Individuals with Disabilities Lead Richer Lives in their Communities
This page includes two brochures developed in 2008 which address the need for disability community services in Massachusetts. Additionally they educate the reader on what is available today for children and adults. 
 
The first brochure is a plea for further community investment.  It provides an overview and The Arc's position on responding to the need that exists.   From the funding perspective, a combination of new public dollars and the re-use of existing dollars presently spent in institutional settings such as state schools and nursing homes is necessary.  This requires a transition for some individuals.  Some people will be resistant to change, but if we are to address the large need that exists, we need to move ahead.
 
The second brochure shares two stories and helps educate all of us that individuals with complex medical needs can not only be served in the community but that their quality of life is actually higher in personalized, smaller settings.  What you and I take for granted is true for children and adults with disabilities. 
 
Below the links to the brochure is the background to the Rolland Nursing Home Settlement & a downloadable link to a paper which reviews the settlement and addresses concerns.
Informational brochures
 
 
2.  Quality of life-- individuals with complex medical needs in the community. 
 
Read Information about the Rolland Settlement below.
 
Read full memo including answers to questions about the settlement here.

Memorandum on the Rolland Settlement
By Nancy Zollers with Leo Sarkissian

Recently a column (Cullen, June 30) and series of letters (July 6) appeared in the Boston Globe attacking the goal of a recent civil rights settlement known as Rolland or the Nursing Home Settlement. The letters say little about the goals of the settlement which creates quality community living options for people with developmental disabilities who reside in nursing homes. They also leave much unsaid about the reality of institutions, in this case, nursing homes for people with mental retardation or developmental disabilities, and the progress that The Arc and other advocates have made in achieving an improved quality of life for those with such disabilities.

As we ponder the Globe’s motives for devoting an inordinate amount of print to one point of view (our friend, Bill Henning, executive director of Boston Center for Independent Living has often pointed out the “Globe editorial board’s historical bias”), we take this opportunity to update you on the 10 year old Rolland nursing home litigation and the nature of The Arc of Massachusetts’ values, leadership and ongoing 50-year-plus commitment with regard to citizens with profound impairments and/or complex medical disabilities.

History
The Rolland class action lawsuit filed in 1998 in US District Court in Springfield on behalf of an estimated 1600 nursing facility residents with mental retardation or developmental disabilities. The Arc and the Stavros Center for Independent Living are organizational plaintiffs in the case. The case challenged class members’ placement in nursing homes as a violation of the American with Disabilities Act, which requires states to provide people with disabilities with the most integrated services appropriate to their needs.

None of us want our parents, other loved ones or friends ending up in a nursing home. Yet people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are significantly younger than most nursing home patients, too often are placed in these facilities. In addition to the number of people inappropriately sent to nursing homes, the facilities often lack any habilitation objectives or active treatment for these residents, which is the federal standard for quality care. In a setting such as Seven Hills Nursing Home or Pediatric Center, families feel their loved ones receive better treatment than in a typical nursing setting, but, according to recent independent reviews by the Court Monitor, they do not receive the federal standard of active treatment according to a report submitted to the US District Court.

Under the landmark agreement reached by the parties in January 2000, the state has moved about 1000 class members from facilities to more appropriate community settings. A second settlement will result in the community placement of additional 640 nursing facility residents, as well as new “ transitional services” that will assist these individuals in preparing for the move to the community. These new services include visits by staff, community outings, therapies, etc. These new services were due to the settlement and were funded by dollars beyond the typical nursing home reimbursement. A small minority (fewer than 100 people) would remain in nursing homes and these individuals were entitled to receive more attention and treatment than they were presently receiving. A third group of beneficiaries were the hundreds of people who would have ended up in nursing homes but instead were diverted to community options because of the settlement. They and their families have not had to experience the ordeal of considering an institutional facility. The Arc is proud to be part of these achievements as an organizational plaintiff in the case. We recognize the important role that the attorneys in the case played and continue to play through the Center for Public Representation, Disability Law Center, Mental Health Legal Advisors and Foley Hoag LLP.