Supports Planning Agency Helps Consumers Stay Connected with Technology

photo of nina russell in her home office using a laptop and a smartphone to speak with a consumer during covid-19 quarantine.

Pre-pandemic, the Supports Planning Agency (SPA) at Independence Now relied heavily on being able to see our consumers at least twice per year (but more typically 4-5 times per year). This contact helped us develop a personal connection with our consumers. During the pandemic, we had to stop all in-person contact to protect our consumers who are in high-risk populations. I have found that contacting people more frequently to check in, even if just for a quick chat, has helped continue this relationship and bring us even closer despite not being able to be together in person.

In addition to more frequent check-ins, we have been using this period of time to assist consumers in becoming more comfortable with technology. One of my consumer’s children had purchased them a smartphone years ago so that they could video call, but they had never been able to set it up. After working with them for longer than either of us would care to say (haha), they were able to surprise their daughter by video-calling her on her birthday. Taking that extra time to help someone learn a new skill, achieve a goal, be more comfortable, etc. is what Independence Now is all about!

Independence Now’s mission as a Supports Planning Agency is to support individuals residing in Montgomery County, Maryland, to lead independent and full lives in the setting of their choice. Supports Planning is a Medicaid-funded program for people who have been found medically eligible. From a consumer-driven and person-centered perspective, we assist and support individuals to remain in community settings, the transition from nursing facilities, and coordinate care. Learn more at

Supports Planning Agency Helps Consumers Stay Connected with Technology
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