Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#163 - Am I Certifiable?

Please note that I am not talking about being insane, although I suppose a strong case for insanity could be made for anyone who puts themselves through the process I am about to describe.

We are in the midst of trying to acquire Certified Family Home (CFH) status for our now 18-year old son in order to be able to get and provide him with the services that we hope will help him to one day live a more independent life. I say “in the midst” rather than “in the middle” because I honestly have no idea how far into the process we are or how close we are to the finish line. I suspect no one else involved (particularly the powers that be) knows either.

For the most part, I have been a spectator on this crawl to certification, mainly providing moral support and encouragement to Teresa as she tries to maneuver the maze of bureaucracy and jumps through the numerous hoops required to reach the finish line. One of the more daunting of those is the paperwork required in order to become a Certified Family Home, followed closely by repeated demands for documentation of our son’s status, documentation the state of Idaho has now received in roughly the same form and number of pages perhaps half a dozen times, most if not all of them sent to the same state agency. To be fair, we began maneuvering through this  paperwork jungle even before trying for CFH status.

As for the requirements I think are specific to CFH certification, one of the strangest to me (at least on the surface) was the requirement that we have a dryer. Prior to this, we had not seen the need to own a dryer during our ten-plus years in Idaho, primarily because Idaho is a desert with low humidity, meaning clothing air dries fairly quickly, even in winter. Apparently that is not fast enough for the state, or else they have some sort of agreement with the various appliance retailers in Idaho. I’m sure there must be a rational reason for requiring a dryer, but it has never been made clear to me.

Other requirements:
·         Smoke alarms (and according to at least one HVAC technician, Carbon Monoxide detectors) in every room where sleeping does or can take place (i.e., there’s a bed or something that can be made into a bed)
·         A 5 LB. fire extinguisher, wall-mounted, located somewhere near the kitchen
·         An electrical inspection
·         Fingerprinting and Criminal background checks
·         CPR and First Aid training
·         Passage of a class in assisting with medications
·         Doctor’s written approval of all of the resident’s (our son in this case) medications, including over-the-counter meds
·         Storage of said medications (including over-the-counter) under lock and key in their original containers (not sure how that applies if the resident does not need assistance with medications)

There are also requirements for the minimum amount of sleeping space a resident can have, along with a requirement for a minimum amount of spending cash (if the resident receives Supplemental Security Income, in which case they also cannot keep too much cash on hand). I’m sure I’ve left plenty of other requirements out.

These requirements apply whether the resident on whose behalf certification is sought is a family member or someone you contract to bring into the home. I think that may be part of the problem or reason behind the seemingly massive amount of paperwork and the numerous regulations. From the outside looking in, as it were, I’m not sure such a one regulatory size fits all approach is the most efficient way to go about this, thought I certainly could be wrong.

Deep down, I'm sure there are good reasons for the numerous rules and regulations surrounding acquisition of CFH status. I know that, above all, the rights and the needs of the person receiving care must be protected. At this point, however, all I know is that we are somewhere along the journey with no apparent end in sight. I also feel like I'm taking part in and witnessing a circus, only it lacks the fun and excitement (and maybe the clowns) of the real thing. Are we crazy or what?

No comments: