COA helps Ohio lead the nation in transitioning people from nursing homes to own homes

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Many people in nursing homes are unable to leave simply because they have nowhere to go. Their greatest desire may be to return to the community so – with help – they can live independently again.

Ohio is a national leader in making that dream come true.  It’s done through a program called HOME Choice. Since its beginning in 2008, Ohio’s HOME Choice program has successfully helped nearly 6,800 people leave nursing facilities, find new homes (or adapt their existing home), and move back into the community.  Ohio ranks second only to Texas in number of successful transitions. The number of transitions is expected to reach 7,300 by the end of the 2015, according to a recent Home Choice Bulletin.

Funded through a federal grant, HOME Choice helps people of any age with any type of disability to move from a long-term care facility (like a nursing home, hospital, or residential treatment facility) into a home or community-based setting.

Home Choice
Gregory, shown here with his partner Kathy, is one of many success stories who have transitioned home through COA and the HOME Choice program. You can click here to read his story on page 8 of our 2014 Annual Report. 

HOME Choice is administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Council on Aging (COA) helps identify and enroll eligible participants and connect them to in-home care services if they are eligible.  Home Choice is a collaborative program involving a number of organizations in addition to COA, such as Easter Seals of the TriState and the Center for Independent Living Options. 

The program is part of COA’s Transitional Care Department, managed by Danielle Amrine. COA has two Transitions Coordinators who work with potential clients in long-term care facilities: Mary Beth Butterbaugh and Amy McGlone.

Though COA’s Community Transitions program, Home Choice has made a life-changing difference for many people.  

From January through July of this year, COA assessed 229 individuals for services that would help them leave nursing facility and return to living independently in the community. 

  • Of these people, 122 were age 60 or older and 107 were under the age of 60, demonstrating the high number of younger people who are in nursing homes today.
  • The assessments provided by COA this year have resulted in 75 successful transitions in to the community with an additional 70 individuals who are still in the transition process.

Many of those who complete a successful transition receive in-home care services through a Medicaid waiver program as such as PASSPORT, MyCare Ohio, or Ohio Home Care Waiver.

“The state-wide success of the program begins locally with a compassionate approach and willingness to collaborate,” said COA Transitional Care Manager Danielle Amrine. “While it’s great to play a part in reaching milestones, our staff are committed to helping to make sure every possible transition is successful for the individual and their families.”

Home and community-based care is not only compassionate, it’s also cost-effective. Home care averages $1,100 a month compared to $4,800 for care in a Medicaid nursing facility.