MHC continues serving consumers both on and off campus

Friday, March 14, 2014
The Marshall Habilitation Center has been providing services for people with developmental disabilities for more than 100 years. The center was established by the Missouri General Assembly in 1899 and officially opened its doors in 1901. The MHC campus is located at 700 E. Slater St. in Marshall. (Rachel Knight/Democrat-News)

The Marshall Habilitation Center has been providing services for people with developmental disabilities for more than 100 years. The center was established by the Missouri General Assembly in 1899 and officially opened its doors in 1901.

MHC's philosophy has always been and continues to be providing an avenue for people served to enhance their skills, increase their independence and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and live their lives as valued members of their community whether it be in community waiver homes or on the campus of the center. MHC continues to expand choices and opportunities within the community as well as maximizing all possible resources to offer a lifestyle that fits each person's wants and needs.

Individual self-empowerment and choice is something MHC continues to enhance within the services they provide at MHC. The commitment to work with the people served to transition to community environments of their choice across the state is a continuing focus based on the individual's wishes, the families' wishes and the guardians' wishes. Since Jan. 1, 2012, to the present date, the center has transitioned 39 individuals to private homes in various sections of the state with 13 of these individuals being crisis admissions, who upon completing a specific treatment plan to meet their needs, have returned to community placement. At the present time, MHC currently has only one crisis consumer on campus waiting to transition back out into the community. They currently have 18 waiver/ISL homes in the Marshall areas. Five individuals within the center have elected to transition to vacancies in these waiver/ISL homes this past year.

MHC continues to provide crisis services to people living in community homes throughout the region. These services are designed to provide a short-term admission for specific types of services to people residing in the community. The services are usually associated with medical or behavioral issues.

Specific goals are established prior to admission. MHC staff, along with the provider staff, work collaboratively to reach the goals ultimately resulting in a successful transition back to their community setting.

C&C Industries, the vocational training program for the facility, continues to be part of the services provided by MHC. Their focus is on pursuing additional work opportunities and to further develop work environments for the people served, not only on campus, but in the community. This program enhances the ability of the people served to be productive members of the community as well as allowing consumers who may be transitioned into the community to get jobs.

The partnerships with the City of Marshall and the surrounding Saline County communities remain very important. The community partnerships include the use of variety of local businesses, particularly in the areas of groceries and supplies, as well as allowing consumers the ability to go shopping, eating out, attending the local movie theater, attending and becoming members of local churches, etc. They continue to host community events such as the annual fireworks display (weather permitting) and campus Christmas decorations where community participating is always welcomed. This past Christmas, the local Girl Scouts participated in decorating the Christmas boxes.

A partnership with Missouri Valley College School of Nursing continues with MHC providing experience via clinical observation and hands-on opportunities in the field of nursing. MHC also continues their partnership with the Saline County Career Center as a training site for their LPN program.

The utilization of Fitzgibbon's services provides faster medical services for people in a more cost-effective manner than traveling long distances to obtain similar services. MHC have also developed a partnership with I-70 Medical Center for some of the medical services.

MHC continues to be an active participant with the Community Disaster Planning committee participating in their meetings and exercises realizing that during disasters the resources and assistance of the entire community is needed. Satellite phones have also been obtained to assist in case of a disaster to provide better communications between MHC and the community at large.

(Contributed photo from Marshall Habilitation Center)

All of the above not only provides the opportunity for the people served by MHC to be active participants in the Marshall and surrounding communities, but it also provides the opportunity to promote public understanding and education of the programs and services offered at MHC.

MHC currently provides services to 128 people. This includes 62 people who reside off campus in homes throughout the Marshall community. It takes a comprehensive approach by a variety of personnel in order to be successful in meeting the needs of the people served. Several of the older ladies and gentlemen in the community homes decided to retire and looked forward to experiencing other activities that go along with retirement instead of having to go to work or training each and every day while others who reside in the community may elect to participate in training and/or work on a daily basis and enjoy the interaction with the staff and other individuals.

MHC continues to be one of the major employers in Marshall and the Saline County area, currently employing approximately 550 employees. The majority of the employees provide direct care services with the remaining employees working in the areas of medical support, habilitative support and administrative support. Along with those staff employed by MHC, there is a Central Missouri Regional Outreach Office located on campus, maintenance staff employed by the Office of Administration, Information Technology staff, Central Office Investigation Employees who serve Saline County and approximately 10 other counties.

These employees and the employees housed on campus to serve the needs of MHC consumers are one of MHC's strongest assets.

The continued success of MHC and the ability to be flexible and to embrace change can only be attributed to the dedication of all staff who remain focused on the provision of quality services and meeting the needs of the people served.

MHC has an Employee Organization that coordinates a variety of events throughout the year in order to recognize the contributions of the employees. An Employee BBQ and recognition events are hosted annually.

A week in May is set aside as State Employee Recognition Week with special events, drawings, and giveaways being held. All of this is possible thanks to the hard work of the MHC Employee Organization Committee. The Employees Organization has hosted Open Houses for employees to tour the museum at the Tudor House and learn about the history of the Marshall Habilitation Center.

The Parents Association also remains very supportive of the facility. Yearly they provide monetary funding for all consumers to be able to participate in sports activities throughout the year such as bowling, basketball games and recreational equipment. The Parents Association has also provided shirts, caps and/or visors for all the consumers as an extra special Christmas item to insure that each and every consumer has extra gifts to enjoy at Christmas. They continue to provide funding for ongoing annual activities to recognize staff and their dedication to the people served.

MHC continues to be part of the continuum of services offered by the Department of Mental Health and Division of Developmental Disabilities. Their role is to provide treatment options that enhance the opportunities for the people served to embrace the Department's Vision of Hope, Opportunity and Community Inclusion.

As MHC's look to the future, the ability to continue this vision and successfully meet goals rests not only in the hands of the employees of MHC, but is also dependent on the continued support and partnership with MHC's facilities and the community.