Advanced Home Care Aide Specialist Pilot Project (AHCAS)

What is this program all about?

DSHS is working with Service Employees International Union 775 (SEIU) and the Training Partnership to pilot (test) a new Advanced Skills training.  This 70 hours of additional training will be an opportunity for Individual Providers to learn new, advanced skills; to add value to their resume; to increase their hourly rate; and, most importantly, to provide ever-better, top-quality care to the persons they support.

What should an interested service recipient (DSHS client) know?

First, you should know that this program begins with you!  Participation is completely voluntary, and you are in control.  Would you like your caregiver to receive Advanced Skills training?  Use the following information to help you make an informed decision:

Are there any eligibility requirements?

Yes.  Both the DSHS service recipient and the caregiver supporting them need to meet program eligibility requirements.  For details refer to our list of AHCAS Eligibility Requirements.  DSHS has already mailed flyers to eligible clients in a few counties where we conducted training first.  In December of 2016 DSHS will mail all remaining eligible clients – so be on the lookout for DSHS mail!  You can see what that mailer looks like by clicking the images below.

Learn Grow Care image

1) First you will receive a trifold that looks like the image on the left.  (Open a print-sized version of the AHCAS brochure.)

Document letter image 2) Next we will mail an enrollment packet that includes a cover letter, directions, and an agreement to participate form.  You can download copies of these forms at the bottom of this page.
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3) Finally, we will send out a couple of reminder cards, which will look similar to the image on the left. Be sure to enroll as soon as possible so that your care provider can find scheduled classes in your area!

What if December 2016 comes and goes and I never get any mail? 

If you never received any information from DSHS, chances are that either you or your caregiver are not eligible.  For details, refer to our list of AHCAS Eligibility Requirements.  If you want to verify your eligibility, feel free to email the program managers at ahcaspilotlead@dshs.wa.gov or call (360) 725-2503 (for ALTSA clients) or (360) 407-1510 (for DDA clients).

What will my caregiver learn in this training? 

  • Caregivers will learn about the person-centered approach to care. A person-centered approach to caregiving treats each person as an individual with unique needs, values and preferences.  
  • Caregivers will learn how to work with the person they support to solve problems.
  • Caregivers will learn to support clients through medication management.  For example, they will learn techniques for tracking and organizing medications.
  • Caregivers will learn to work with those they support to monitor and report changes in a client's health.
  • Caregivers will learn more about treatment and care plans.
  • Caregivers will learn motivational interviewing techniques that will help them support those they care for to make positive changes; without passing judgement
  • Caregivers will learn healthy ways to cope with difficult or tense situations. For example they will practice attending and listening skills and will learn to respond logically rather than react emotionally. 
  • Caregivers will learn to assist those they support to become more involved in their healthcare.
  • Caregivers will also practice healthy ways to care for themselves.

When would my caregiver go to class, and how long will it be?

Your caregiver would attend 8 classes (usually for part of the day each Friday or Saturday for 8 weeks).  The classes are partly online and partly in class.  Complete course schedules and training locations are available below. 

What should an interested provider know?

We want to invest in you! And we think that investment will benefit DSHS service recipients. If both you and your client are eligible and enroll in the pilot, you will receive 70 hours of paid Advanced Home Care Aide Specialist Training. You will be paid for completed class time whether you successfully complete all of the training requirements or not. Upon successfully completing the training and passing the competency assessments you will receive an additional $.50 (fifty cents) per hour for each client you work for from that point on.  For complete provider and client eligibility requirements refer to the AHCAS Eligibility Requirements.

DSHS has already mailed flyers to eligible clients in a few counties where we conducted training first.  In December of 2016 DSHS will mail all remaining eligible clients.  Each month following, DSHS will determine newly eligible clients and send them enrollment packets.

Once a client agrees to enroll in the pilot, DSHS will send a pilot enrollment packet to their eligible provider.  If you receive a pilot enrollment packet you will need to return those completed documents to DSHS (instructions are included).  At that point DSHS will notify the SEIU and the Training Partnership that you have enrolled in the AHCAS pilot.  The Training Partnership will send you further information on how to enroll in AHCAS training.  Complete course schedules and training locations are available here.

What should Case Managers know?

We understand the amount of work you do and want to make the AHCAS pilot as easy as possible!  William Nichol and Dawn Okrasinski are already hard at work in the field providing in-person training to Case Managers and Health Home Coordinators.  If there is anything that we can do to better serve your needs, please let us know at ahcaspilotlead@dshs.wa.gov.   

AHCAS Training Schedule

At this time the state-wide training schedule is not available.  When the Training Partnership makes that schedule available to DSHS, we will post it here or provide a link to it.  Until then, feel free to contact the training partnership regarding upcoming training.

Client Enrollment Packet

The following files make up our client enrollment packet.  If you are an eligible client who needs another copy of these files, feel free to download them, complete the necessary paperwork, and return them per the included instructions.

Who should I contact for more information?

For additional information please email one of the Pilot Leads at ahcaspilotlead@dshs.wa.gov or call (360) 725-2503 (for ALTSA clients) or (360) 407-1510 (for DDA clients). Along with your question(s), please tell us a little bit about yourself.