“Last of the Institutions” – Part 3 will air tomorrow (Wednesday, November 18, 2015) on King 5 in Seattle. Susannah Frame, the investigator on this story has promised this segment will have the stories and view points of families, guardians, professionals and community members who support a full continuum of care for our most vulnerable.
I have been hard on Susannah Frame for the impressions that she has given with regards these issues. I am hard on her since she has been given some information that contradicts much of what she has reported yet has not addressed the issues. I thought that was what an investigation was intended to do and maybe I’m just impatient.
From my perspective and the perspective of many advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Susannah Frame has only regurgitated the rhetoric we have heard for years without looking into why advocates claim the reports (which she terms “scientific research”) are misinterpreted and fall very short of addressing the diversity of the population.
Yes, it is true that MOST people with intellectual/developmental disabilities can live in small community homes and settings but we are not talking about MOST in this situation. We are talking about those who have the very highest support needs and we are talking about safe, appropriate and integrative care.
It is also true that there are some people with these extremely high support needs who do live in small community family homes and settings. No one disputes that fact either.
What we need to understand is that for these people who have extremely high support needs, their care is expensive – no matter where they live. In fact, the cost of their daily personal care alone in a small community home is greater than full, comprehensive care in a therapeutic community.
We only have so many resources to go around and share with a diverse population. What is disturbing to me is this so-called advocacy that wants to evict people from their homes only to push them into another community that will not be able to accommodate their needs. This will then create a much larger crisis for those on the other end of the spectrum who only need a little support – they will go without. Is this advocacy?