The Living at Home/Block Nurse Program Model is the product of over 20 years of work with elders, their caregivers, home nursing and senior-serving organizations, and supporters in the community. It is a citizen-action model, based on the conviction that local volunteer governed entities can and do serve the needs of local people best, as opposed to top-down corporate or agency models. Community ownership and operations limited to a small geographic area guarantee highly focused efficiencies and flexible, non-bureaucratic effectiveness in helping elders.
By receiving in-home social support and health care, elders are enabled to stay in their homes for extended periods of time, preserving their quality of life and retaining their community networks, while at the same time avoiding expensive nursing home costs.
The principle of neighbors helping neighbors is central; where consent, caring and mutual respect form the trust basis for all relationships. Use of expensive acute services, like an emergency room visit, is reduced while older people remain healthy longer, continue to live at home, participate in the lives and economies of their communities and receive appropriate assistance as needed from their family members and neighbors. Ultimately, this support system helps avoid caregiver burnout and premature institutionalization.
The Program Model is very cost-effective. Given current costs of acute medical care and nursing home stays, a typical rural community Program's annual budget can be more than recovered by helping just two elders avoid or delay using the expensive institutional services for a year. Higher costs in many urban settings may mean a doubling of the above numbers, but current Programs in all locations are saving taxpayers several times the cost of their operations.
The LAH/BNP does not duplicate pre-existing community services, but uses all available human services as fully as possible in a coordinated fashion and supplements only where needed services are absent or difficult to obtain.
The Guiding Principles provide a basic framework for community boards to implement the model under the guidance of a Certified Community Coach. Local expression of these Principles tends to be flexible, allowing organizations to creatively tailor services to fit local needs.
This model's unique attributes stem from the fact that the leadership, planning and implementation are done by people living in the community. A community board assumes the leadership to develop solutions and take action, while concerned citizens organize a volunteer network unique to their community under the structure of a locally-constituted 501(c)(3) corporation.
For those who want to know more about the model's uniquely grassroots approach, we suggest reading our LAHN Program Handbook located on the "resources" page.