Day Habilitation Services

Day habilitation services and programs help maximize a person’s independence and increase their skills in daily activities, personal health and safety, making decisions, socialization, communication, recreation, community inclusion, and more. Day habilitation is person-centered, and each individual’s desired supports and needs drive it. It also provides evaluations and therapeutic interventions for intellectually or developmentally disabled adults.

Age requirements for day habilitation services can vary, but people usually need to be 18 or older. Professional service teams work cooperatively with providers and families to provide quality day habilitation programming. In this article, we’ll discuss day habilitation services, their cost, and the benefits of a day habilitation program.

What Are Day Habilitation Services and Programs?

Day habilitation programs are regularly scheduled activities that take place in a non-residential setting, separate from a person’s private home or other living arrangement. They help people improve their socialization, self-help, and adaptive skills. There are more than 4,600 day habilitation programs across the United States, and they help people perform daily activities and interact with their communities. Environments and activities are designed to build skills, positive social behavior, independence, and interpersonal competence. Here’s some more information about day habilitation services:

They Help People Reach Their Maximum Potential

Day habilitation services can help people attain or maintain their maximum potential. They’re often coordinated with any necessary therapies in the person’s individual services and support plan, such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy. For people with degenerative issues, day habilitation activities often include training and support to help maintain skills and functioning and prevent or slow regression. This happens instead of learning new skills or improving skills.

They Can Happen in Many Settings

Day habilitation can take place in a variety of settings except for the person’s residence. These places can include:

  • Stores.
  • Restaurants.
  • Libraries.
  • Community centers.
  • Parks.
  • Recreational facilities.

Some Day Habilitation Programs Offer Transportation

Some day habilitation programs provide transportation between people’s homes and activity sites. Day habilitation services often give three meals per day and personal care or assistance. Many people who receive day habilitation services also get prevocational services and educational, supported employment. Day habilitation doesn’t usually pay for services that are vocational, like performing services or producing goods. Day services are tailored to the needs of visitors, and a variety of activities are available, including:

  • Craft classes and games.
  • Clubs.
  • Pet therapy.
  • Art therapy.
  • Drama.
  • Photography.
  • Music therapy.
  • Tours of community venues like libraries, museums, civic centers, or recreational facilities.
  • Employment training.
  • Teaching personal care and daily living skills.
  • Teaching financial literacy.
  • Cooking and baking.
  • Ice skating.
  • Computer work.
  • Kayaking.
  • Yoga.
  • Swimming.
  • Horseback riding or equine therapy.
  • Safety and situational awareness.
  • Gardening.
  • Volunteering.
  • Mobility and travel training.
  • Self-awareness and self-advocacy.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking.
  • Social skills, emotional development, and personal development.
  • Classroom-based activities that focus on skills and knowledge building.
  • Discovery activities that support individual goals, like tech training, videos, and virtual tours.
  • Science.
  • Peer-to-peer sharing.
  • Informational interviews of local community members.
  • Independent living skills like online shopping and how to prepare food.
  • Communication skills.
  • Community integration.
  • An introduction to the meaning of work and pre-vocational services.
  • Physical and occupational therapy.
  • Strength and range of motion training.
  • Water skiing.

Day services exclude services provided in a certified adult day care facility. Service providers work with individuals to establish goals through assessment and personal discovery. People get individualized support to help them achieve their goals in small groups. They can direct some or all of their own day habilitation services to the extent of their desire and ability.

Day service programs usually prepare a plan to meet each person’s goals and provide support services such as medication administration, personal care, and behavioral management plans. Recreational activities are often allowed when they’re approved as part of a day habilitation individualized plan and they help a person reach specific therapeutic goals.

Many Organizations Provide Day Habilitation

Many organizations can provide day habilitation programs, including health care providers, government agencies, and community organizations. Nurses, physical, occupational, and speech therapists work with individuals to provide assessments and therapeutic interventions, maximizing their skills and tailoring programming to their interests and needs. There’s a difference between facility-based and community-based day habilitation services (CBDS). Community-based day services expose people to opportunities within their communities, helping them lead fuller, more independent lives. They must spend 80% of their time in a community or non-facility setting, and goals for CBDS should be measurable and consistent with each person’s interests.

Activities that contribute to participants’ community exploration, independence, community participation, interpersonal competencies, and personal choice are required. People receive person-centered planning and assessments, and professionals use a team-based planning process to develop specific goals and service timelines for each individual. The goal is to help people enhance their independence. Supports are instructional and focused on skill development in a variety of areas.

What Is the Cost of Day Habilitation Services and Programs?

Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers are one of the biggest providers of long-term services and supports for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. HCBS waivers help provide day habilitation services that function as an alternative for employment, help meet medical and physical needs, and increase independence and social interaction.

HCBS waivers detail the services they can provide and what types of providers can offer these services. Each state allocates funding in its own way, determining how many people will get day habilitation and other services, how many units of services the average person receives, and reimbursement rates. States also note provider specifications in HCBS waivers, including the type or types of providers that furnish certain services, like individuals or agencies, and minimum provider qualifications.

Practitioners and agencies that meet qualifications can apply to be certified for specific services. States can also let people choose family members as paid care providers in some circumstances. Living in a community is much more cost-effective than living in an institution, and it helps improve individuals’ independence and skills.

States are required to provide meaningful community opportunities, including interaction with people who don’t have disabilities. They must also record the number of participants, the average length of stay (ALOS), and the total projected spending per waiver year. States must also project the number of units of service these participants utilize during a waiver year (considering ALOS) and the expected average cost of each waiver service.

The cost of day habilitation services depends on the care setting, the geographic location of care, and the level of care required. Private insurance doesn’t usually cover day habilitation services and programs, but most people who qualify can get help from Medicaid. According to Genworth Financial, the median cost for day habilitation services is $1,690 per month or $78 per day for people who visit day habilitation eight hours per day, five days per week.

Some individuals visit day habilitation programs less often, around once or twice per week. They can spend between four and 12 hours per day at day habilitation. Day habilitation services are about half the price of homemaker services, in-home health care, or assisted living. Day habilitation is less than one-third the cost of a residential nursing home. Some day habilitation facilities charge by the hour, and others have flat rates.

Prices vary depending on the state. Alabama and Texas are the least expensive, and they cost a median of $35 and $36 per day or $758 and $769 per month. The most costly states are North Dakota and Vermont. They cost a median of $156 and $149 per day or $3,383 and $3,224 per month.

Some long-term-care insurance policies cover day habilitation services, but people who aren’t covered by Medicaid often need to pay with their own money. Private payers such as insurance companies don’t usually cover day habilitation services and programs. Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) sometimes fund these programs using Medicaid dollars. Some people can qualify for a combination of Medicare and Medicaid, and both the Administration on Aging (AOA) and Department of Veterans Affairs provide funding for some day habilitation programs. Other subsidies for low-income people are available as well.

In many states, it’s a good idea to add your child to Medicaid waiver interest list(s) as soon as possible. In some states, the wait time for day habilitation services is 15 years or more. If a child doesn’t need day habilitation, you can always decline the services. That way, individuals can use day habilitation when they need it to make them more independent and self-sufficient. Many parents say that they wish they had signed up for waiver interest lists when their child was born or diagnosed with a disability.

Day habilitation services are usually tax-deductible. You can claim the cost as a medical expense, or you can use the dependent care credit. It lets you claim up to 35% of up to $3,000 of day habilitation costs for one dependent or up to $6,000 for two people. It’s a good idea to speak to an accountant to find out which tax deduction is best.

The Benefits of a Day Habilitation Program

Day habilitation programs help people develop skills in areas like communication, job training, and daily living activities. They also help people be creative and access community resources such as parks, libraries, and recreational activities. Day habilitation services can offer job placement services for people with disabilities as well. They also offer health and wellness services like physical therapy, nutritional counseling, and occupational therapy. These programs and activities can help improve people’s emotional regulation, sensory processing, and coping skills. They can also help reduce anxiety and frustration from communication impairments and build fine and gross motor skills.

Individuals can participate in a variety of social activities and build social connections with their peers. Day habilitation services are more cost-effective than residential care programs that provide 24-hour care, but some individuals have day habilitation and residential care at the same time. Many day habilitation services offer tours to individuals and their family members. Day habilitation can happen in groups or with one individual at a time, depending on participants’ needs.

Adult day centers for people with disabilities and older adults can help reduce boredom, under-stimulation, and problem behaviors. They can also improve physical and psychological well-being. Day services can help reduce institutionalization by functioning as a respite for the person’s family members and other caregivers, helping the individual live in their own home for as long as possible. While the person participates in day habilitation, their relatives can run errands, relax, or spend some time with friends. Some day habilitation centers provide caregiver support programs. They can include educational programming, support groups, and one-on-one counseling with a professional therapist.

Day habilitation services can be provided in a variety of locations, and many programs include meals and transportation. Some programs focus on adults, and others are for children. Some day habilitation programs provide services for kids and adults.

HCBS waivers started in 1981 as an alternative to immediate care facilities for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. States can provide community services for underserved populations, such as people with disabilities. People who recently experienced the death of a loved one or recovered from an injury or illness can also benefit from the social interactions offered by adult day programs.

Almost everyone with a disability can participate in day habilitation services. Some programs focus on older people or people with dementia, but the majority are open to anyone. Many day habilitation services have a nurse who provides medical care when needed. Some facilities also have therapists, social workers, and case managers. Emergency room activity, hospitalizations, and falls often decrease for people who spend at least six months in adult day programs.

Day habilitation services and programs are important for providing support and care for individuals with disabilities or chronic health conditions. They let regular caretakers take breaks, and they help people make friends and become involved with their communities through prevocational training and volunteer work. They teach people to become more independent, and in many circumstances, they can eventually live on their own.