The article “Mass. residents with disabilities file suit over living conditions: Say they are unnecessarily in nursing homes” (Metro, Oct. 13) highlights an area of social justice that demands attention. People with disabilities shouldn’t be isolated in nursing facilities, nor should they be transferred to a community setting where they continue to live as if still institutionalized. They should be given the supports they need to live in the community and have real lives.
Our approach, which we’re piloting in Greater Boston and Central Massachusetts, integrates occupational therapists into group home care teams to work directly with residents with acquired brain injuries (developed through disease, stroke, overdose, or accidents), teaching them skills, from personal care, to cooking, laundry, and shopping, that foster greater independence. Occupational therapists also train staff with an emphasis on supporting residents in these skills, rather than doing everything for them.
We’re collaborating with state agency officials to expand this innovative pilot because it’s working. We’ve seen adults with acquired brain injuries regain confidence and a sense of agency over their own lives — something that would never be possible for them in a nursing facility.
MAB Community Services