TRPIL Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Information FAQs

What Does "Independent Living" Mean?

Independent living means freedom to choose a home, a community, and a lifestyle that is reflective of what I want. Independent living also means I can try to achieve the goals I have set for myself, with support if I need it.

Both of these things take determination, organization, effective use of available resources and opportunities, and a sense of humor to make them happen!

Please see our Independent Living Philosophy page for more info.

Why Does TRPIL Make Such a Fuss About Lack of Access?

TRPIL is owned and operated by people with disabilities.

We take “lack of access” personally, as an insult and as an injustice.

Also, what one person calls “making a fuss”, we call “advocacy” and “standing up for our civil rights.”

Getting attention engages and educates the entire community in equal access issues. For example, many people never consider if a bathroom is accessible to someone who uses a wheelchair or has a visual impairment. A single step can block someone to entering a business, recreational facility, or home.

We want to involve the media, local businesses, our political representatives, and our neighbors in improving access and independence for everyone.

Why Should I Become a Member?

For $2 yearly, you can become a member of Transitional Paths to Independent Living.

Your membership means that you are a part of TRPIL’s mission to affirm liberty and justice for all people with disabilities.

You will receive:

  • Mailings, e-mails, and/or phone calls about TRPIL’s advocacy activities at the local, state, and national levels;
  • Notifications of the latest positive or negative developments which effect the disability community;
  • Membership meeting schedules;
  • Invitations to TRPIL’s membership activities — like adaptive horseback riding and bowling;
  • Information on TRPIL’s fundraising events — like Paint ‘n Sips, Trivia nights, and sponsored luncheons; and
  • Invitations to join task forces on issues that matter to you! (Examples include transportation and emergency preparedness.)

Please see our Membership and Current Issues pages for more information.

Does TRPIL Offer Residential Facilities?

No.

TRPIL does not offer residential facilities or programs.

It is our goal for people with disabilities to live in the most integrated setting possible as active members of a community. To support this goal, personal assistance and other services are available through various programs.

People should live where they want, how they want, and in what manner they want as part of their community.

I Have Some Old Computer/Medical Equipment... Can I Give It to TRPIL?

Yes, we accept donations in good working order and redistribute them to those that need them in the community.

Donations are usually tax deductible, so please be sure we have your name and address to issue a “thank you” receipt.

Please contact Doug Bonnette at 724.223.5115 for more on how to donate equipment.

See our Donations page for cash donations.

Services FAQs

Does TRPIL Community Services Offer Attendant Care?

YES!

TRPIL Community Services is one of many agencies that provide attendant care.

Having personal experiences with disabilities, our staff have the ability to connect with consumers on a very personal level.

You treated with dignity and respect, with the knowledge that you control your own life. You are not simply a number in a file somewhere. TRPIL Community Services values training for consumer and attendant alike, and we make it available to you.

You and your attendant will have access to:

  • An extensive menu of training options;
  • Opportunities to engage with others who may share you experience;
  • Member programs, activities and events;
  • Education on assistive technologies; and
  • A more fulfilling life in your community.

 

See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

How Do I Get Out of a Nursing Home?

Start with the understanding that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Our volunteer and staff Nursing Home Transition (NHT) workers have helped many people with complicated disabilities and reluctant family members to find freedom in the community again.

Even those people who have been confined for many years in nursing homes can get out with the use of assistive technology, accessible housing, and personal assistance.

Links

Hiring a Direct Care Worker FAQs

How Do You Recruit Direct Care Workers, and What are Your Hiring Requirements?

Recruitment

TRPIL Community Services finds most of our attendants by working directly with individuals who need attendants and have a source to pay for those services, such as Medicaid under one of the community based waivers. These individuals often have neighbors, family or friends who could provide regular attendant care but need a wage income to support their own household. When these individuals need more help finding someone, TRPIL hires via walk-in applicants, newspaper advertisement, CareerLink job placement services, and community career expos.

 

Hiring Requirements

The Department of Health has requirements that direct care workers must meet under Pennsylvania law that we must follow. Applicants must be 18 years of age, a US citizen, possess basic reading and math skills, submit to and pass a Pennsylvania Criminal Background, Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance, FBI Clearance (when applicable), regular required health screenings and department required trainings.

 

See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

Do You Do Criminal Background Checks on Prospective Direct Care Workers? How About Drug Screening?

Yes, the Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check, Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance and FBI Background Checks (when applicable) are completed on all applicants prior to being hired by TRPIL Community Services.

If the background check results in a finding, there are still ways to qualify a potential worker. Applicants can be determined eligible for employment consideration if that individual can demonstrate rehabilitation by evidence of a minimum five-year aggregate work history in care-dependent services, without incident from either the date of conviction or release from incarceration, whichever is later. Applicants are responsible for providing official verification of such dates. Care-dependent services include healthcare, eldercare, childcare, mental health, mental retardation, or care of the disabled. The court’s ruling in no way prohibits a facility from refusing to employ an individual, even one who has a clean aggregate five-year work history, based on information obtained in a criminal history report. Reference: Older Adults Protective Services Act – Criminal Backgrounds Check Provisions Nixon v. Commonwealth of PA, et al., 2003 LEXIS 2604 (12/30/2003).

Are Direct Care Workers certified in CPR, or do they have any health-related training?

TRPIL Community Services provides 16 hours of training to all newly hired Direct Care Workers and 8 hours of annual training to all active direct care workers. Newly hired direct care workers also receive additional individualized hands on training in the home of individuals receiving services. Although it is not required, TRPIL offers optional Certified American Red Cross CPR/First Aid training to all direct care workers. There is a small fee that Red Cross charges the trainee to receive the certification card that is available upon successful completion.

See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

Are the Aides Insured and Bonded through Your Agency??

Direct care worker are bonded and are covered under the agency insurance policy.

What competencies are expected of the aides? Lifting and transfers? Personal care skills (bathing, dressing, toileting)? Training in behavioral management, cognitive support?

Direct care workers are required to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

  • HIPAA and Confidentiality
  • OSHA, Blood borne Pathogen, Basic Infection Control
  • Understanding Department Issued Policies, Procedures, and Agency Quality Management
  • Professionalism
  • Maintaining Consumer Boundaries
  • Consumer Choice and the Independent Living Philosophy
  • Observation, Reporting, and Documentation
  • Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
  • Medical Emergencies and Emergency Preparedness
  • Nutrition and Meal Preparation
  • Assistance with Self-Administered Medication
  • Assisting People with Behavioral Health Issues
  • ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living)/IADL’s (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living)
  • Back Anatomy, Transferring, and Proper Body Mechanics
  • Practical Skills Assessment
  • Assistive Devices and Technology

 

See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

How do you assess what the attendant is capable of doing?

Direct Care Workers are evaluated by written exams, hands on practical assessment, and consumer evaluation. Remedial training is provided as needed.

See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

What is your policy on providing a substitute direct care worker in the event a regular direct care worker cannot perform the services in your contract?

TRPIL Community Services has a registry of 400 local direct care workers currently working that is used as a reference to find a replacement worker as substitutes. Consumers are encouraged to have an informal network that they can call on in an emergency. In a crisis situation, we will send fully qualified office staff to provide priority care for needs that cannot wait.

If there is dissatisfaction with a particular attendant, can he or she be replaced without cause?

Yes, at any time the individual can request a new direct care worker and the office staff will work with that individual to find a direct care worker that is suitable. We are looking for the right “fit” between the care giver and the consumer of the service. Individual program participants are also asked to help with the annual evaluation of the direct care worker and assists in awarding a merit wage increase.

Does the agency provide a supervisor who is responsible for regularly evaluating the quality of home care?

Yes, TRPIL Community Services program staff evaluates the direct care worker on specific program and agency requirements then the consumer will access the performance of the direct care worker on the day to day tasks provided to them by the direct care worker. One page of the performance evaluation is given to the program consumer to grade the performance of the direct care worker.

TRPIL has contracts with RN’s, physical therapists, and occupational therapists for consultation and supervision, as appropriate.

As part of our Quality Assurance Plan, TRPIL has an Independent Living Specialist that contact’s a random sampling of consumer’s weekly by telephone to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. This survey gathers information about the performance of the office support staff and the direct care worker. The results of the survey and reported quarterly to the Quality Management Team for review of policy, procedures, and staff performance.

Does the supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in person at the home of the consumer?
We use all three types of supervision. The supervision of the direct care worker occurs over the phone, through review of progress reports and documentation by the direct care worker themselves, consumer input through satisfaction surveys, and both announced and unannounced visits at the consumer’s home. Supervision notes problem areas for more training and more onsite supervision.

TRPIL YWCA Capital Campaign FAQs

What is the Purpose of TRPIL's Capital Campaign?

The TRPIL Capital Campaign is a community-based effort to raise funds for the renovation of the former YWCA Headquarters Building in Washington PA.

Why Should the Community Support TRPIL's New Headquarters?

The “Y” has been an asset to our region for decades and many have fond memories of attending concerts, dances, plays, and other events.

TRPIL intends to share the building with area residents — the auditorium and stage area, gym, meeting rooms and exercise facilities will be available for community use.

We intend for the “Y” to once again assume a central role in our community.

How Can the Community Help?

We invite all community members to donate to the Capital Campaign.

You will help your friends, family, and neighbors help themselves, and get a great return on your tax-deductible investment in our community.

Why Do You Need a New Headquarters in Washington?

As TRPIL has grown, we have found that our current office building does not suit our needs as well as it did in the past. It is challenging to put together organization-wide meetings and events due to space limitations. Furthermore, we are currently working in three different offices in Washington.

Once we move into the former YWCA, our space will increase dramatically: not only will we have a great deal more office space, but the auditorium will allow us to effortlessly hold company-wide meetings.

Our plan for the former YWCA involves making the building as immediately accessible as possible. We are installing a porte-cochere (or “carriage porch”) addition to the parking lot to ensure instant covered ingress to the building. From there, everyone will have instant access to our custom elevator, which is built to carry up to three wheelchairs at the same time, which will enable swift and accessible travel to all four levels of the building. One centralized, universally accessible area in the center of the City of Washington will enable better contact with our consumers and greater synergy between our services.

It will truly be the downtown community center that Washington has needed for a long time.

When Are You Moving Into the Y Building?

Many modifications and renovations are necessary before we can move in. Construction is starting in 2017 and is estimated to take at least 18 months: at this time, we are waiting on our bids to be re-bid, as the first round came back higher than expected.

We are currently planning to move into the former YWCA Building in the summer of 2018. Keep an eye on this section – we’ll keep you informed as to what’s going on!

Is TRPIL Re-Opening the YWCA Pool?

No.

The liability issues for re-opening the pool for swimming again are too risky for TRPIL to do. However, we are not altering the room entirely: the pool room is integral to the building’s structure. We are planning on using the space provided: for instance, our internal electrical and plumbing systems will be housed in the pool room.

We know that many of you have fond memories of the pool. But here will be other spots in the renovated building to make new memories.

Have Another Question?

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