Issue Spotlight | MRCI

Issue Spotlight | MRCI

Caring for Joey

We’ve all heard that anything can happen in the blink of an eye. Well, Patti Dee certainly knows that is true. Pregnant with her son, Joey, she was driving her daughter to preschool one morning when out of nowhere, a truck slammed into the driver side of her car. Her daughter was OK, but Patti was knocked unconscious and went into labor. She was taken to the hospital where doctors successfully prevented her from having a premature birth. It seemed as if everything was going to be alright.  

“When Joey was born, he was cute as a button,” reflects Patti. “Our first boy, after three girls! We didn’t know all the damage that was done to his brain and insides.” In April, Joey is going to be 33, and his brain is like that of a six-month-old.  He has suffered from esophageal reflux problems throughout his life and dystonic seizures that didn’t start until puberty. They used to be once or twice a month and now they happen multiple times every hour. Despite the challenges Joey faces, he brings joy to his family, friends and those lucky enough to know him. “He’s just a joy to be around,” says Patti, “we always say; if you take the ‘e’ out of Joey you get ‘Joy.’ He may be nonverbal and not understand a word you’re saying, but he makes up for it with hugs and smiles.”  

Joey’s family, which includes his parents Dan and Patti and his sisters Reina, Rieanna, and JaNaye, have banded together to care for and create a fulfilling life for him at home. “The doctor said he would never walk but my mom, Pearla, was bound and determined to help him. She would tie a big white dish cloth around his chest and walk him around like a puppet.” It worked; Joey started to walk after the age of two. “We never had any outside help until after he was 18. We actually thought, we can do things on our own.” 

Then one day, a friend at church recommended Patti look into services to help support Joey as he and the rest of the family got older. “I’m glad we took her advice,” remarked Patti. Not long after, she was having her first meeting with MRCI Client Directed Services in her own home. Her program specialist told her how MRCI-CDS could help Joey and her family. “Here we are almost 20 years later and everyone at MRCI-CDS feels like part of the family.”  

Through working with her county resources and MRCI-CDS, Joey was able to start PCA Choice services. This program allows his family to hire their own staff to care for Joey, that includes his parents and his three sisters. “It helps to have people that know Joey so they can understand what he needs because he can’t talk to them.” Patti was later able to add respite services through MRCI-CDS that allowed her and Dan to take a well-deserved break knowing that Joey would be taken care of.  

Most recently, Joey began Night Supervision services which allows for an awake staff to provide care overnight. “The partnership with MRCI-CDS has definitely been a blessing to help Joey have the best life!” Joey spends his days at home with his family while receiving the care he needs. He enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, ice fishing, gardening, and his favorite thing in the world: riding in a boat or on a jet ski.  

MRCI Client Directed Services (CDS), a division of MRCI, is a leading provider of Financial Management Services (FMS) for the State of Minnesota. Since 1998, MRCI-CDS has worked with families throughout the state to provide self-directed services to individuals and families who choose to self-direct their own services. MRCI-CDS offers 10 different programs under five different waivers including the PCA Choice, and 245D licensed programs that Joey’s family uses. If you are interested in our services, or have questions, please call 800-829-7110 or visit mrcicds.org