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Plea To Pritzker: Act On Nursing Facility Deaths

Disability rights advocates from ADAPT and their allies in the Alliance for Community Services are launching an effort to get Governor Pritzker to reduce the dangerous overconcentration of people in institutions, while addressing safety risks faced by consumers and workers.

"The governor has taken some important positive steps in this crisis, but people with disabilities, especially those stuck in unacceptably dangerous institutions, again, seem to be last to be taken into consideration," said Chicago ADAPT Co-Coordinator Noah Ohashi. "Long-term care institutions, like detention centers and prisons, are COVID petri dishes, and the state should accelerate de-institutionalization, while ensuring people with disabilities (PWDs) - in both institutions and on their own, as well as frontline caregivers, have safe, decent environments."

Despite the obvious hazard facing nursing facility residents and staff, and the benefit to decentralizing PWDs, court-ordered programs to transition PWDs to independent living have been put on hold, rather than sped up, and ombudsmen are barred from inspecting facilities.

About a quarter of all Cook County COVID deaths were persons in long-term care facilities. People with disabilities (PWDs) report that many facilities don't have personal Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and have poor safety protocols for both residents and staff. In addition, PWDs living on their own face fewer immediate health hazards but also lack PPE and access to information and support personnel.

Among the campaign's demands:

* accelerate the de-institutionalization process (use vacant CHA or hotel rooms if needed)

* acquire and proved PPE to facility residents, caregivers and PWDs involved in home services programs

* provide communications technology to PWDs

* require facilities to report on cases and deaths, to residents, next of kin and IDPH

* declare ombudsmen and monitors to be essential personnel, provide them the PPE needed to safety inspect any facility

* ensure access to or delivery of food and medicine (Denver's paratransit is acting as delivery program for PWDs), and enable remote use of SNAP (some PWDs have value on link cards, but cannot get to a store)

More of the disability community demands around COVID can be found here.

Chicago ADAPT is a chapter of the national network of direct action disability rights groups. It is a core partner, with community, labor and disability rights groups, in the Alliance for Community Services.

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See also:

The two biggest failures in Illinois - and probably the nation and the world.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on April 21, 2020


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