Personal Support Services helps provide personal

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, March 3, 2015

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As people age, many of them hope to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.

For people in Northeast Tennessee, Personal Support Services helps make that happen, and uses funding from the Elizabethton/Carter County United Way help fund its services.

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“Personal Support Services is the exclusive provider of supportive services for the Department of Human Services’ Adult Protective Services,” PSS Director Pat Griggs said.

Once a referral is made to the protective services, a state case worker completes an investigation. If the investigation finds the person is in danger due to abuse, abandonment, financial or material exploitation or neglect, a case is opened and the case worker puts resources, including a referral to PSS, toward keeping that person safe, Griggs said.

“These are some of the most vulnerable adults in the state,” Griggs said. “We are literally the eyes and ears of the state. By working with these clients, we can allow people to remain safely in their home for as long as they can before being institutionalized.”

PSS works under the supervision of a registered nurse and case managers to provide in-home personal care and housework, certain errands, observation of the house activities and monitor the client’s safety and well-being.

“We meet with the client and set a personalized care plan for what they need,” Griggs said.

PSS is licensed to provide clients with help with simple health care routines, such as reminders to maintain diet restrictions and to do recommended exercises; help with household chores and laundry, assistance in obtaining medical care and help with shopping and errands, meal preparation, budget education and assistance, medication reminders and grooming and healthy living habits.

PSS provides care for clients in eight counties in Northeast Tennessee, including Carter County. Carter County clients are served by employees in Carter County for more convenient service, Griggs said.

PSS is funded mainly through a Social Services Block Grant from the Department of Human Resources, Griggs said. The grant requires a 20 percent local match, which is where the United Way funding comes in.

The Elizabethton/Carter County United Way provides around 1 percent of PSS’ annual budget, but Griggs noted for each $1 the agency receives in local funding they get $4 in grant funding.

“We have to have the local funds to match the grant, or we won’t get it,” Griggs said. “If we lost all of our local funding, we would lose the grant. If we lost the grant, we couldn’t provide the care we do, and the clients would end up in an institution.”seni