Revised July 2012


All clients served by Kokua have the right to maintain their home in a way that is consistent with their personal preferences.  Kokua staff persons should support individual choice making except in circumstances where the client’s choice presents an immediate threat to the client’s health and safety.  Some examples of an immediate threat would be:

  •   Having furniture placed against a heater
  •    Eating food that is moldy or has been stored improperly
  •     Using electric appliances, lamps or extension cords that are damaged or not being used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and in a way that presents a hazard to health.
  •    Loose carpet edge, broken window, black mold, broken items with sharp edges, etc.
  •     Hazardous materials storage that is contrary to the guidelines written in an individual’s IISP or PBSP.

 Supporting choice-making should also include teaching support, including providing information on the pros and cons of decisions that impact health and safety. 


During the writing of the individual’s IISP, each individual client’s capability to maintain a safe home environment should be assessed.  If it is found that an individual receiving service lacks the ability to maintain safety in a particular area, specific direction should be written into the IISP to instruct the staff in providing an appropriate level of oversight or altering the home environment in way that supports the client’s health and safety.  Some examples of areas that could require such guidelines are:

  • Storage of hazardous chemicals or materials.  (Substances which present a hazard can be identified by reading the label on the container or checking a website such as the National Poison Control Center or the National Institutes of Health.)
  •  Proper storage and disposal of materials which present a biohazard.
  •   Safe maintenance of medical equipment.
  •    For individuals receiving less than 24-hour support, regular medication checks to ensure an individual is taking his or her medication as prescribed.
  •  Storage of sharp items such as kitchen knives or razors.

 When an individual receiving services is identified as needing close supervision to maintain a safe home environment, the same types of supports should be provided when the individual is out in public.  Examples of this might be:

  •  Checking a public restroom for hazards before leaving the client in the bathroom alone.
  •  Being aware of any potentially hazards that might be present in a store environment or a public park.


Whenever a threat to health and safety is identified, the employee on hand should

  •  First make an attempt to eliminate the immediate risk
  • Second, immediately notify a supervisor: a Team Leader, Client Services Coordinator, the Director of Client Services or the Independent Living Program Coordinator.  If the situation happens after office hours, the employee is instructed to use Kokua’s On-Call System to seek guidance in taking appropriate action.  It is the responsibility of supervisory staff persons to ensure that the employee has taken action which will remove the hazard or temporarily minimize the hazard until a more long-term solution can be put in place. 
  • Third, if a long-term solution is needed, the Service Coordination Team will begin planning efforts no later than the next Service Coordination Team meeting.  During the time that the plan is being drafted either the Director of Client Services or the Independent Living Coordinator will monitor the situation on a daily basis to ensure the client’s health and safety.



A Safety Equipment Checklist must be completed monthly by direct care staff at every client’s residence.  (This checklist includes fire drill practice, smoke detector check, inspection of first aid kit, checking emergency supplies, checking water temperature, reviewing the Exposure Control Plan and the Disaster Preparedness Plan.)  Any item found wanting must be corrected in a timely manner. 


Additionally, regular, on-site Health and Safety Checks are to be completed for all individuals served by Kokua.  Health and Safety Check Forms are client-specific and are designed to provide a review of essential supports. 

For individuals receiving 24-hour support, the client Services Coordinator is responsible to complete the checks.  The expected frequency for these checks is weekly.  For individuals receiving less than 24-hour support, the Independent Living program Coordinator is responsible to complete the checks.  The expected frequency for these checks is at least every 60 days.  It is understood that the frequency of Health and Safety Checks may be temporarily impacted by staffing shortages or employee illness, but it is expected that the responsible individuals will make a consistent effort to meet these expectations.  If a person responsible for Health and Safety Checks will be absent due to leave or vacation, the Director of Client Services will assign another employee to complete those checks to ensure continuity of oversight.

Client Health and Safety Checks are reviewed weekly at the Service Coordination Team Meeting.  Items needing attention are discussed by the team, a plan of correction is created and tasks and timeframes are assigned.  At each Service Coordination Team Meeting the tasks and timelines from the previous meeting are reviewed to be sure that all issues from the previous week have been resolved satisfactorily.


All new employees will receive safety training, including the proper storage and use of hazardous chemicals.


 If an individual receiving services from Kokua accidently ingests a material that is not intended for human consumption, the staff person should call the Poison Control Center immediately and follow the directions of the Poison Control Center staff.  (1-800-222-1222) As soon as the client is safe, activate the Kokua On-Call System for additional assistance.

Any incident where a client accidently ingests a material not intended for human consumption should be reported to the Executive Director immediately.  The Executive Director will initiate an internal investigation into the causes of the accident and will implement such remedies as are necessary to prevent a recurrence of the accident.


If a client has a need for equipment, materials or services in order to maintain a safe environment and if the client does not have sufficient funds to secure the needed item(s), a written request should be sent to the DDD Case Manager in a timely manner.