ELDERLY COMMISSION MEETING
October 23, 2006 at 11:30 am
East Windsor Town Hall
Meeting Minutes of October 23, 2006:
I. Meeting called to order at 11:40am, by Cathy Drouin, Vice-Chairman.
II. Previous Minutes (September 25, 2006) were reviewed by members. Motion to accept the minutes, as presented, by Karen Boutin. Seconded by Madeleine Thompson.
Present Members: Claire Badstubner (Chairman), Cathy Drouin (Vice-Chairman), Elizabeth Burns (Municipal Agent), Madeleine Thompson, Karen Boutin, M. Trevor Bray.
Absent Members: none
Invited Guests: Laura Clynch (EW Director of Senior Services), Tracey Lachat (EW Transportation Coordinator-Senior Services), Holly Vannucci (Director, Enfield Adult Day Center), Sister Patricia Marie (Director, Felician Adult Day Care).
IV. Elderly Commission:
A) Member Update:
Members of the commission welcomed Trevor Bray (unaffiliated). Mr. Bray has kindly agreed to join the commission with his term to expire 1/1/2008. No open seats remain.
B) On-going Business:
1. Cell Phone Program- Ms. Drouin to contact East Windsor High School and the Scouts to determine if there is an interest in participating with this program. Further discussion at the November meeting.
2. Senior Center- discussion postponed to November meeting.
3. Senior Safety- discussion postponed to November meeting.
C) New Business:
Charge to the Elderly Commission from the Board of Selectman to research and develop a report regarding Dial-A-Ride services to local Adult Day Care Centers. Commission must have report to present at the second, scheduled BOS meeting in January, 2007.
Commission welcomed presentations from Holly Vannucci (Director, Enfield Adult Day Center) and Sister Patricia Marie (Director, Felician Adult Day Care) regarding the transportation issue for East Windsor’s seniors to their facilities.
Sister Patricia Marie – Director, Felician Adult Day Care:
Sister Patricia Marie expressed concern with having to decline applicants (East Windsor residents) to Felician Adult Day Care because of lack of transportation. Sister informed the commission that other surrounding towns (i.e. Somers, Suffield) will do transportation to her facility both morning & afternoon. East Windsor Dial-A-Ride does not currently transport clients to Felician Adult Day Care. Sister Patricia Marie expressed concern of leaving elderly residents home alone (especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia). Some of the elderly residents who could utilize an adult day care facility are able to afford this as opposed to other costly alternative, but simply can not get to the facilities. Sister Patricia Marie also expressed
the importance of socialization for our seniors. In summary, Sister Patricia Marie is asking East Windsor Dial-A-Ride to pick up clients and transport them to the facility. If East Windsor can arrange this transportation, EW residents who apply will more often be accepted because transportation would no longer be an issue. Sister tells the commission that she has had to turn away 3 EW applicants just last month due to their lack of transportation. She states clients would be very appreciative. Sister also mentions that some family members have had to give up their jobs to care for a family member. Eventually these people realize they need to work and transportation to a day care facility is crucial to their needs.
Holly Vannucci – Director, Enfield Adult Day Center:
Holly Vannucci also expressed her concern regarding transportation problems for her facility’s EW clients. Currently Enfield Adult Day Center has approximately 4-6 EW residents in their program. Ms. Vannucci explained that as their program grew, Enfield Dial-A-Ride could no longer accommodate its out of town clients, as it is the Enfield taxpayer’s money that supports the Dial-A-Ride service.
Ms. Vannucci presented an overview of Enfield’s Dial-A-Ride in regards to their Adult Day Center. Currently, Enfield’s Dial-A-Ride plan includes an extra bus staffed with a nurse’s aide to assist clients from the bus to their door.
Somers currently transports clients to Enfield through their (Somers) Dial-A-Ride system.
Ms. Vannucci expressed her concern that East Windsor is falling through the cracks. Ms. Vannucci and Sister Patricia Marie both mentioned that, in their opinions, if transportation was provided, more residents would apply to day care programs to assist their elderly relatives.
Ms. Vannucci stated that there are currently 51 Adult Day Care Centers operating in the state and that many use Dial-A-Ride to transport. Ms. Vannucci stated that EW’s Dial-A-Ride may not be greatly affected, initially, due to the low numbers of clients currently in both facilities. Both Directors stated that they like to have clients at their facility by 9:30/10:00 am. Ms. Vannucci clearly stated that she does not promote public transportation to her applicants/clients, but does let them know that it is available. Ms. Vannucci informed the commission that there are three different grants that are available regarding Adult Day Care and transportation. Ms. Vannucci suggested the commission may want to research
any grants available to assist their Dial-A-Ride if this expanded service can be implemented.
Both directors stressed the importance of the participants’ “functioning levels” when detailing out transportation to day care facilities. Ms. Vannucci explained that Adult Day Care “fills the gap” in terms of looking ahead.
Commission members had an opportunity to ask questions directed to Holly Vannucci, Sister Patricia Marie, Laura Clynch and Tracey Lachat:
Mr. Bray (to Ms. Vannucci and Sister Patricia Marie): Regarding both mentally and physically handicapped clients, how are they assisted? Both directors explained that there is either a nurses aide on the bus to assist the individual, the driver (depending on the circumstances) may assist or in the case of dropping off at Felician Adult Day Care, the bus may beep as it pulls up and someone will come out of the building to assist.
Ms. Boutin (to Ms. Vannucci): Inquired about how many clients on a bus at a time and the ratios. Ms. Vannucci stated that the state requirement is a ration of 1:7, however, depending on the level of functionality of clients, that number varies. Also adding an aide onto the bus will vary that ratio slightly.
Ms. Thompson (to Ms. Vannucci): What is required of the driver and bus (in terms of peer review)?: Ms. Vannucci stated that all busses have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit. She adds that fairly recently, drivers are being trained in CPR.
Mr. Bray (to Ms. Burns): What state funding/aid is available for transporting? Ms Burns agreed this is an important factor that the commission will need to research at further meetings.
Ms. Vannucci and Sister Patricia Marie informed the group that towns will decide to handle/pass along a portion of the transportation costs to their clients. For example, Suffield charges their clients (resident) $30.00/year. Somers charges clients (resident) $1.00 each trip, as does the Felician Sisters van. Enfield’s $60.00/year fee is paid by the center and therefore incorporated into the center’s fees. CCI does not pay.
Ms. Clynch (to Ms. Vannucci): Can East Windsor families contract with the Enfield Dial-A-Ride? Ms. Vannucci said this is a possibility to consider.
Ms. Drouin (to all guests): What limitations would need to be set in regards to those clients who need help door-to-door? All guests agreed this is something that needs to be considered as a program is put in place. Liability issues need strong consideration.
Ms. Vannucci (to Ms. Lachat): Why does the EW Dial-A-Ride brochure state that it won’t transport to adult day cares, but will transport to a doctor’s appointment out of town? Ms. Lachat agreed this is something that should be further looked into. Ms. Lachat stated their may be a liability issue involved (cost and evaluation of each client). Ms. Lachat further stated that the clients using the bus must be “self-care” and that the driver is to focus only on the task at hand, driving. The drivers are not responsible for monitoring clients. Sister Patricia Marie added in that many clients have a family member who can help them on/off their bus.
Mr. Bray (to Ms. Clynch): Does the senior center keep a record of the number of inquiries regarding transport to Adult Day Care Centers? Ms. Clynch said that there has been some, but is unsure on the exact number at this time. Ms. Clynch added that cost is definitely a factor (for town and individuals) but she feels that if the service is in place, more residents will probably come forward to utilize it to go to adult day care.
Ms. Boutin (to Ms. Lachat & Ms. Clynch): How many busses are currently in operation and what is the daily cost to operate a bus/purchase a new bus? Ms. Lachat informed the group that there are 2 Full-time drivers currently and a 3rd, Part-time driver is about to be hired. However, there are 5 vehicles total that are rotated out on the roads daily. She stated that maintenance is high; buses break down a lot so that is why they are rotated around. Ms. Vannucci added in that if their bus is unavailable (i.e. driver is out sick), the families are generally very cooperative and will transport their relative for a day here and there. Ms. Burns added that the cost factors for gas and vehicle maintenance are
something the commission needs to research and consider in its report to the BOS. Both Ms. Boutin and Ms. Thompson stated that there are a lot of hidden costs to consider for this program.
Ms. Burns met with Ms. Clynch and Ms. Lachat earlier in October to ask them what questions might the commission need to address in developing a presentation report. Their meeting resulting in the following points:
· Would EW have to service all adult day care centers in the area – or can we exclude certain towns?
· Regarding drivers: start/end times. Union issues.
· Issue of an aid on the bus – a certified aid required? Or another employee?
Ms. Lachat stated that she spoke with Enfield Dial-A-Ride directly (previous to today’s meeting) and she was told that all special need clients (i.e. Alzheimer, dementia, wheelchair bound) ride on one specific bus together so that they have an aid available to assist them. Ms. Clynch added that she feels two 24-passenger busses could be filled for the purposes of adult day care transportation.
Ms. Thompson and Ms. Clynch expressed concern that someone would need to be home at pick-up/drop-off for the clients with high levels of care (i.e. Alzheimer, dementia, etc).
Ms. Lachat informed the commission that the state currently funds $4280.00/year for transportation and the town of East Windsor subsidizes the remaining. The van used was paid for 80% Greater Hartford and 20% town of EW.
Ms. Burns highlights three transportation options to consider:
1. A Regional Transportation Grant – perhaps Enfield could do this and supply with EW, Suffield, Somers, etc.? Ms. Lachat mentioned that she believes Enfield is currently working on this but end results could be 1-2 years away.
2. Contract with Allied Services (local transport company).
3. Change current town transportation policies. Consider a cost and possibly have a limitation on locations serviced?
Ms. Burns also mentioned that a cost of transport could become part of the families’ “care costs” or that a “one-way transport fee” could be additional.
Ms. Burns expressed her concern (of EW’s image/relations with seniors) that clients are turned away because “East Windsor does not provide transportation”. A statement like this does not sound good for the town of EW. Ms. Burns and Ms. Clynch agreed that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Mr. Bray expressed concern that there may not be enough demand to warrant this type of service and the time and costs involved to set it up. Mr. Bray suggested that the commission develop a survey for the town residents. Ms. Burns responded that this could be done as the next town newsletter is to be released in December. Ms. Clynch added that the survey questions would need to be realistic in terms of mentioning/questioning if residents would pay for such services. A brief discussion of the town and families sharing the cost, as a possibility, ensued.
Ms. Clynch expressed that the commission may want to ask what resources Ms. Vannucci and Sister Patricia Marie may have already looked into.
In closing, Ms. Burns suggested that the members come to the next meeting each with their own set of questions for discussion. In addition, it was agreed, among all members, that a special meeting should be scheduled to specifically discuss the issue of transportation services to adult day care centers.
1:08 pm by Chairman Claire Badstubner
*Special Meeting scheduled for Monday 11/6/06 @ 5:00pm in Town Hall Meeting Room.