Longtime readers know that my sister and I are co-guardians of our older brother. Bill is enrolled in a residential program for adults with autism. Each year representatives from the various agencies involved in my brother’s life meet with us to review and revise Bill’s Person Centered Plan (PCP).
Over the years there have been some good meetings and several PCP meetings that should be in the Meetings From Hell Hall of Shame.
I’ve learned to prepare myself for drama…budget cuts bleed and they always seem to impact people like my older brother first.
And I’ve learned to celebrate the victories…last year we were finally able to move Bill to a house closer to where we live and it has been a fantabulous change.
Anyhoo, yesterday’s meeting was a mix of the good and the bad.
Bill is in an amazing day program through the agency that runs his residential program. He participates in morning classes that focus on expanding his ASL vocabulary and strengthening social skills in the community. In the afternoon he gets to go out into the community…something he loves to do…and volunteer at a local shelter or non-profit.
I was thrilled to hear that he is doing well in the program. Staff is getting to know him and he’s benefiting from new techniques to deal with over-excitement (reports are that he’s fired up and ready to go every day!) and that renewed focus on his ASL vocabulary (you’re never too old to learn new stuff).
The bad news is that a key staff member is leaving Bill’s residential team.
Staff turnover is a constant challenge. Low pay, long hours, and the stress of taking care of people take a toll on staff. And programs face pressure when staff leave. It takes time to train people, build relationships with guardians and residents, and get a communication plan in place.
Now, unless something changes, we’re starting over again.
Such is the way of PCP meetings…there is the good, the bad, and if we’re lucky we walk away without having to deal with anything ugly.
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