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Thousands with complicated disabilities languish as Massachusetts struggles with staff shortages at care programs (Boston Globe)

Below is an excerpt from an August 8 article published by the Boston Globe describing the impact of shortages in day care for people with disabilities who have complex medical or behavioral needs. Disability Law Center’s (DLC) Senior Attorney Hillary Stanisz is quoted.

BARNSTABLE — Most days, hour after hour, Tyler Bourne hunches in a blue easy chair in his mother’s living room, watching the reality TV show “Wicked Tuna,” or crinkling up free magazines from Stop and Shop.

He overheats easily, so this time of year, the 37-year-old won’t leave the house for days, sometimes more than a week at a time.

His life wasn’t always so stagnant. Bourne, who was born with a rare chromosomal disorder that caused profound developmental disabilities, attended for about 12 years a day habilitation program, or day hab, in Mashpee five days a week, six hours a day. But over the past three years, he has been allowed back only rarely.

Bourne is among roughly 2,000 individuals, most of them people with complex medical or behavioral needs, who have been effectively exiled from day hab since the pandemic, placed on waiting lists for a service that is much more than just day care. The programs also provide skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, group outings, and opportunities to socialize. But they are currently so understaffed, according to state officials and providers, that some are finding it difficult to provide one-to-one care for everyone who needs it.

Read more at the Boston Globe