Advocacy groups ask for speedy closure of care institutions
Province's plan to move people from institutionalized care into community could take 10 years
Advocacy groups for the intellectually disabled are calling on the province to speed up the closure of institutions.
The call comes after a second recent death at the Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville.
The most recent death of 56-year-old Quest resident Gordon Longphee in Lower Sackville has mobilized those who represent the intellectually disabled.
“Why does the Nova Scotia government warehouse the most vulnerable people in our society in institutions when world-wide studies prove it's detrimental to those living in that environment?” said Brenda Hardiman of Advocating Parents of Nova Scotia.
Hardiman's daughter lives at the Quest facility.
As does Leslie Lowther's son, Richard, who was assaulted just last week.
Both Lowther and Hardiman want their children moved out of the institution to community living with support.
A group called People First Nova Scotia says that move is overdue.
Kelly Murphy works in a small options home that houses three women, who otherwise would be institutionalized or living on the street.
She says having their own home, that is safe and secure, is a wonderful thing to experience.
“We have programs tailored to each specific person, working with them on goals they've set for themselves and we’re there to support them to achieve those goals,” she said.
However moving the hundreds of people in institutionalized care to the community doesn't happen overnight.
The government has a road map for the change but said it could take as long as 10 years to accomplish it.
Deputy Minister of Community Services Lynn Hartwell said the road map also focuses on making sure the appropriate community support is in place.
“Until we have that, until we know we have the opportunity for people to live safely, comfortably and vibrantly in community, it would be irresponsible for us to simply start closing institutions or limiting referrals until people have that place to go.”
In the meantime groups like People First Nova Scotia and Advocating Parents of Nova Scotia are planning protests at institutions like Quest across the province June 8.