Our Vision

Since its inception, Southwinds has been dedicated to the provision of services which promote the independence, dignity and equality of developmentally challenged adults. Southwinds recognizes that quality may only be defined by the individuals we support and their families, so we must strive to design our services and supports in response to each individual’s need to realize their personal goals. Southwinds, Inc. embraces the principles set forth in “Everyday Lives: Making it Happen”, as adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Developmental Programs. Specifically, Southwinds assures that the services it provides will promote the following components in policy development, service design and every day decision-making:

1. Choice—Individuals must have the opportunity to receive assistance in choosing their personal goals for the future. Southwinds will provide training, counseling and opportunities to experience the options involved in making choices in all aspects of individuals’ lives; including where and with whom they live, if and where they work, who provides services, what recreation and leisure activities are participated in, etc. Supports to overcome any barriers to choice will be provided on a continuous basis.

2. Control—Individuals shall exercise control over their own lives, including building and maintaining personal friendships and intimate relationships with persons of their choice. Individuals shall be permitted to spend their money as they choose, with staff assistance in budget planning and money management. Individuals shall exercise control in the process of health care provision, with training provided by Southwinds in informed decision making regarding their health conditions.

3. Quality of Life—High quality supports shall be provided by Southwinds to assure that individuals maintain a high quality of life. Individuals’ preferences will be considered when making decisions about the type, intensity, location and provider of services. Services will be modified or customized whenever possible to accommodate reasonable requests and preferences of individuals and their families.

4. Stability—No changes shall be made in individuals’ lives without their input and approval. Individuals shall be treated with dignity and respect, and respect must be reflected in the service relationship between Southwinds and the individual at all times. The opinions and preferences of individuals will be included in all planning and decision-making processes. The behavior of Southwinds’ staff will reflect sensitivity and respect—references to and interactions with individuals will be as dignified as possible, supports will not be intrusive or demeaning, there will be concern for the individual’s feelings and an avoidance of anything that might cause the individual and personal, physical or social discomfort, and confidentiality and sensibility will be exercised when speaking about individuals.

5. Safety—Individuals have the right to be safe and feel safe at home, at work, and in their community without living overly protected or restricted lives. Southwinds expressly prohibits abuse, neglect and exploitation for individuals, and has implemented policies and procedures for investigation of all allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

6. Individuality—Southwinds shall promote and support the individuality and personality of each person it serves. Individuals must have the opportunity to organize their personal routine and daily activities to suit their needs and preferences. Southwinds shall encourage individuals to be active in making decisions about their meal times, work schedules, sleep schedules, personal care schedules, leisure time activities, and other routines. When personal choice may be limited because an individual’s preference conflicts with that of a housemate, Southwinds will make every effort to facilitate the negotiation of a reasonable compromise among the persons involved. Individuals must also be provided privacy and time to be alone when desired.

7. Relationships—Southwinds shall support individuals in their relationships with family, friends, neighbors, staff and persons with whom they interact in the community at large. Southwinds will provide training and support to nurture new and existing relationships, and will not interfere with or limit those relationships in any way. Training shall also be provided to individuals in order to protect them from victimization or exploitation, if needed.

8. Freedom—Individuals shall be afforded the right to have the life they want and to negotiate the risk that is inherent in daily life. This includes the opportunity to fully exercise rights as a citizen. Southwinds will provide assistance to help individuals exercise their rights by increasing opportunities to gain personal experience in this area, while emphasizing the responsibilities that accompany such rights. Individuals will be encouraged to appeal decisions that affect them, and will be afforded due process if their rights are limited in any way.

9. Success—Southwinds shall support individuals in living independently and in seeking and maintaining employment with whatever level of assistance is required for a successful life. Satisfaction with living arrangements and work/day environments will be explored with the individual at least annually by the interdisciplinary team.

10. Contributing to the Community—Southwinds shall encourage individuals to be full citizens of the communities in which they live. This includes participation in in community activities and services based on personal choice and preference–leisure and recreation activities, belonging to a religious community, living among their family and friends, working for pay, civic volunteer work, and voting.

11. Accountability—Southwinds shall provide services, and/or work with other service providers if appropriate, to assure that individuals continue to receive the supports they need throughout their lives. Southwinds will anticipate the need to modify services as individuals grow and change, and will continue to allow individuals to make choices and exercise control over their life situations.

12. Mentoring—Southwinds recognizes that quality of service is directly related to the relationships developed over time between individuals and their staff. Southwinds shall assure that new staff are supported by senior staff in getting to know individuals and in learning how to provide the services that individuals want.

13. Collaboration—Southwinds shall work cooperatively with others—both the people and the providers of services—in individuals’ lives in order to provide a seamless system of supports. If an individual expresses dissatisfaction with services provided by Southwinds or others, Southwinds is responsible to work with the individual to fine and pursue other options that may serve the individual better.

14. Community Integration—Individuals shall be assisted to use the resources in their communities to the fullest extent, and not be excluded from resources utilized by the general public. Based on their personal choice and preferences, Southwinds will provide individuals with access to generic community resources such as doctors, banks, restaurants, grocery and retail stores, libraries, hairstylists, etc. Southwinds shall provide support and training, if needed, to enable individuals to actively join in the life of their communities and to interact and socialize with other members of the community.