Congresswoman Grace Meng Responds To Jewish Community

The surprising and practical benefits of home care and CDPAP for children

In my mind, the phrase “Home Health Aide” had always projected the image of a senior sitting in a wheelchair with an aide assisting him. But after interviewing a young mom, that no longer holds true.

“When we started getting Personal Care Services, it was life-changing for us,” begins the mother, speaking about the aides her 12-year-old daughter with developmental disabilities has been getting.

“Personal Care Services” is a Medicaid benefit which provides aides to assist individuals of all ages, not only seniors, with anything officially categorized as “Activities of Daily Living,” like dressing, bathing, toileting, and feeding.

Personal Care Services can either be provided via the Agency Directed model or as Consumer Directed.

The Agency Directed model is where an agency provides certified home health aides (HHAs) who are trained, vetted (including references and background checks), and supervised by a registered nurse (RN).

The Consumer Directed model (CDPAP) empowers the Consumer (patient) or their Designated Representative to direct their own care, without help from “outsiders.” The Consumer is responsible to recruit, train, and supervise the aides of their choice.

It’s been about ten months since Hamaspik HomeCare began sending aides to her home for several hours a day. 

For the young lady in question, it’s been a veritable lifeline of human interaction, a therapeutic window into an otherwise closed and colorless world without playmates or friends.

But for her devoted but overextended parents, and caring but overwhelmed siblings, the daily visits by Hamaspik HomeCare aides it’s been a game-changer.

In fact, as she sees it, it’s nothing less than having a classic Hamaspik group home right in the comfort of her own family’s residence.  Hamaspik HomeCare “brought the group home into my house,” she happily declares. 

“I can oversee the care, without doing the physical work,” she elaborates, referring to the several daily hours of in-home one-on-one care that those outstanding Hamaspik HomeCare professionals provide her daughter.  “It means that my daughter is getting the very best care possible, and we can remain one happy family.”

Mom sees life in black-and-white “before” and “after” terms, in fact.  She digresses into the “before” era of her family’s life.

Their precious daughter was born with the genetic condition known as Trisomy 21, otherwise commonly known as Down syndrome—which is the cause of her developmental and physical disabilities.

She is also “on the spectrum”—meaning, she has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

She can verbalize a few words, but generally does not speak.  She does not walk well.  She does not socialize.  She does not play with anyone. 

And up to under a year ago, Mother managed life by having the occasional visitor take her daughter out.

Then her daughter was approved for visiting personal care aides from Hamaspik HomeCare.

Hamaspik HomeCare Scheduling Coordinator Rivky Weber didn’t waste time setting it up. Mrs. Weber tried to get the family an aide experienced in working with kids.  She succeeded.

Mom specifically recalls the Hamaspik HomeCare go-getter saying, “I want it to work out, so I am going to make sure to get someone that has experience working with kids.”

“I felt like she knew exactly what my daughter’s needs were and tried to match somebody accordingly,” she gratefully reports - “not just sending new aides every day to try until it works.”

For several hours a day, the aides came into her home.  But most importantly, they entered her daughter’s heart.

In fact, the precious little girl would practically jump for joy when aide Joanne would show up, approaching her to administer a loving hug—something she’d never do to other visitors. 

Joanne, for her part, was only too happy to sit on the couch with her and walk through the child’s sensory stimulation exercises and activities. She would also lovingly feed her, bathe her and get her off to bed. Joanne even once took the girl to the store to get her glasses fixed.

With the hours of service the family is now getting in-house care for their beloved daughter and sister, members are able to leave the house. They are especially able to spend weekends enjoying Shabbos with family members.

“When I gave birth, my husband and I decided that it would be best to keep her home instead of sending her away to family and friends. We were only able to do that with the help of the aides.”

“I’m the only one who understands her needs,” explains Mom. 

But now, she can translate that understanding into action through the most caring of hands.

 Hamaspik HomeCare is a leading home care agency providing a full range of services to the community. With offices in Borough Park, Williamsburg, Monsey, and Monroe, we are never too far from home! For services, call 855-HAMASPIK (426-2774) x700.

 By Menachem Ellison