An alternative of the hab center
From Missouri Digital News:
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed


MDN Help

MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed


MDN Help

MDN.ORG Mo. Digital News Missouri Digital News MDN.ORG: Mo. Digital News MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
Lobbyist Money Help  

An alternative of the hab center

Date: May 29, 2012
By: Tong Gao
State Capitol Bureau

In her last report, Missouri Digital News reporter Tong Gao explored the controversy over plans to reduce facilities that provide full-time residential care for people with mental disabilities. Today, Gao looks at the alternative being proposed for the residents of these facilities.
RunTime:  3:07
OutCue:  SOC



Actuality:  MH_031.WAV
Run Time:  00:04
Description: NAT: "You silly. I love you."

Tish Thomas' sister Molly had lived in the Marshall Habilitation Center for six decades.

Actuality:  MH_035.WAV
Run Time:  00:06
Description: "All the time that I grew up, Molly really wasn't much of a part of our family life."

Things changed in 2009 when Thomas decided to move her sister to a community group home in Columbia.

For the first time since she left her family farm, Molly attended a family reunion.

Actuality:  MH032.WAV
Run Time:  00:17

Description: "Siblings who haven't seen her in decades... saw her. She had lunch with us. Nieces and nephews who'd never met her got to meet her. It was wonderful. It was wonderful."

Thomas says she has learned that living in a community is a more humane option.

Actuality:  036.WAV
Run Time:  00:06
Description: "She went from 17 medications a day to five"
In addition to reduced medication, Tish says her sister is also having food she'd never tasted.  
Actuality:  MH_037.WAV
Run Time:  00:18
Description: "You know we also discovered she didn't need to have pureed diet or her food pureed. She loves to eat oriental food, Mexican food, humburghers. She's not just a new person and just blossoming. She's experiencing new things."

However, some parents with loved ones living the habilitation centers say they doubt their loved ones would be able to receive the same service in a community setting.

Now that the Department of Mental Health is going to close Northwest Habilitation Center, Maggie Webb is facing choices to move her daughter to another habilitation center versus a community group home.

Actuality:  MH_038.WAV
Run Time:  00:29
Description: "We feel that the community placement is not a safe place because she will not have all the things that she needs. She will not have the care of the doctors right there or the nurses right there. She'll have to go our to the community to find people to take care of her. We've always felt safe that she was there that could call the nurses from the nurse office when something happened. And many times they've had to do that."

Tish Thomas, whose sister is now living in a community now, says she understands how those parents feel after she had gone through Molly's transition.

Actuality:  MH_039.WAV
Run Time:  00:15
Description: "The habilitation center is a known safety... safe place that their loved ones have been. To make that change to the community. Will you have good staff? Will you have all the services provided? Yeah, I went to that whole things."

But instead of staying there and refusing the change, Thomas took control.

Actuality:  MH_0310.WAV
Run Time:  00:11
Description: "People who still have a loved one in an institution need to be proactive and get them out. Find a good provider. Take your time. Because they are closing all over the country."
As Thomas said, the hablitation centers are closing over the country, not only in Missouri.
A representative is trying to develop a smoothy transition plan to move the residents out of the habilitation centers.
In my next report, love clashes in fight over the future of Missouri mental health industry.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Tong Gao.