Experiencing any trauma can be challenging, especially when it affects the brain. Though it can feel isolating, a traumatic brain injury is not something we have to face alone. Independent Living Skills Training (ILST) is a Medicaid program specifically designed for those who have experienced a traumatic or acquired brain injury to learn the skills necessary to live safely and independently. ILST assists in recovering skills that have decreased as a result of onset of disability. It is geared towards individuals with progressive illnesses to help them maintain essential skills.

In Colorado, ILST services can be covered through a brain injury waiver, which is an extra set of Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) benefits that qualified applicants can receive. This waiver helps people with a brain injury who need extra support to live in their communities. 

The ILST program is funded through the State’s Health Care Financing Program (HCFP) and administered by Colorado Health Care Financing and Policy (HCPF). The program works by providing grants to agencies that offer approved services, which may include nursing care, personal care, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), and vocational training; all in the comfort of their home.

ILST Benefits 

Working with an ILST Trainer can have numerous benefits, including increased independence and improved quality of life. ILST can help individuals with disabilities develop essential life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. They can also provide support in areas such as communication, transportation, and community engagement. 

Although each individual’s recovery journey is unique, those who have undergone brain injury or stroke rehabilitation could benefit the most from Independent Living Skills Training. Independent life skills training covers a wide range of activities and skills necessary for daily living. Some of these include:

  • Self-care: Personal hygiene, grooming, dressing, and toileting.
  • Meal Preparation: Cooking, planning, and grocery shopping.
  • Home Management: Cleaning, laundry, and budgeting.
  • Mobility: Using assistive devices, navigating public transportation, and driving if appropriate.
  • Communication: Effective communication, social skills, and using technology.

An ILST Trainer works closely with an individual’s family, physicians, therapists, and/or social workers to develop a comprehensive plan for addressing their needs, assessing their progress, and anticipating their future requirements. Ultimately, an ILST Trainer should be dedicated to helping individuals achieve their goals and live their lives to the fullest. 

The timing for ILST Training depends on the individual’s medical condition, progress in rehabilitation, and overall readiness. It is essential to consult with healthcare professionals, including physicians, Occupational Therapists, and psychologists to determine the appropriate time to begin training. 


ILST is funded by Colorado Medicaid and applicants must meet financial and program requirements to access Brain Injury waiver services. Applicants must also be willing to receive services in their home or community.

Level of Care Requirement:

  • must need long-term services similar to those you would access in a nursing home or a hospital.

Eligibility Group:

  • must be 16 years or older
  • must have a brain injury
  • the brain injury must have occurred before your 65th birthday
  • diagnosis must fit within certain categories

Financial Requirements:

  • income must be less than three times the current Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limit per month. (See SSI website for current information)
  • For singles, resources must be less than $2,000. Married people’s countable resources must be less than $3,000.
  • If you do not meet these financial requirements, you may be eligible through the Health First Colorado Buy-In Program for Working Adults with Disabilities.

ILST at Andrea’s Angels, Inc. 

Andrea’s Angels Inc. is dedicated to community and care. We pride ourselves on delivering an elevated level of care to our patients who have suffered brain injuries. Whether you need minimal assistance or specialized services, we deliver the same exceptional support. Our care team pairs you with the perfect ILST (Independent Living Skills Trainer) so you enjoy individualized, sensitive care that suits your lifestyle.

Our ILST program helps bridge the gap between families and caregivers with care that empowers, encourages, and engages our clients. Our ILST trainers are specially trained in and have prior experience working with various  types of brain injuries. 

Our ILST Process:

  • In-Home Engagement Assessment: Each ILST client receives an Engagement Assessment so the whole care team, including the family, can learn how to better support that individual.
  • Side-by-side care plan development: We involve the patient’s whole team, including family, in the planning process
  • Comprehensive ILST Assessments throughout all stages of care
  • Resources & service recommendations from our memory care experts
  • Care Coordination with your Care Team such as:
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Physical Therapist
    • Registered Nurse
    • Speech Language Pathologist
    • Psychologist
    • Neuropsychologist
    • Medical Doctor
    • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
    • Licensed Professional Counselor

Summing it up:

The benefits of ILST programs are numerous. They provide a great outlet for individuals to work on their physical and cognitive skills, while also helping them learn how to manage their symptoms. These programs can help people improve their social interactions, build confidence and self-esteem, and encourage independence after a brain injury. ILST programs provide a great way for those who have suffered from brain injuries to grasp the skills and tools necessary to live a happy fulfilling life. Individuals are able to not only learn valuable skills, but they are also supported by staff and resources that empower them. ILST can foster hope for both the patient and their family by helping them understand that a full and satisfying life is possible after injury.

Andrea’s Angels is dedicated to helping individuals who have suffered a brain injury regain the skills they may have lost while improving their lives. They are given supervision and structure in their day to see how they perform, but they are also given flexibility in their day so they can learn at their own pace. We understand that the impact of brain injury is far reaching and we are here to help. Our ILST program is designed to give the brain injury survivor a realistic chance to become as independent as possible in every aspect of their daily lives.


The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. 

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