DOM Care program offers safe, family-like setting for adults unable to live alone

By Gina Mazza

Everyone wants to feel comfortable, welcomed and well cared for in their home—regardless of who’s home it is. That’s why the Domiciliary Care program is a good alternative to personal care homes for those who are unable to live alone but still want their independence.

Provided locally through the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Area Agency on Aging (AAA), DOM Care offers a safe, supportive atmosphere for adults who are independently mobile or semi-mobile, but cannot live independently, by carefully matching them with families who are willing to open their hearts and homes. 

“DOM Care is a great resource for housing in addition to, or in place of, personal care homes,” comments Brian Heywood, Care Management Supervisor for AAA. “And while it’s not intended to be a place where long-term (nursing) care occurs, we have individuals who have been in the program for decades. Their DOM care providers are truly their families.”

Because Dom Care providers can care for no more than three people at any given time, individualized attention is able to be given to each resident. “The DOM provider does not have guardianship or authority over the residents; the care manager and provider assist the resident in achieving their Care Plan Goals,” Brian says. “DOM Care residents, in many cases, are individuals who have their own lives and they go about living them in this home setting. Some work jobs, or volunteer, or attend activities and social programs in the community.”

Program Eligibility

To be eligible for the program, adult residents must be:

• age 18 or older
• unable to live alone
• independently mobile or semi-mobile
• in need of supervision or assistance with activities
  of daily living
• willing to live with a family

“More specifically, an individual who qualifies for Domiciliary Care services may have a physical or intellectual disability, mental health diagnosis, or be a frail older adult,” Brian explains. “Once qualified, the person is assessed by one of our care managers to determine the level of care needed. In every case, the resident is provided with round-the-clock supervision, including care in emergencies.”

Once a Dom Care home is found that best meets a person’s needs—including interests and preferences using a very individualized matching process—a visit is made to the home, and a trial stay is completed prior to beginning residence. The care manager, Domiciliary Care provider and resident work together through ongoing care management to ensure a safe, supportive and stable living arrangement. There is often additional service coordination and support available if individuals are served by other community organizations such as WPIC or CLASS, who support individuals with mental health or intellectual disability support needs.

Being a DOM Care provider

The DOM Care program is also attractive to those opening their homes and providing care for a number of reasons. Firstly, they get paid for their work—up to $1,014.20 monthly (tax free) per residents, with a three-resident limit per home. This essentially pays for 24-hour supervision for the resident, plus room and board, which includes meals. Providers also supervise and administer medications, as needed, to their residents.

“Many of our providers are women who have a history of providing care to friends and family and have room in their homes, but this program is great for anyone who works or is retired but wants a supplemental income,” Brian says. 

Dom Care home providers must meet the following criteria:

• Be 21 years of age or older
• Be a Pennsylvania resident
• Reside in the prospective Dom Care home 
• Have a physical exam including a tuberculosis test
  or chest X-ray
• Have First Aid and CPR certification 
• Pass criminal history clearances
• Provide satisfactory financial and personal references  

In addition to compensation, DOM Care providers enjoy companionship and a feeling of well being for providing a sense of family to someone in need. It’s a win-win housing situation. 

To learn more about DOM Care, call SeniorLine at (412) 350-5460 or (800) 344-3419, or visit https://www.alleghenycounty.us/Human-Services/About/Contact/Contact-Form/SeniorLine.aspx

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