ActionDD, a grassroots organization in Washington State is holding a winter meeting and legislative reception on Tuesday February 7, 2017, in Olympia WA.
I understand the goals of this organization are to keep the RHCs open and I fully agree with that goal. I know that we need to have a full continuum of care to provide the best and appropriate supports to people in the IDD population.
This population is also one that experiences a great healthcare disparity – no matter where one lives. Residence in the RHC does not provide the healthcare and oversight that people are led to believe exists in that setting. Does ActionDD address this issue?
My concerns regarding appropriate healthcare with oversight by healthcare professionals is critical to the management of the RHCs. Currently there is no oversight of the healthcare by the Department of Health and quality standards for healthcare are lacking.
I understand people are afraid to call attention to issues of concern regarding the care in the RHC and often refer to the oversight as being above and beyond that of oversight in community settings. People are afraid that any “bad press” for the RHC will encourage those opposed to a full continuum of care to point out these deficiencies. That may be a risk but there is also a risk to keeping quiet and allowing neglect to occur.
I am guilty of feeling that fear. My son was a victim of various forms of healthcare neglect while living at Fircrest. The neglect was systemic and has left him with life long complications. In my attempts to collaborate and have appropriate care provided, I was ridiculed and harassed by administration for my concerns. My concern for his healthcare was treading on their turn and they had no intention of collaboration. My speaking out about the healthcare neglect has started to open up dialogue but there is a long way to go.