE.