What is Pathways Step2?
While Pathways to Care Assisted Living Facility (ALF) is focused on healing for a resident, the objective of Pathways Step2 is to support residents while they learn how to live with and manage chronic medical issues as independently as possible. In December 2015, Pathways to Care opened Pathways Step2 to support residents who were ready to move to more independent living. Many are learning to manage chronic medical conditions or dealing with life altering interventions such as dialysis or diabetes. Others may be learning how to perform daily tasks with a recent amputation or how to operate medical equipment such as an oxygen concentrator and mask. In 2016, we found that residents capable of working also benefited from Step2, so an employment track was added to the program.
To accomplish this, case managers work closely with Pathways Step2 residents in the following ways
Management of chronic illness/disability
Under the guidance of the resident’s physician’s instructions, Pathways Step2 staff help residents learn how to manage their chronic illness in a variety of ways such as: through independent medication education and management, changes in nutrition requirements or restrictions, how to properly operate medical devices such as oxygen masks/concentrators, wheelchairs, and more. Clinical staff also provide education on how to control high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Navigation of benefits system(s)
Case managers help residents navigate through the Social Security system to finalize their disability income applications and handle appeals and/or connect the resident with a qualified disability specialist when needed. Case managers also assist residents in applying for other mainstream benefits such as food stamps, ACCESS Lynx, and health insurance options.
Connection with community resources
Residents are taught how to use the public transportation system to travel to medical and benefits appointments. Bus passes are often provided, and residents are connected to public transportation options designed for those with physical impairments. When available, the Pathways to Care transportation vehicles are utilized. Case managers continue to assist residents in seeking community resources to meet their needs as outlined in their individualized plans.
Life After Pathways Step2
Pathways Step2 staff work with the resident to choose and secure the most appropriate permanent housing solution for their situation once they are ready to leave Pathways Step2. As with an exit from Pathways to Care, this housing could be independent living in an apartment, shared living with family or friends, a long-term medical facility, group housing, VA housing, etc.
Residents are taught how to budget their expenses, run their credit reports, pay off bad debt and manage their disability income in order to have a greater chance of qualifying for housing. Staff also guide residents on how to properly care for and clean their living areas and other life skills needed to live as independently as possible with their disability. Those who are not disabled are assisted with job applications, interview preparation and other employment seeking tasks.