Some advocacy groups for people with disabilities say the Lubbock State School should be shut down. Next week, they will bring that message to the state legislature. The Disability Policy Consortium plans to rally on the Capitol steps Monday morning. Their complaints stem from a Department of Justice report that found several inadequacies at the school.
Neil Davidson says if people want to rally, they should ask for more staffing, not closure. His daughter has lived here at the state school for ten years. He admits, there have been problems, but says the quality of care continues to improve.
"I don't want anybody saying they're going to shut down my daughter's home and close her neighborhood because they don't like that the level of care was below what is ideal at some point in time," said Davidson.
Davidson is the president of the Lubbock State School's parents association.
"I know from looking at that report there were obviously a few mistakes that were made," Davidson said.
The Department of Justice says the Lubbock State School departs from generally accepted professional standards of care, citing that 17 residents died since their June 2005 tour.
In one instance, inspectors found staff members panicked after finding a resident unresponsive. That resident died, and a subsequent investigation found falsified records saying the patient had been checked. They also found empty oxygen tanks in the infirmary, and say physical and occupational therapy services are inadequate. Inspectors also say psychiatric services are not up to standard, and that state school employees do not monitor the use of restraints properly.
"We noticed that our staffing was shorter then; people were having to struggle more to provide quality care that they needed," Davidson said.
The report cites this several times as well, stating "Overall deficiencies in nursing relate to the shortcomings in staffing." They were, "compelled to note that fundamental causes of these deficiencies is staffing," Davidson added. At one point they noted "dangerously low staffing."
"We have family members out here every day of the week. If they see something that's a short coming, often they'll bring it to the administration, and it will immediately be addressed. It doesn't mean that we haven't had people who have made mistakes, or staff that have veered or maybe not followed policy, but there's an open system where that communication is always there, and we have felt very supported. As far as I'm concerned, they can advocate for their opinion and their family, but I don't want them speaking for me, and I don't want them speaking for my daughter and taking her home away without asking. I they want to advocate for what's best, they should advocate for stronger staffing," Davidson said.
The disability policy consortium plans to rally at 11:00 am Monday in Austin.
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