What is the Community Options Program?
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WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY OPTIONS PROGRAM?
Community Options helps people who
need long term care to stay in their own homes and communities. Its purpose is to provide
cost-effective alternatives to expensive care in institutions and nursing homes. Elderly
people and people with serious long-term disabilities receive funds and assistance to find
services they are not able to get through other programs. Community Options care managers
know what services are available in the community, and learn what families and friends are
able to do. A care manager will talk to you, or your family member about how to arrange
the services and supports you need to avoid going to a nursing home.
WHO CAN GET HELP THROUGH COP?
Community Options serves
people who need long term support, regardless of age or type of disability, who
need the same levels of physical or mental health care as nursing home residents do. There
are no income limits for a Community Options assessment and care plan. However,
income guidelines are used to determine if Community Options will pay for part or all of
the cost of services that the assessment determines are necessary. People who can afford
to pay may receive help finding the services they need after an assessment is completed.
All other sources of funding or voluntary help will be considered before Community Options funds are used to pay for
services. For example, if you are eligible, Community Options will use federal Medical
Assistance or Medicare funding for services arranged by the same care managers. Also other
community resources will be used to meet your needs. Getting services will also depend on
the availability of program funds. Counties may have waiting lists for Community Options
WHAT SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH COP?
Based on your needs, strengths and
resources, Community Options provides services, equipment or aids which allow you to live
safely, with dignity and respect in the community. Some examples include:
- home modification,
- respite care,
- adaptive equipment,
- financial counseling,
- care management,
- communication aids,
- home health care,
- residential services,
- personal care, and
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF I AM ELIGIBLE
Every county in Wisconsin has a
Community Options Program. You can
contact your county
or you may be referred for a Community Options assessment by a social service agency or a
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I CALL FOR HELP?
In most cases the county Community Options agency will
gather some basic information and schedule a time to meet with you in your own home if
possible. If there is a waiting list for services you will still be offered an assessment
and help putting together a plan of care. Or, you may choose to postpone the assessment
until funding for services becomes available.
At the scheduled meeting a county social worker or nurse
will talk with you, and if you say its okay, with close family and friends to decide
what you need to continue living at home or to return home. The assessment will gather
information about your health, what help you need to take care of yourself daily, what
special equipment or training could help you, your strengths, and how your prefer to live
and use the help that may be available.
Next your county care manager will work with you to
develop a plan that includes: what you would like to be able to do for yourself, how
each of your needs will be met, who will provide services, when, where, for how long, and
at what cost. The care manager will figure out how much different programs, including the
Community Options Program, can pay toward these costs, and the amount, if any, you will be
expected to contribute, depending on your income and assets.
Once services have begun, a care manager will continue to
contact you to see how well the care plan is working, how satisfied you are with your
services, and whether you feel as safe and connected to your community as you would like
WHO DO I CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION?
To learn more about the Community Options Program, contact your county Department of Human Services or Department of
Social Services or Unified Services. Your local aging office
is a good source of information for older people as well.
The Wisconsin Bureau of Long-Term Support, in the DHS Division of Long Term
Care, coordinates the
Community Options Program.
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April 22, 2014