The South Carolina agency known as Protection and Advocacy has released a shocking study on residential care facilities for people with disabilities after a 14 month-long investigation. The report is titled ?No Place to Call Home.?
Protection and Advocacy Executive Director Gloria Provost is calling for immediate action by the state to protect suffering residents.
Provost says 40 percent of the 150 facilities which were investigated have real problems. She calls the conditions in many of them are disgusting and disgraceful. “Many facilities are filthy. The food is inadequate. Medications are distributed inappropriately and sometimes the wrong medications are given. We found filth, rats, infestations of cockroaches. That’s why our report is called ‘No Place to Call Home.'”
But Prevost says not all of the facilities are bad places. “The ones we are most concerned about are those receiving federal funding, with maybe some state suppliment. The best ones are those with private funding, with better oversight. And if a bad facility looses it s license and appeals, it may continue accepting clients.”
Protections and AdvocacProtection and Advocay has been investigating facilities since 1984 and has offices in Columbia, Greenville, Charleston and Florence. . It was established in 1977. Its mission is mandated by state and federal law, to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
While Prevost says the lack of appropriate state or federal funding is part of the problem, the main problem is lack of oversight. And she says the list of problems at some of the facilities is long. “There have been issues of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and heating and cooling problems.”
And she says some of the residents are really isolated. “Sometimes there’s no oversight at all from family and friends. Many of the facilities are in rural areas and residents spend seven days a week in a place that’s hard to get to, without any community socialization at all.”
Prevost says through the report, her agency is urging the state to take action to protect residents. She says the regulations governing care facilities should be revised to give licensing agencies more enforcement options against frequently cited facilities and administrator. That would include the power to suspend new admissions with repeated, uncorrected violations, and the power to make suspension of operations automatic when a license has been revoked.