This story exemplifies some of my worst fears.
I hate to take advantage of situations which have caused harm to others but in this case, I must point out that this is the very issue which I am trying to advocate against. I have been trying to have the so-called DD Advocates (The Arc, Disability Rights Washington, the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council, the Community Residential Service Associates and others) look at the facts more accurately. They refuse. Maybe more stories such as this will help open their eyes to what they are really advocating for with regards to our most vulnerable citizens with the highest support needs. They are not advocating for safe, quality, cost effective care but for substandard and negligent care. Rather than advocating for the vendors, it is time they really advocated for our citizens in need.
Here is my post to the KOMO News story:
As a healthcare provider, parent of a child with intense support needs and advocate for our most vulnerable citizens, this story more than sickens me. I am appalled at the care, lack of oversight and more that is reported in this story and am so thankful that this man was found and will hopefully now be cared for in a caring, safe, healthy and humane environment for him.
I’m so afraid that we will hear more and more about abuses such as this one. The Arc, Disability Rights Washington and even the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council all oppose any type of congregate care for our most vulnerable citizens – stating that all citizens can be safely cared for in community settings for less cost. The only way to have it cost less than a congregate care community is to endorse negligent care such as this type of care.
With staffing turnover rates of up to 45% in these community settings, there is no stability or sustainability and I wonder about the level of training and lack of back up support for the staff and residents. To me, this situation is a time bomb ready to go off at any moment.
This is so unfortunate since the so-called DD advocates will not address the facts about support care levels and safe care. They support the vendors, such as Service Alternatives rather than our loved ones.
I support a continuum of care model – a model which is based on the assessed needs and choices of the person and their family/guardian. This model includes the Residential Habilitation Center (Fircrest, Yakima Valley School, Rainier School and Lakeland Village) through independent homes. It is the safest and most cost effective model to best serve ALL our citizens with intellectual disabilities.
Much of the factual information has been shared with these so-called DD advocates and legislators – but they do not want to address the facts. I do hope that publicizing these tragedies will serve some good in knocking some sense into those who make the policies. Much of the research regarding the facts of the issues can be found at www.becausewecare1.com.
It is our duty as a society to safely care for our most vulnerable. Yes, this is a hard job, I know, I’ve been there and I am SO thankful for the care that our son is finally able to have at Fircrest. He loves his home there, he loves his school (Shorecrest) and he is active in his community. Yes, it’s not perfect but it’s the best we can do and it is the safest and least restrictive environment for him and many others.
I do know there are some excellent community homes with excellent caregivers. We need to support our caregivers – they are the backbone which provide stability and sustainability.