Medical group homes allow for flexibility in residential services

At Allies, medical group homes foster an environment where everyone is free to pursue their goals and live independently, even people with complicated medical needs.

Overall, Allies operates 14 medical group homes throughout New Jersey, with more being planned. In purpose and function, medical and non-medical group homes and apartments are very similar. The essential difference is that “medical” homes require a nurse on staff to provide the medical treatment and supports the residents require

“Our goal is to become less reactive and more proactive,” Dawn King, BSN, the vice president of integrated health services at Allies, said. “We specialize in managing each person’s medical condition, therefore minimizing the need for out-of-home medical care.”

Currently, Allies is supporting about 40 individuals with medical complexities. One home that stands out to Laurie Morgan, MS, LPN, includes people with complex medical challenges and behavior support needs.

“I enjoy working with the individuals there because of their different personalities,” Morgan said. “They all engage with staff in their own ways.”

For many folks living in Allies’ medical group homes, there are not other housing solutions. Many people might end up spending long periods of time in nursing homes, King said.

“In a nursing home setting, the nurse-to-patient ratio is typically higher than it is in our homes,” King said. By having nurses present in a group home setting, residents and nursing staff are afforded the opportunity to get to know each other in meaningful ways.

In addition to the nurses who are staffed in each home, regional nurses make visits to each medical home between two and three times each week, or more frequently if needed.

The benefits of medical group homes extend beyond ensuring that people with complex medical needs always have a nurse on site. The number of medical group homes gives Allies some flexibility when someone is discharged from the hospital and requires nurse-led care for a period of time.

“If individuals go into the hospital from a non-medical home, we might need to find alternative arrangements for the short-term,” King said. “In addition, we are able to bring folks into the medical homes to receive care on an as-needed basis.