The Home Usability Plan
The Home Usability Plan (HUP) is similar to an Independent Living Plan (ILP) but focused specifically on addressing home usability problems. Working with the consumer to identify all the possible home usability problems is the first step in building a home usability plan. The HUP helps outline a process for making changes/improvements within the consumer’s home.
The home usability plan is more than just a form to be completed; it is also a dialogue and a conversation between you and the consumer. The Home Usability Plan can help you shape this conversation and help you identify home usability goals, available resources, and appropriate HUN members for the job.
An important step of the HUP is identifying the usability problem to work on with the Home Usability Network. Which problem(s) in the home is most important to the consumer? Which have the greatest impact on their daily lives? Some usability issues may be difficult or costly to solve. Is the consumer ready to take on a big challenge or would it be better to start small? It may make sense to start with a smaller usability goal first. Of course, it’s the consumer’s choice, and they must have control over their own Home Usability Plan.
Once a usability goal has been set, the consumer and staff person work together to identify what resources the consumer has available already and what resources they may need from the HUN. Can they contribute financially to solving the usability problem? Who do they know that could help with the project, either through a financial contribution or through some specific expertise? What other resources could be available to them through organizations or benefits they receive? The Home Usability Plan has a space to outline these resources. Once the individual has identified their personal resources, then they will know which resources they will need from the HUN.
Once resources have been identified, the next step is to discuss potential barriers to implementing usability solutions. What aspects of the project will be the most challenging? Barriers may come in many shapes and sizes. How can the consumer prepare for them?
For example, we anticipate that many consumers will face financial barriers. Does the HUN have the capacity to help identify resources? You may find that the HUN is able to identify financial resources for specific problems if the consumer is willing to share their story.
A second potential barrier could be more of a social barrier. For example, if a consumer has a difficult landlord who is resistant to allowing accessibility changes to the housing unit, this could be a possible barrier in making changes. Be sure to have a conversation with the consumer about their relationship with their landlord, property management company, or homeowners association. When these difficulties arise, the consumer may look to the HUN for help. For example, the HUN may send a landlord a letter signed by the HUN members encouraging the landlord to allow changes, most of which would be covered as reasonable accommodations and modifications.
To-do Lists and task management
The HUP also provides a “home usability work plan”. This is a to-do list that will help delegate work between the consumer and the CIL staff person. Spend some time with the consumer identifying the different tasks that will need to be completed in order to work toward their goal. This process will likely look different for every consumer. Some people may be in a position to take on most of the work themselves and just need your advice and referrals to get the project rolling. Other consumers may need a little more support and more explicit directions. The Home Usability Plan helps you negotiate what role you will each need to play in the process.
The next session, Working with the HUN, provides some example scenarios and explores this next step more thoroughly.