May 24, 2018
Individuals with disabilities often rely on others to help them live the life they dream of. Choosing a disability service provider that best meets a person’s needs seems hard and there are many options. Where do you start? What questions do you ask? Careful planning will help you work through the options.
First, make a list of the things most important to you – your expectations. Then make a list of questions to ask. Avoid yes or no questions. Open-ended questions require the person to give detailed information.
Things to consider about a provider:
- Mission and vision statement
- Policies on choice and self-determination
- If the board of directors includes persons with disabilities and their family members
- Hiring practices (training, background checks, certifications, the interview process, etc.)
- Conflict resolution policies
- Emergency response time (weekends, evening hours, etc.)
Questions to ask:
- Describe the roles and responsibilities of your case managers.
- How do case managers advocate for clients?
- How are a client’s services monitored?
- How many people are assigned to each case manager?
- What is the process for matching a case manager to a person?
- Describe your person-centered planning approach.
What to look for if you visit a group home:
- Is the home clean and accessible?
- Is the privacy of residents considered?
- Is the home near community events?
- Does the staff encourage choice, flexibility, dignity, and respect?
- How are phones answered?
- Staff not willing to answer questions, or answer them fully
- Allowing you to enter a group home without permission from the residents
- Words like “do not allow,” “can’t do that” or “this is how we’ve always done it”
Listen carefully. Jot down the answers to your questions, then compare answers to your expectations. This will help narrow down your options and help you decide on the best service provider for your loved one.
Find service providers in your area using the Find Services, Groups and Events function. You can also call 2-1-1 or visit 211texas.org for statewide programs & services information.