The CAPS Credential & Workers’ Comp

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

CAPS is a credential sometimes found after the names of construction professionals and other specialists involved in home modifications. It stands for Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist.

Aging in place (AIP) is a concept driven by the large numbers of baby boomers who want to stay in their homes rather than move to senior communities or assistive living facilities if they become impaired.

Developed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in cooperation with the AARP, the CAPS program teaches the business, technical and customer service skills needed to modify homes for AIP. NAHB administers the CAPS certification, which requires candidates to pass three day-long courses, typically held at building supply stores, builders’ association offices, or conference centers.

CAPS-certified contractors can be good partners in adaptive housing projects for injured workers. They’re accustomed to projects that accommodate mobility, balance and accessibility issues.

However, adaptive housing solutions for injured workers need to take more things into consideration, including their changing clinical needs and the weight and size of sophisticated rehab equipment. For example, a front-wheel drive powerchair has a large turning radius, requiring a wider door than the manual chairs typically used by older people. Power chairs, Hoyer lifts and other rehab equipment used in workers’ comp take up more room and can be much heavier than Medicare-covered equipment.

Additionally, the worker’s recovery outlook needs to be considered for cost-effective solutions. For example, a temporary ramp (pictured above) can be used when the injured worker is expected to be able to use stairs down the road.

It’s best to pair a CAPS-certified contractor with an Occupational Therapist (OT) or Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) who has a lot of experience in workers’ compensation. OTs and ATPs are better able to interpret medical records and progress notes from the rehab center and create precise specifications. They’re also more aware of rehab equipment and how to combine it with home modifications. In short, CAPS is a valuable certification for contractors and remodelers working on workers’ comp projects when they are integrated into teams with clinical specialists, which is ATF Medical’s approach.

We deliver a fully integrated mobility and accessibility solution–ALL the equipment, rehab technology, mobility products, vehicle mods, and adaptive housing projects that a complex workers’ comp case needs.

If you’d like to know more about our comprehensive solutions, please contact Rick Wyche at rwyche@atfmedical.com or Erin Zablocki at ezablocki@atfmedical.com.

 

What Does the ADA Have to do with Workers’ Comp?

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

As you probably know, the ADA is the acronym for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Among many other things, the ADA provides design standards to ensure accessibility to public entities.

The operative word is public: office buildings, libraries, courthouses and other government buildings, restaurants, and shopping centers. ADA standards help create spaces designed to be used by the largest portion of the disabled population, regardless of the disability. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach. Hence buildings have ramps, wide halls, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and features for the visually and hearing impaired.

Similarly, universal design is the “design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” Again, universal design is for facilities, workplaces, and other public spaces.

Neither standard applies to residences. If they did, halls would be freakishly wide and lined with handrails and every bathroom would be wheelchair accessible.

It’s fine to use contractors with these certifications, but it’s not mandatory. These understand how to build and renovate to accommodate disabilities. But they are not necessarily used to adapting a single home for a single worker with specific functional limitations.

Workers’ comp adaptive housing solutions are extremely customized. At least, they should be. To that end, ATF Medical pairs an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) Occupational Therapist (OT), and/or a Certified Environmental Access Consultant (C.E.A.C.) with the contractor. These experts take a clinical approach to combining rehab technology with adaptive housing solutions.

Each worker is different. Each condition is different, and each adaptive housing solution is different.

Our Executive Director/Rehab Technology Erin Zablocki, CDME, Master C.E.A.C., ECHM is an expert in adaptive housing solutions and would be happy to answer your questions about the ADA or clinically driven home modifications. Email her at ezablocki@atfmedical.com

 

What is a CHAMP Certification?

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

You may notice the initials CHAMP after the names of some rehab or construction professionals. It’s an acronym for Certified Home Assessment and Modification Professional. It’s also short for champion, of course, and professionals who improve the lives of seriously injured people are certainly champions.

Created just for workers’ compensation, CHAMP is a contractor and accessibility specialist home modification certification program. It was originally initially designed for contractors, but over time the content expanded to include case managers and claims representatives who want to better understand adaptive housing projects.

The first step to certification involves intense onsite training. The three-day course explains the workers’ compensation market and terms like medical necessity and disability and about common injuries and medical and functional status. Attendees also learn how to complete assessments and develop a scope of work along with accepted practices for estimating and timelines. The course also discusses products and services, e.g., lifts and medical equipment.

There is also a CHAMPConnect conference that brings claims representatives together with contractors to focus on housing issues and home modifications for injured workers.

ATF Medical promotes professional development among our staff. We are proud to have certified ATPs, CHAMPS, ECHMs, CEACs, CAPS and  more on our roster. Our new Manager of Rehab Technology Dave Bedard holds the CHAMP credential as well as the Assistive Technology Professional (ATP).

If you’re interested learning more about our adaptive housing solutions, please contact Erin Zablocki, our Executive Director of Rehab Technology at ezoblocki@ATFMedical.com.