We hear that many people are in need of respite care and I’m sure this is true. I know that when my son was at home the thought of having respite care provided was just a dream. Even though he was on a Home and Community Based Waiver which included respite, he was never approved to have respite.
With respite “beds” in such dire need, it is mind-boggling to me that those who need respite and some major advocacy groups still desire to close the Residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs) in our state. They are oblivious to the facts that the RHCs are part of the continuum of care, providing care for many from various community settings. If they are aware of the facts and they advocate for closure or consolidation, they are really advocating against safe and appropriate care for those who need respite.
For the time period from July 2012 through August 2014, there has been a steady rise in the respite care at our four remaining RHCs. Yakima Valley School, the RHC which has most recently been “studied” for closure, serves an average of 34 community respite clients per month.
When talking about the RHCs these so-called advocates talk only about the permanent residents of the RHCs. We hear that there are only 70 people at Yakima Valley School – forgetting that over the past 2 years there have actually been 920 people served there. Many more people from the community are served at Yakima Valley School than permanent residents.
This is a part of the discussion that needs to be heard. The RHCs are part of the continuum of care and serve many people who reside in the larger community. Without the RHCs, where would these people receive the much needed respite?
The cost of care in the Residential Habilitation Centers is mostly for community care – the permanent residents are less than 50% of the number of clients served.
If The Arc chapters and the Developmental Disabilities Council continue to advocate for consolidation and closure of the RHCs, they are only advocating for fewer and fewer services, both for those in the community and those who are the permanent residents of the RHCs. Where would all the people go and receive care?
Data from Executive Management Information System – Department of Social and Health Services
July 2012 through August 2014