Important Information Regarding Friendship Community’s Philosophy of Care

First of all, we are honored that you have chosen Friendship Community to provide support to your loved one. There are many fine providers in Pennsylvania who serve people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Thank you for your trust.

Friendship Community believes everyone, regardless of ability, is created in God’s image and therefore deserves respect, dignity and affirmation of their gifts. We strive to provide opportunities for people to use their abilities in ways that honor God and portray themselves in a positive light.

We believe the people we support are adults despite what their mental age on an IQ test might indicate. They have a lifetime of experience which is respected and honored.

We believe everyone is able to make choices to varying degrees and we will learn to know each person’s capacity for choosing, sometimes challenging them to go further in thinking for themselves and making their own decisions. This might be as simple as choosing which outfit to wear or as complex as health care decisions. It depends on the person.

There are times when you will be challenged as you see your family member doing things they never did before. This is not an indictment of what you have done or how you have cared for them. Rather, it is a natural progression and growth that happens for all of us when we leave the nest and go off on our own. It is cause for celebration!

Your loved one is about to leave home. They need your support, love and encouragement during this time of change and transition. They might need some space as they adapt and establish new routines and relationships. It’s important to find ways of relating that demonstrate your continuing love and support as they navigate this important transition. It looks different for different people. Some need to see you and be assured you are still around. Others benefit if there is a period of minimal contact as they adjust. Stay flexible and communicate with the Program Supervisor regarding what is happening and how to best interact.

Good communication is vital to the success of our relationship with you and your family member. The Program Supervisor is your primary contact for day to day questions and activities. There will be times when issues need to be addressed that may be uncomfortable. It’s important that both sides raise the concern quickly so that it can be resolved in a timely fashion.

Finally, we desire to serve well and need your partnership to succeed. Our focus is the well being of your loved one; to cultivate their capabilities, thus Impacting the World with Capabilities!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be allowed to visit my family member after they are admitted to Friendship Community?
Yes. Although the frequency of visits and contacts varies due to the variety of circumstances which families experience, continued relationships with family are important.

Will my family member be able to continue with their current network of healthcare providers?
Generally speaking, yes so long as providers are within a reasonable distance of the home. Our regulations require specific documentation related to healthcare and providers need to be willing to work with those requirements.

Are family members permitted to attend medical appointments involving their family member?
Friendship Community is mandated by regulations to ensure that those in our care receive excellent medical care. Due to scheduling issues, privacy, the importance of clear and consistent communication with the healthcare provider and the need to secure proper documentation, it is not always possible, nor is it often desirable, for family members to attend medical appointments.

How does Friendship Community keep families informed of medical concerns?
Friendship Community is committed to good communication with families in all facets of our relationship. We understand that healthcare is important and different families have different expectations regarding the level of communication they desire. Please let us know the type and level of communication you desire concerning your family member’s medical care and we will provide it.

With whom do I communicate if there are issues with Direct Support Professionals, household routines, community outings or other concerns with the care given to my loved one?
The first person to contact regarding any concerns related to the Direct Support Professionals or the care being provided to your loved one is the Program Supervisor of the home. If that contact is not satisfactory, notify the Program Coordinator, then the Director of Residential Services. Other resources include the MR Supports Coordinator or The Arc.

Can I have a copy of the monthly staff schedule for the house?
This information is not provided to families. It is Friendship Community’s responsibility to ensure the house is adequately staffed.

I am concerned about the quality of the food which will be available to my loved one. How are menus monitored?
Menus are posted in the kitchen where they are open to review to families. Government regulations require that three meals are provided daily which meet established nutritional guidelines. Food is home cooked and the use of prepared and packaged food is kept to a minimum.

My loved one loves to eat; it is one of his/her few pleasures in life. Are there restrictions on how much they may eat?
Friendship Community is committed to the health and well being of those entrusted to our care. Therefore, we provide healthy meals and snacks based on the person’s overall health. Dietary restrictions ordered by a physician are followed.

I hope my loved one can remain at Friendship Community for the rest of their life.
Friendship Community is committed to serving people and providing them with opportunities to live a full, meaningful, healthy life in their community. We do not have the resources to provide skilled nursing care in any of our settings. There may also be occasions when someone’s behaviors pose a threat to themselves or others in the home which necessitates transfer to a different provider. When these situations arise, we will work with the family and MR Supports Coordinator to ensure the person receives the care they need.

How many staff will be working at any given time?
Staffing ratios vary from home to home and are based on the needs of the people living in a given home. Some homes have a 1:1 staff ratio while others provide 1 staff for three or even four people. There are homes which provide awake staff coverage overnight while others ensure someone is in the home, though they may be asleep.

How much does it cost for admission to Friendship Community?
There are no admission fees if one is eligible for and receiving government funding for support. There may be admission fees for private pay services.

How are the costs associated with care covered?
Your tax dollars fund most of the services provided by Friendship Community. If your loved one is preparing to move into a government funded home, there is no cost to you. Expenses are paid through contracts with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Your family member will pay 72% of their monthly Social Security benefit to Friendship Community which covers a portion of their Room & Board.

Who will oversee my loved one’s finances?
You have the option to continue as Representative Payee for his/her Social Security and manage his/her finances or to assign that responsibility to Friendship Community. If you choose to assign the responsibility to us, we will establish a checking account for your loved one. A set amount of cash will be kept in the home where access is strictly controlled and monitored by the Program Supervisor. Fiscal staff from the office also monitor both checking and cash accounts regularly as does the MR Supports Coordinator.

Will my family member be able to continue attending church services on a regular basis?
Yes, Friendship Community, as a faith based organization, is committed to ensuring that people get to worship services on a regular basis. There are several churches with whom we have developed a positive relationship over the years who welcome people into their midst and celebrate their gifts.

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