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Misericordia is a Continuum of Care Facility which provides unique benefits to individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities by facilitating seamless transitions of individuals to appropriate settings and services based on their changing preferences, abilities, needs, age and level of ability. It also maximizes training and employment opportunities; and addresses the growing need for services to individuals as they age and for medically complex individuals with developmental disabilities.
Misericordia believes that all people—disabled or not—should have the opportunity to be meaningful members of their community every day. Each resident at Misericordia works closely with support staff to develop a person -centered plan to reach individual goals. There are many elements integral to leading a happy and fulfilling life, and Misericordia is dedicated to addressing all of these in each resident’s personal plan.
Misericordia has created and refined programs focused on meaningful work, community employment opportunities, adult learning programs, technology, micro-businesses, independent living skills, and maintaining skill levels as individuals decline. Each person, along with their parent/guardian, meets with support staff to choose their program and employment or prevocational opportunity to best match their interests and skill level
As Misericordia supports all levels of individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities, the person-centered plan is essential in ensuring residents’ needs, wants, choices and desires are encapsulated in the plan. Misericordia has developed numerous opportunities to meet each person’s needs and we continue to challenge ourselves to meet changing needs that we are facing and to promote best practice.
Misericordia collaborates with school districts for placement of school age children. The residents home school district works with the family to ensure appropriate school programs are available and they also provide transportation. Many residents are able to continue with the school they were attending prior to their admission to Misericordia.
Some of the McAuley Resident’s, all of whom have complex medical issues, attend the on-campus school should the district determine it would be in their best interest. Curriculum is geared toward their individual needs and educational objectives. The McAuley School is certified/approved by the Illinois Board of Education.
Nutrition & Fitness
Misericordia is committed to promoting health and wellness for our residents. The Moore Aquatic & Fitness Center is pivotal in ensuring our residents have the means to do so. The pool is available 7 days a week and in addition to swim classes and swim team practices, the pool offers water basketball, water walking, free swim and much more. Our Outreach Program offers swim lessons to younger children once a month. The fitness center has equipment for residents to choose from including treadmills, bikes, recumbent bikes, wheelchair accessible equipment, weights, and offers Yoga and Zumba classes. Residents are assessed by the fitness manager in terms of appropriate work outs and receive modified exercises to meet their individual abilities. Many choose to make fitness a part of their work day and build it right into their own schedules.
Misericordia has dieticians who are responsible for assessing the dietary needs of all of our residents and work with them to develop menus that are nutritious and include the preferences of the individual. The dieticians are aware of all the special dietary needs of our residents and assure that they receive the proper food. They also train our staff who are making meals with the residents on campus, in our community homes and staff that specialize in formulas for our residents who require liquid diets.
Residents come from diverse religious backgrounds and Misericordia is dedicated to respecting and supporting each person’s beliefs. Misericordia offers daily mass and Saturday mass. We generally have a Sabbath service on Friday evenings for our Jewish residents. Misericordia encourages all residents to be involved with organizations of faith in the larger community as well. Our residents who live in our community group homes are members of their local parishes, assist with serving at mass and some are members of their parish clubs. Misericordia also offers numerous non-denominational opportunities for quiet reflection.
Social and Recreational Activities
Misericordia’s residents deserve fun and relaxing activities in their free time. There are many activities to choose from and residents sign up and choose activities that meet their interest. Special Olympics is a favorite including track & field, soccer, basketball teams, swimming, power lifting, field hockey, and golf. They are often at the state finals in Bloomington and come home with the “Gold”. Additionally there are yoga classes for all residents, sewing & latch hook, photography, music activities, choir or sing-a-long, social dances, concerts and movie nights. Residents also love hanging out in their homes having “game night” or just relaxing with their friends watching a favorite movie.
Family members and staff frequently join residents at interesting events and on trips to exciting places in Chicago and beyond. Outings include concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, art exhibits at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Fire soccer games, Bulls basketball games, White Sox & Cubs baseball games, and every so often a Blackhawks game. They also frequent local street fairs, zoos, museums, musical theater, and lots of restaurants. In addition, Misericordia residents’ have their own performing groups known as the dancing Heartbreakers and the singing-and-signing Heartzingers. Not only do they perform at Misericordia sponsored events they also perform for various high schools, Irish festivals, local nursing homes, etc., and have sung the National Anthem at White Sox games.
Health and Therapy
Like people without disabilities, each child and adult at Misericordia has unique medical and often therapeutic needs. Misericordia works diligently to ensure that specialized care is provided for each person to promote good health and well-being.
Our medical team includes our Medical Directors, Brian Chicoine, MD from Advocate Lutheran General, and Maria Brown, MD from Rush. Together they oversee two nurse practitioners, three directors of nursing and our 24 hour nursing staff on campus. We are the primary care provider for many of our residents but families may also choose to continue with their current physician. There are daily clinics with our own staff or with outside providers such as a neurologist, podiatrist, psychologist, psychiatrist, and optometrist. We recently opened the Donovan Dental Clinic which is on campus. here we have a full time hygienist and dental assistant. Dentists, who all trained at Illinois Masonic, work 2 to 3 days a week seeing our residents.
Therapy needs are assessed by physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech & language therapists upon admission and then every five years or as needed. Misericordia has therapy aides and oral motor aides. All goals are individual to the person. Therapist also complete positioning plans, meal time plans, assess oral motor issues, and assist with adaptive equipment should the residents needs change. They coordinate orthotics clinic and wheelchair clinics to ensure our residents have the most appropriate equipment. The Eisenberg Therapy Center was one of the first in the country to include a sensory room. McAuley Residence also has a sensory room which is used daily by the residents. Smaller sensory rooms are available in our day program area and in one of our Quinlan homes. Participation in the sensory program is based on the needs of each individual. McAuley has a hydrotherapy pool and an individual whirlpool. Many residents in other areas enjoy the hot tub which is located in the Moore Aquatics center or do water walking with our aging residents in the pool with a therapist.
The speech therapy department works with residents both individually and in groups. Additionally they are responsible for ensuring meal time plans are in place for all residents and they frequently assess oral motor needs, especially as our residents are aging. They are responsible for updating augmentative communication devices used by several residents who need these devices to communicate their wants and needs.
Behavioral Support Services
Misericordia’s Behavioral Health Services focus on the mental and behavioral well-being for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living within the Misericordia community. Individuals in need of emotional and behavioral support can access a variety of services that provide individual and group work to enhance social, communication and interpersonal skill development. Services include Behavior Support Team, counseling and art therapy. Misericordia also offers the Personal Effectiveness Program (PEP) which is a developmental training program that provides an alternative setting with increased structure and predictability for individuals needing further development of adaptive behavior skills.