Transition plan for Polk residents would be carried out over 7 steps

A packet handed out at a parents and caregivers meeting Tuesday at Polk Center outlined the Pennsylvania Department of Human Service’s plan to transition residents from the center into community living.

The proposed timeline will take place over the next three years if the proposed closure of Polk Center becomes a reality.

The process will begin with a public hearing at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, at Atlantic Avenue Church in Franklin. Public comments and testimony will be heard at that gathering.

The packet begins with a “plan for closure” which states that Polk Center’s closure is “part of the Wolf Administration’s commitment to serve more people in the community, reduce reliance on institutional care and improve access to home and community-based services.”

The packet outlines seven steps for transition during which “teams, including people residing at Polk Center and their families, will meet to develop individualized person-centered plans.”

Here is a rundown of the steps if the closure happens:

Step one is described as an essential lifestyle plan that will include important people and things to the resident, characteristics of those who support the resident best, what people need to do to support the resident and how the resident communicates.

Step two is an overview of the resident that includes activities they enjoy, a brief personal history, a diagnosis and supervision needs.

Step three is a provider response plan created by a community provider that is interested in supporting a resident. The plan includes a description of the provider’s history, structure, philosophy and scope of services.

Step four notes that provider selection will take place after a resident has received a provider response plan.

Transition planning will take place in step five, and a schedule of visits from provider staff will be formed, as well as a schedule of visits the resident will make to the provider.

“Ensuring that the ‘fatal four’ critical healthcare needs (aspiration, dehydration, constipation and seizure disorders) and other important health and safety items are planned for in the community setting” will also take place in step five.

Step six will be the day of transition as Polk Center staff will accompany residents to their new home, ensure they have all their belongings and ensure the new environment has been set up to meet all of the resident’s needs.

Step seven would include post discharge monitoring. This step will include at least five “wellness checks” that will be completed by a person who knows the resident well.

These checks would occur at 30, 60, 90, 180 and 365 days after the resident has been discharged from Polk Center.