Community care is a right

Cedar Rapids Gazette
Published: April 17, 2014

The truth can often be quite harsh. More than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If that doesn’t open eyes, consider the following HHS statistic: Anyone reaching the age of 65 has a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home, with a 20 percent chance of staying there for at least five years.

In many instances, Iowans with a brain injury or a developmental disability are forced to go into a nursing home facility because there has not been enough state funding allocated for home- and community-based services.

Services in a community-based setting vs. an institution have been identified as a right for all Iowans with disabilities. The 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Olmstead v. L.C., ruled that states must provide care and treatment to those with disabilities in the most dignified setting undefined the community. Olmstead’s central holding is that states are prohibited from unnecessarily institutionalizing people with disabilities and from failing to serve them in the most integrated setting. What makes these services even better is they are the least costly option. The law of the land demands that more affordable, more appropriate and more acceptable community services must be an option.  Read more here.