Why Community Integration Matters

Share this on:

Disability Law Colorado believes that people with disabilities should have the opportunity to live in the community instead of a nursing home.

Our Position

Since 1976, Disability Law Colorado has advocated moving individuals with disabilities out of large congregate care institutional settings.

Historically those institutional settings in Colorado’s Developmental Disability System were the three state home and training schools (now called regional centers) in Pueblo, Wheatridge and Grand Junction.

In 1977, there were more than 1,500 individuals living in those institutions; today there are fewer than 100 persons living in the regional centers. However, with 260 individuals with developmental disabilities living in nursing homes, Colorado has more people with developmental disabilities institutionalized in nursing homes than in regional centers.

State Olmstead Plan

In August of 2010, Colorado drafted the State Olmstead Plan to align with the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which requires that services be provided in the most integrated setting possible. The plan, which includes data on the numbers of individuals of all ages living in nursing homes throughout the state, highlights the many barriers keeping people with disabilities from living a fully integrated life.

Protection & Advocacy

As the Protection & Advocacy System (P&A), Disability Law Colorado believes individuals with developmental disabilities should not be living in nursing homes, and we have created a new priority for 2011 to examine the use of institutional care for people with developmental disabilities in our state.

With our authority as the P&A System, we have secured the names and locations of people with a developmental disability living in nursing homes from the Division for Developmental Disabilities.

Of the 260 individuals placed in nursing homes, 51 are between the ages of 20 and 50. We will focus initially on these younger individuals. We plan to work in conjunction with the Colorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program to reach out to each of these individuals to identify why they have been placed in a nursing home setting, their views regarding where they are living, and their wishes regarding where they would like to live.

If an individual prefers not to live in a nursing home, Disability Law Colorado will do what we can to assist the individual in finding a new home.

This effort is based on the fundamental belief that people can and should live within their community as independently as possible.