Earlier this month, Guild CEO Amy Sousa wrote an op-ed in Commonwealth Magazine, What’s causing the boarding crisis in hospitals? The article looks at the crisis of psychiatric boarding and its direct connection to the dire need for residential services for people with complex developmental and behavioral health needs.
Since its publication, we’ve heard strong reactions from Guild parents, legislators, and associations in our field. Here is a sampling of responses:
“This is beyond heartbreaking and outrageous. This is one of our most vulnerable populations that is growing at an alarming rate, one we can no longer ignore. There is a tsunami of special needs young adults turning 22 everyday, who will care for them? We need to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. We need a plan, we need one now.”
– Johanne Crawford, Guild parent
“As a wealthy society there is no excuse for this man-made crisis! We are failing the most vulnerable citizens in our state.”
– Laura Maher, Guild parent
“Sadly, we are at the point where we need to organize, protest peacefully, give interviews to the press. Not only for hospitalizations, but for all problems that impact people with disabilities and behavioral associated issues. The disabled suffered through a pandemic and were abandoned in the process.”
– Donna Frank, Guild parent
“I have been aware of the boarding crisis in our emergency rooms for a long time and am eager to support initiatives by the Healey administration and others to meet the challenge. Things are very bad in ERs throughout the Commonwealth because of a lack of staffing leading to staff being overwhelmed and leaving. This is a crisis situation which will only be resolved by hospitals decreasing the number of patients a nurse attends to and overall committing to employing the human resources needed for good patient care.”
– State Representative Carmine Gentile, 13th Middlesex District
“MAAPS is so grateful to The Guild and their fellow Approved Special Education Schools for the exceptional education and services they provide students like Justice. It is clear that The Guild sees the person in all their students, not just the patient or the complications.
Massachusetts currently has many, many more students facing the same challenges as Justice. Special education referrals are climbing in K-12 schools, and the waitlists at residential special education schools are long. We must again invest in a pipeline of diverse, skilled workers, we must invest in making licensure accessible to all who want to educate in Massachusetts, we must invest in our existing programs and agencies, such as DDS as mentioned here, to make sure that those with complex special needs, are not left in precarious situations, as Justice had been before he finally got access to the care and services he deserves at The Guild.”
– Elizabeth D.R. Becker, Esq., Executive Director
Massachusetts Association of Approved Special Education Schools
The Guild is working to be part of the solution as we explore ways to expand our group home capacity. We continue to urge the Commonwealth to make financing supportive residential services for people with complex disabilities a permanent priority.