Remote Possibilities

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   Paul Hines, 52, lived in a variety of settings before moving into his own one-bedroom apartment several years ago. Most of the time, each home setting also meant round-the-clock staff occupying his home. So when Paul, who loves living alone, approached his ISC Kristi Dexter about the possibility of not having staff in his home in the evenings, Kristi and Paul’s support team turned to a newer trend, remote home monitoring.

   Approximately 8 people supported by Fairfield DD are using some form of remote monitoring which includes a wide-range of electronic devices that can replace a home health worker in certain circumstances.

   In Paul’s case, two cameras are installed in his home—one in the family room and one in the kitchen, in addition to an interactive monitor that connects him to his remote monitoring service. On the other end of the monitor are employees who know Paul and can converse with him remotely.

   “These systems are custom-built and tailored for each individual,” Dexter said. “With Paul, there are sensors on his front door and on a kitchen appliance that notifies the monitoring agency whenever activated. His service is active from 7 pm each evening until noon the next day. During that time, no staff is in his apartment.”

   “I like it,” Paul said. “It means no one has to be here at night. If I hurt myself they call me. It’s working good. If someone comes to my door, they call me. Like if a stranger comes in. They call me.”

   He said the cameras in the home do not bother him and Dexter confirms that the staff of the monitoring system are familiar with Paul’s support plan and the people who visit him. They even attend Paul’s support team meetings.

   This type of technology is an example of why Governor Kasich recently signed an order making Ohio a Technology First State. Under the order, supportive technology will be prioritized when evaluating a person's needs. The order creates a 10-member Ohio Technology First Council that will make recommendations for better incorporating technology to assist individuals with disabilities. As of 2017, approximately 170 people in Ohio with developmental disabilities were utilizing remote monitoring, but the Governor would like to see that number rise to closer to 600.
   As for the finances, Paul has a waiver that covers the expense of the monitoring system. The only additional cost to him was the installation of internet service in his apartment.
   “Paul is pretty happy that he only has staff in his home for 7 1/2 hours a day,” Dexter said. “The sense of independence is important to him.”
   “I can be by myself,” Paul said. “Have my privacy.”
   Paul, an avid Ohio State fan who has decorated his home in OSU memorabilia, feels pretty strongly about his independence. This fall, he will take his first trip to the ocean with money he has been saving for two years.
   “I did it all by myself,” he said.
Note: Paul uses a remote monitoring system by Wynn-Reeth, www.wynn-reeth.com.