Press Release

Groundbreaking Institute Launched During Two-Day Transitions Symposium

By: Abbey Graham, Doctoral Student at NC State

Raleigh, NC (May 21-22, 2015).  A two-day symposium launched the NC Department of Health and Human Services pilot initiative—The Transitions Institute—where transitions professionals gathered at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation for networking, collaboration, and training.

Project director for Money Follows the Person (MFP), Trish Farnham, facilitated the Transitions Symposium, a pilot learning initiative sponsored by the NC Department of Health and Human Services committed to supporting professionals working in the transitions field. While North Carolina State University researcher, Dr. Tuere Bowles, concurrently conducted a program analysis of the Transitions Symposium to determine the most effective training methods and sessions, and provide clear recommendations for improvements.

Twenty-five speakers presented from around the state of North Carolina participated in Transition Symposium, titled North Carolina Community Transitions Institute: Ensuring Quality Transitions to Community Life. The event attracted over seventy-five professionals involved in transitions work in roles such as transitions coordinators, care managers, options counselors, and discharge planners.

The two-day learning opportunity covered topics about navigating the logistics of guardianship and power of attorney, understanding social security and benefits, collaborating with facilities, accessing housing options, supporting families and caregivers, promoting the development of independent living skills, and accessing community-based medial resources. The sessions ranged in format from personal points of view, to more logistical and dense information. One of the speakers aptly reminded the participants the transitions profession is “founded in a core of social justice makes sure everyone gets served. ” Thus, the emotional aspect in a few presentations served as a good remind that transitions aren’t all about logistics, but all about logistics centered on what works best for that single individual.

This symposium was pertinent to the transitions field because everybody in the room was working with patients in transition in some form or fashion, gathered on the common belief stated by one participant that a person “should have the freedom to be able to choose to live where you want to and to stay there and be able to be happy and be able to have dignity of risk, and take risk to live where you want to.”

The symposium was the first step in promoting networks and partnerships between individuals across the state of North Carolina who might not otherwise meet, as well as collectively deepening professional’s skills and approaches necessary to ensure a quality transition.