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Family Services ProgramAs part of an integrated strategy, the Huntington Society of Canada provides immediate support for families living with the devastating effects of Huntington disease through our Individual and Family Services program. With a network of 22 staff located across Canada, HSC delivers around 280 hours of service to families every week.
Our professional staff are Huntington disease specialists who help families and professionals respond to the challenge of HD. The clients of the Individual and Family Services program are the person living with HD, their caregivers and family members including people at risk.
The goals of the program are to:
1. Enable individuals and families to adjust emotionally and practically by supplying information and helping them to manage the present and prepare for the future.
2. Help people identify and understand the family’s need for specific services and enable them to gain access to these services on a timely basis - and then follow up to ensure the client’s needs are met.
3. Create mutual support systems for individuals and families to lessen isolation and to learn from personal experience.
4. Ensure HD families receive a continuum of services by advocating for the development of new services designed to meet the needs of individuals and families. Also, ensure existing services are tailored to include families living with HD and to serve them well.
5. Support and educate service providers to better serve individual and families living with HD.
These goals are met through two complementary services:
i. Support Service: Here HSC staff provide counseling and facilitate the process whereby people living with HD adjust in all areas of life to losses brought about by the progression of the disease. This service includes assessing people’s needs through one to one consultations, educating clients about HD and giving information about community services, finding sources of support, facilitating appropriate referrals and then following up. The service can involve setting goals with the clients, strategizing and solution focused problem solving, either working individually with clients or in groups.
ii. Service Development: This service includes analyzing the needs of families living with HD, identifying the gaps in local services and then preparing and carrying out plans to ensure clients receive appropriate medical, social service and other community services. HSC staff educate generic agencies about HD and provide support. They deliver consulting services to health and social service professionals, and advocate for the development of new services; or they work to tailor existing services to meet the needs of individuals and families living with HD. This service is performed by working with service providers individually or in a group setting and by influencing them to provide a complete continuum of care for HD families.