High Acuity Support in Wisconsin

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Jan 25
Tony Baisley, Communications Manager
Dungarvin National Central Office

This year, Dungarvin is scheduled to open a new program that will better support the needs of Wisconsin communities. Early this year, Dungarvin will introduce a High Acuity program in Dane County. High Acuity individuals are persons who have been identified as needing specialized housing and supports. The supports needed are often intense in nature due to the behavioral challenges these individuals experience. Homes for High Acuity individuals are usually modified to allow the individual supported to live in community yet still have the personal space to work through their behavioral challenges. Often, individuals with these needs come directly from a family home, where their family members can no longer assist with their behaviors, or sometimes from mental health institutes, where they may be mentally stable but not behaviorally stable, or from other placements where providers can no longer safely support them.

Each individual in these programs have Behavior Support Plans detailed to that person’s individual needs. “Dungarvin’s philosophy is to support individuals in their homes from staff who receive a tremendous amount of training on both the Behavior Support Plan as well as any diagnoses of each person,” says Stephen Good, Dungarvin Area Director. “We seek first to understand the Support Plans to identify each individual’s unique needs. This is accomplished in the least restrictive manner using verbal de-escalation, body positioning, and other trained response techniques that do not rely on physical interventions,” offers Francie Tuescher, State Director (WI).

Homes for individuals with behavioral challenges can present physical differences from other residential services. While the environment is first and foremost the individual’s home, certain safety measures are put in place for that person’s protection and well-being. Examples might include protective coverings for windows, televisions, and other easily breakable household items. Magnetic door locks may be appropriate to assist with behaviors like a history of elopement or running away.

“The need for these supports has grown over the years,” believes Karin Stockwell, Central Regional Director. “There are individuals who have intense behavior challenges who can live – and thrive – in the community, with the right amount of support. Our first priority is to ensure that the individual has the opportunity to live and experience his/her community like anyone else. Over time, we have seen individuals experience tremendous success, moving into a ‘step-down program.’ This can mean living in apartments or homes with less staff and modifications when individuals are doing extremely well. Such success is only realized through hard work and the partnership of staff and the individuals supported.”

In the Chippewa Valley area, Dungarvin Wisconsin offers a crisis home that serves four individuals. Coming to Dane County in early 2024 will be a High Acuity program supporting two more individuals with similar needs. “Our goal is to stabilize individuals, working towards less restrictive measures and settings with positive supports,” says Stockwell. “We meet the individual where they are, working with and alongside them understanding their unique talents and needs. At Dungarvin, we seek to understand the individual behavioral responses building more positive replacement responses to stresses and life experiences.”

If you are a current resident of Wisconsin and are interested in these services please contact our Area Director of Development, Tom DuBois at (920) 980-2177 or tdubois@dungarvin.com.

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