Note: John O'Brien and Connie Lyle O'Brien have written a number of articles and papers under a subcontract from the Center on Human Policy for the Research and Training Center on Community Living, under a cooperative agreement (Number H133B80048) between the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration. These are available through the Center on Human Policy (see end of article). This is the second of three that will appear in the TASH Newsletter.

Making a Move

Advice from People First Members

About Helping People

Move Out of Institutions & Nursing Homes

In 1990 almost 800 people will begin moving from Washington state institutions and nursing homes into community living arrangements like intensive tenant support, tenant support, adult family homes, and group homes. People First of Washington members who have already made the move have important information to share with the people who are moving.

On Saturday, 4 March 1990, members of People First Chapter form Pierce and Thurston Counties had their regional meeting. About 40 People first members came and participated in a four hour workshop about how People First can help the people who will be moving from nursing homes and institutions. Connie Lyle O'Brien and John O'Brien helped with the workshop by asking questions, by recording People First members ideas on big sheets of paper, by checking back with people to make sure they were understood, by grouping together the things people said and making summaries to check with the whole group, and by putting together this record of the meeting. When they made this record of the meeting, Connie and John used the big charts and the summaries that they made during the meeting. The ideas and most all of the words in this record are People First member's own. Connie and John have sometimes combined what different people said about the same issue and they put some of the points people made into the form of questions to the people who are helping someone to move.

What questions concern people who are going to move?

Many People First members have moved from institutions, nursing homes, and congregate care facilities into their own apartments or into adult family homes or into group homes or into boarding homes. From our experience, we can say what some of the questions and concerns and worries people moving from institutions and nursing homes might have. Everyone has their own questions and worries and concerns. So what's most important is that the people who are helping someone move listen carefully to discover what's important to each individual. No one will have all these questions; and nobody could listen to all the answers at once. So it won't work to just dump the answers to all these questions on people. But by listening and talking to each person - and by having each person talk to People First members - those who are assisting a person to move can figure out how to tell the person what he or she wants and needs to know.

Not everyone may be able to understand the answers to all these questions. that doesn't matter. What matters is that the people helping someone to move have good answers to them.

One People First member pointed out that it's hard to remember if she had all these questions in her mind before she moved. Probably some of the questions come from things that happened after People First members moved. But the whole group agreed that these are good questions. And one person said, "If a person can't ask these questions himself, somebody else should ask them for him."

What can People First do to help people who are moving out of institutions & nursing homes?

For a list of articles and papers by John O'Brien and Connie Lyle O'Brien, please write to Rachael Zubal, Center on Human Policy, 805 South Crouse Ave., Syracuse, NY 13244-2280 or call (315) 443-3851.
This article was prepared by the Research and Training Center on Community Integration, Center on Human Policy, Division of Special Education and Rehabilitation, School of Education, Syracuse University, with support from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, National Institute on disability and Rehabilitation Research, through Cooperative Agreement No. H133B00003-90. No endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of the opinions expressed should be inferred.