For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.
In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Is Massachusetts Agency Going Too Far with Independence, Danni wrote:
I have to say absolutely! We need a bit of back up on this or it can put us in major danger! I am battling even using companies for help (and the lack of good help is rather disgusting), but I can’t imagine trying to interview someone for the job, and there are many of us that do not have the option of family or friends to help.
In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Is Massachusetts Agency Going Too Far with Independence, DeAnna wrote:
I think Bob misunderstands how such programs as he describes work.
The service is called Consumer Driven Service. People can choose to receive Personal Care Attendant services from agencies who do the hiring, handle all of the details, and choose who they send. CDS service is for those who want to hire a relative, friend, or prefer to choose who enters their home. They must be able to handle signing off on each day’s activity, supervise, train, hire, and fire because that is what they wish to do. The agency can help them by keeping an eligible to work list of individuals who they have cleared through a data base search to verify that they do not have a criminal record nor have they been banned from working for previous misconduct.
They also handle taxes and bill Medicaid and send payment based on the time sheets submitted by the consumer. If they suspect that a consumer isn’t being cared for adequately, they can step in by issuing a hotline report declaring that a person with a disability is endangered. They make monthly contact with the consumer by phone and at least quarterly, a home visit. If they suspect that an attendant is not performing their job well, they can act to safeguard the individual and insist that they get services from an in-home agency. If the consumer chooses to hire a relative or friend or indeed run an ad, the chosen employee must still have a background check before they can work or they must receive a waiver to work requested by the employer who knows that, for example, Jane Doe had a DUI when she was twenty or was arrested twenty years ago for fishing without a license or whatever.
In-home service is when the agency takes all responsibility for assuring that an aid is sent to you. Under CDS, you are expected to fill out an emergency plan that lists family, neighbors, or friends you might ask to fill in during emergencies. These people can either work once a quarter to keep their eligibility to work if they want to be paid, or be volunteers who don’t expect payment, but will help out should an attendant be ill, suddenly quit, or for some other reason be unavailable to work. Depending on the severity of the disability, the agency will step in with help if a person can’t manage at all without daily help. Most individuals with multiple disabilities will keep the maximum number of attendants so they can always have flexibility to absorb sudden decisions on the part of their employees to leave or for illness or even holidays off situations. The agency where I work is fortunately in a university town, so nursing, occupational therapy students, or others studying for careers in the health professions are in good supply. They make excellent personal care attendants and like the flexible hours and part time jobs.
The bottom line is that people have options other than being forced in to nursing homes simply because they need some extra help to live in their own homes. Maintaining control over who comes in to your home is one of the reasons people choose CDS programs.
DeAnna Quietwater Noriega
5774 Windy Meadows Ln.
Fulton, MO 65251-5442
In response to Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Kicking Off the Fall with a Bazaar, Phyllis wrote:
Just last Saturday, the 9th, I was at an annual event here in Johnson City, TN. with my current Dog Guide, Emmy. We sold bottles of water and handed out flyers about our Unity church. I had a lot of fun and Emmy got lots of attention. People were polite and always asked if they could pet my dog. There were a whole lot of children, so Emmy had an excellent good time. She was an outstanding ambassador for the church. I kept telling folks that she was our mascot!
In regard to Sally Ross’ question on melatonin, Edward wrote:
About ten years ago, I participated in a sleep study at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston lasting four months. For 39 days of that time I voluntarily incarcerated myself in a hospital room hooked up to all kinds of things. This study, which is still going on, is part of a larger study regarding sleep as the drug companies are seriously interested in making billions. It turns out, at least as a working hypothesis, that probably at least 90 percent of individuals whose biological clock in the brain does not receive light daily, have some kind of sleep disorder. The use of melatonin can, in some instances, be very helpful.
There are styles of living, however, that work best with melatonin in general, and regularity of habits is one of them. I will try to reacquire the contact information for you, but probably any good searcher of the web could find it. The current study is, however, working with drugs which include melatonin. Personally, I would not take it over the counter even though it is available that way. I would try to work with a specialist in the field. Melatonin is the hormone that is being produced in your brain and you probably know it by those feelings of sleepiness which make you think you are going to drop in your tracks right in the middle of your answering questions in an exam. That is, when you feel drowsy, your melatonin production is up. For the record, I decided to not take the melatonin as I was not prepared to live a regulated life. Now, I’m not sure I decided correctly
In regard to Sally Ross’ question on melatonin, Chela wrote:
You should try the following web site: http://www.24sleepwake.com
In regard to Sally Ross’ question on melatonin, Jim wrote:
I am totally blind, and melatonin has helped me to regulate sleep. I get roughly six hours per night. I have taken melatonin since last September.
The product I’m taking is ResQ Sleep. It’s produced by N3 Oceanic. They are located in Palm, Pa. They can be reached at this toll-free number: 1-800-2625483.
In regard to Sally Ross’ question on melatonin, Mark wrote:
I am sorry to say that I have only heard of seemingly anecdotal evidence of research for Circadian rhythm problems in the blind. It seems that there are researchers in the UK who have done more with this than researchers in the U.S.
I am totally blind and without light perception, and have dealt with sleep issues and Circadian rhythm issues for nearly the past 46 years. It meant pure misery for me both in school, and at work, and plagues me to this day. I have considered taking part in this or that study, but was unsure of what these studies could mean–are they just studies for now, or could they lead to some sort of help? Meanwhile, I try very hard to keep a rigid schedule so that I can eventually train my body to crash when I want it to, not out of the blue when it wants to.