Courage Center Independent Living Skills (ILS) services strengthen clients’ skills in the areas of managing their own affairs, participating in day-to-day life in the community and making decisions that lead to self-determination.
An ILS specialist meets clients in their homes and/or other locations to provide education, training and support until all goals are met. ILS services are offered throughout the Metro area. The time spent with the specialist varies from client to client, and typically decreases as personal goals are achieved. ILS specialists are knowledgeable about a variety of community resources and are experts at teaching clients how to advocate for themselves. Skills addressed may include:
Household management and organization
Interpersonal skills and communication
Leisure and recreation
Meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking
Memory compensation strategies
In 2011, 611 clients were served through ILS. Data collection was completed on 513 of these clients being seen in November of 2011.
56% female, 44% male
60% were between 45 and 64 years old
32% reported brain injury as their primary diagnosis
28% were ILS clients for one year, 13% for two years, 10% for three years and 49% were seen for more than 3 years. The longest period of service was 20 years.
While the diagnostic groups vary, those clients in ILS included the following: 32% had a brain injury, 13% mental health disorder, 12% congenital diagnosis, 8% stroke, 4% musculoskeletal, 4% degenerative, 3% neurological, 3% endocrine or metabolic, 2% seizure, 2% fibromyalgia, 2% spinal bifida, 2% arthritis, 2% autism, and 9% other.
The length of ILS services varies depending on each client’s needs. As displayed in the above graph, length of services ranged from one year to 20 years. One year is the most common length of receiving ILS services.
Various outcomes are collected and evaluated from ILS clients. Longitudinal data collected includes:
- Community participation
- Purposeful activity
- Quality of life
- Level of service
Finding and maintaining housing for many ILS clients is a major challenge, especially for those with an acquired brain injury or mental health disabilities. Many clients enter ILS either without housing, or in housing that is not affordable, accessible, or that does not have appropriate supports. A goal of the program is to help clients find and maintain housing that fulfills all three of those criteria, as well as housing that is in a preferred neighborhood. Changes in housing can take an extended period of time because of the need for subsidized, accessible housing, which often has waiting lists.
- At admission, 49% of clients reported being in affordable and accessible housing with appropriate supports.
- After 1 year of receiving ILS services, 71% of clients were in housing that affordable, accessible and had appropriate supports.
- After 2 years of ILS services, 76% of clients were in housing that affordable, accessible and had appropriate supports.
- After 3 years of ILS services, 83% of clients were in housing that affordable, accessible and had appropriate supports.
- At admission, 28% of clients were at risk of losing their housing or were homeless.
- After 1 year of ILS services this decreased to 17% of clients were at risk of losing their housing or were homeless.
- After 2 years of services it was reduced to only 7% of clients were at risk of losing their housing or were homeless.
Involvement in the program encourages participation in the community on an ongoing basis. After receiving ILS services for a year the number of clients participating in the community 2 or more times a week rose by 27%. After two years of services it rose by 24% and after three years of ILS services it rose by 38%.
In addition to community participation there is an increase in purposeful activity in the first year of the program. Purposeful activity could include school, work or volunteer activities occurring two or more times a week. Following one year involvement with the ILS Program, 11% more clients were engaged with purposeful activities. At the two year point, 15% more clients reported purposeful activity and after three years of ILS services 19% more clients report purposeful activity two or more times a week.
Quality of Life
As housing, purposeful activity, and community participation improve so does the clients’ assessment of their quality of life. Quality of life is impacted by the provision of services.
- At admission, on average, 33% report quality of life as good or excellent and a year later this increases to 48%.
- By the end of three years of ILS services 54% report good or excellent quality of life.
As other areas in the clients’ lives improve, on average their need for services decreases. After one year the level of services for many clients decreased as 36% of clients require less than one hour of program service a week versus 9% at admission.
Access to medical care, medication and the availability of transportation were important gains clients made as a result of services through ILS.
- 38% of clients did not have consistent access to medical care at admission versus 0% after one year.
- At admission 23% of clients did not have consistent access to medications and this decreased to 7% following one year of services.
Transportation can be a critical issue for an individual with a disability.
- Those reporting barriers to accessing transportation were 61% at admission and 20% at the end of one year of services.
Other common problems areas include availability of food resources and the client’s ability to manage financial resources and pay bills.
- At admission, 35% reported having difficulties accessing and consistently having food available.
- At one year of services this decreased to 19%.
Managing financial resources is an important area of life and one in which can impact a persons’ ability to live independently and in maintaining a homes’ stability. Clients receive assistance with managing their finances through ILS.
- At admission 49% of clients reported having difficulty paying bills.
- One year later this had decreased to 23% of clients having difficulty, and at the end of the third year of service, this had decreased to 16%.
Individuals with disabilities are often a vulnerable population affected by crime. Approximately 5% of clients report being victims of crime. During their first year of participating in the ILS Program 3% reported having contact with the criminal justice system.
Assisting in creating and achieving each individual’s goals is an important part of the ILS Program.
- After one year in the ILS Program 84% of clients reported having made at least 50% progress toward their goals.
- At the two year mark that had increased to 93%.
For more information on outcomes, please call 763-520-0763 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about ILS services, please call 763-520-0316.