• Do you Support Residential Habilitation Centers? (RHC’s)


  1. Absolutely, I support residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs)! Many years ago they were converted from custodial care institutions to campus based, full service, therapeutic communities. Serving some of our state’s most severely debilitated persons with intellectual/physical intellectual disabilities, they provide individualized care plans for each resident, whether they are there for crisis stabilization, respite care or long term residential care and treatment. Furthermore, those which combine a nursing facility with an intermediate care facility have the ability to transition a person who is aging out of capacity in much the same way that full service senior homes that combine independent living, supported living and memory care do for seniors without IDD.

    Around the country, its finally being recognized that some people with IDD do better in community with their peers. When you think about it, what is so great about always being the least able among typically able people, always feeling different and somehow less than because you are constantly surrounded by people with more capacity than you have? Yes, having the same rights and amenities as neuro-typical people have is important; and for some it works best for them to function semi-independently in supported living in the larger community. But, for others, there is far more freedom and support for independent skill building available to them in the RHCs. Part of what makes this possible is the sharing of centralized therapeutic and specialized resources. The convenience of having all of their service needs met on campus permits a fuller life for folks whose service needs are intensive.

    Having for many years been my sister’s care-giver, then guardian, the other thing I appreciate about RHCs is the strictness of the standards and audits tied to funding. Since my sister was abused in a group home, little has improved about oversight of community facilities. By and large, that system is still, for the most part, about responding to complaints (or not) rather than preventative oversight to dissuade abuse and neglect. But, by the time a complaint is lodged, harm has usually already been done. THAT IS TOO LATE! Strict RHC audits, tied to federal funding, that often raise the bar of standards, over the years have helped ensure RHC practices designed to ensure safety and prevent abuse that the larger community of providers have not yet, as a whole, been motivated to implement. That needs to change.

    Thanks for having asked this important question.

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