Remote Supports: A path to independence and autonomy

When you hear the term remote monitoring services, what do you think of? Cameras? Robots? Big Brother? While remote monitoring services cover a variety of tech and non-tech tools, it is anything but science fiction. Remote supports provide individuals more freedom and independence, while maintaining safety.

Summit DD, along with three local companies, held a free informational session on remote monitoring services (RMS) for parents and caregivers. The purpose of the informational session was to help parents and caregivers understand some of the non-traditional service options available to them. RMS uses a person-centered approach that promotes autonomy and security.

Promoting Privacy and Independence

“We believe there are a lot of folks that can benefit from remote supports and remote monitoring,” shared Holly Brugh, Summit DD’s Director of Services and Supports. “This could be a great option for teens and young adults who are graduating.”

She shared that this particular age group is used to more autonomy than previous generations. “If we use this opportunity to set them up to be independent from the start, we can avoid some of the issues that have happened with individuals and staff in the past,” Brugh said, referring to the challenges that some families have faced in finding or keeping in-home providers.

Remote monitoring can be an option for someone who wants more independence or privacy. RMS can include equipment for the home that connects a person with a disability to a remote call center through technology, such as cameras or audio equipment.

Remote Monitoring Tools

Did you know that remote monitoring services go beyond cameras and audio equipment? RMS can also include minimally invasive tools or tech such as shut off valves, apps and sensors. That’s the beauty of RMS. There are a variety of tools and equipment at your disposal. Which tools you use are entirely up to you, and determined by your goals and comfort level. When you are ready, remote monitoring providers work with you and your team to implement only the solutions that are right for you.

“We use technology to see what is happening, but it is not a ‘Big Brother’ situation,” explained Jarrod Hunt of Wynn-Reeth, Inc. “We are in a world that continues to be more technologically-advanced every day – why wouldn’t direct care providers do that too? Tech can evolve and change with their needs. We want to help people to be independent. We want to set people up to be successful. [Remote monitoring] is meant to provide individuals with more freedom, more independence and more privacy.”

It’s important to note that remote monitoring staff are also trained direct care staff (DCS). They have the knowledge of ISPs and other special needs that individuals with disabilities may have. They monitor the tools to ensure safety or offer assistance, if needed.

Person-Centered Approach

Summit DD’s Director of Community Supports and Development, Drew Williams is also a proponent of RMS. He talked about the services as they relate to a person’s ISP. “Each remote supports service company uses a person-centered process to figure out the best approach for each individual,” he explained. Williams also noted another benefit of RMS. “There’s been talk about a possible future direct care staff shortage – Remote monitoring services can better utilize direct care staff for day time shifts and use the remote monitoring shifts for nights or weekends. There’s a lot of flexibility in what’s possible.”

For those who may be interested, but still unsure, Josh Barrentine of Total Homecare Solutions says, “Based on a person’s need, they can be immediately transitioned into RMS, or they can be gradually transitioned.” Barrentine pointed out that in some instances, technology can be even more effective than staff. He noted that tech solutions can record important information such as, exact dates and times of incidents if they occur.

“Remote monitoring services protects people,” Ken Smith of Rest Assured added.  “It gives them peace of mind that someone is there, if they need someone.”

Learn more

Interested in RMS for yourself or a loved one? Contact your SSA or RSS to discuss RMS options or set up an appointment with a RMS provider.

Take a Virtual Tour

Want to see how tech can play a role in your support plan? Check out this interactive virtual tour on DODD’s site.

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