A state agency that serves as a watchdog for people with disabilities says the Commonwealth is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by placing people with mental illnesses in personal care homes. A personal care home is a long-term care facility for residents who do not need intensive care but do require more than just room and board. There are more than 6,000 personal care home beds in Kentucky. A report issued this week by Kentucky Protection and Advocacy found that people in these facilities are not given opportunities to interact with others or be part of the community.
“The overreaching issue is that we continue to segregate folks with disabilities into one living arrangement, which has many characteristics of an institution,” says Protection and Advocacy Director Marsha Hockensmith.
The agency surveyed more than 200 residents at 20 personal care homes across Kentucky. The report also documented poor building conditions at the some of the facilities."
Hockensmith says Kentucky needs to explore alternatives to the traditional personal care home model.
“We’re not professing we have all the answers but do bring some knowledge to the table. And there are other states that are looking at this. You know supportive housing is a service, assertive community treatment, case management option for individuals, peer support.”
In response, the head of the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities said that despite having limited funding, personal care homes are able to provide services that are valuable and needed.