As I discussed in my last post, change or any disruption in Lauren’s basic schedule is very difficult for her. But life happens. DSP’s get sick, take vacations, have doctor’s appointments. Vacancies occur. I’ve been brainstorming about how to lessen the effect this all has on Lauren. Having a floating substitute would help. Someone who could fill in as needed, any shift, any day.
Traditional providers have to have people who can either substitute or work overtime. In self-direction, that’s a lot harder to arrange. First of all, the substitute needs to be as familiar with and as educated about Lauren’s care as her other DSPs. If they are only working occasionally – that is hard to accomplish. Finding someone who is flexible enough to cover all shifts, again, is difficult. Of course, you could have more than one person in the substitute position, but that makes it even harder to keep them up-to-date on Lauren’s care, since they could go months without working. Under our one funding stream, if a DSP does not work in a certain period of time you have to redo some paperwork and drug testing. Setting up a substitute seems like a difficult and cumbersome proposition.
As for overtime, you can work a certain amount into your budget if your funding allows, but it really needs to be budgeted ahead of time and you have to have DSPs who are willing and available. Additionally, Lauren's care is extensive and draining - I don't want to burn out the wonderful people I already have.
I’m wondering what other families may be doing. Has anyone tried to set up a substitute DSP? Have you been successful? Does anyone have a better idea or approach to the problem?