Simmons School
of Nursing & Health Services

Operation House Call is offered at Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences in collaboration with The Arc of Massachusetts (www.arcmass.org). Its goal is to help health care practitioners to build sensitivity and modern expertise into their awareness of issues affecting persons with intellectual/developmental disability (IDD). At the core of this program is the idea that families are the best teachers.

These are the components of Operation House Call at Simmons:

An orientation class taught by the Operation House Call Parent Instructor.

A half hour visit from a self advocate with IDD in class.

An online learning OHC website which provides articles and resources, and video clips, and a private class forum. (Note: The forum is only accessible to OHC staff, your class peers, and your clinical supervisor.)

A two hour home visit to your OHC volunteer host family with your student partner.

Documentation of your home visit learning experience in the student forum on the OHC website.

An Inter-Professional (IP) assignment turned returned to Annette Coscia, Admin. Assist. to the Dean of Simmons School of Allied Health Sciences.

Each student participant will receive a response from the OHC Parent Instructor or a member of the OHC Team in the online forum. Students are allowed to comment on each other’s contributions. This allows students to share their observations and learning with their peers, and explore topics raised during their home visit.

No two families are the same. Operation House Call helps students learn to learn from families as they meet the responsibilities of daily life and the support needs of their loved one. Each family shares a unique perspective and expertise in supporting their loved one. All speak about their experience of health care: what has been helpful, or what has been difficult. Students will find out about a family’s supports, or lack thereof, their community activities and services, their relationships, and their perspective on how their family thrives.

In this way health care professionals learn about daily lives, not just diagnoses, about love and advocacy from those who care most. The learner practices building rapport and gaining information beyond purely “medical” concerns. Because the learning is done outside of an acute care situation the student has a chance to focus on these things without the stress of acute care needs.

Simmons Operation House Call Team:

Maura Sullivan, OHC Program Director and Parent Instructor, sullivan@arcmass.org

Ann Bersani, OHC Parent Instructor at Simmons bersani@arcmass.org

Kim Walsh, OHC Family Coordinator, walsh@arcmass.org