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here - The Center for Outcome Analysis
Health and Health Care During
America’s Deinstitutionalization
and Disability Rights Movements
Reflections on a Half Century of Progress
James W. Conroy, Ph.D.
The Center for Outcome Analysis, www.eoutcome.org
Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association
Orlando, May 3, 2014
Three Themes Today
 Community – People are better off
– Deinstitutionalization has enhanced outcomes – quality
of life, health, and longevity
 Mortality scare in community debunked
– The past 18 years of “scare” about higher mortality in
the community is the result of a simple counting error
 Future: Relationships & quality of life
– Real life quality means relationships & participation
– Without which health & safety are hollow
– The real goal of health care for people is to be able to
“have a good life” (or “to get my life back”)
First, A Bit of History
 History is important
 Those who ignore history are doomed to...
Major in something else….
For 100+ Years, What Did America
Do With People Like Mike?
 Diagnose him
 Exclude him from
school
 Tell his parents that he
needed medical care
 That he could never
learn and would bring
no joy to the family
 That he needed to live
in a large facility
Why Did Parents Do This?
Because professionals
told them to
Primarily doctors
Doctors had authority
Knew “what’s best”
With the best
intentions
Movement from Institution to
Community
From large, segregated,
historically state of the
art settings
To small, integrated,
more recent models of
what a “home” means
18
50
18
60
18
70
18
80
18
90
19
00
19
10
19
20
19
30
19
40
19
50
19
60
19
70
19
80
19
90
20
00
20
02
20
04
20
06
20
08
20
10
20
12
1000s of People
150 Years of Institutionalization
200
180
160
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
Year
18
50
18
60
18
70
18
80
18
90
19
00
19
10
19
20
19
30
19
40
19
50
19
60
19
70
19
80
19
90
20
00
20
05
# of Institutions
Number of Public Institutions
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
Number of People in Institutional and
Community Homes (DD)
450
400
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
06
03
00
97
94
Community
91
88
85
82
79
76
73
70
67
64
61
58
55
52
Institution
U.S. Deinstitutionalization –
Developmental Disabilities Versus Mental Illness
600
500
300
200
100
Calendar Year
Developmental Disabilities
Mental Illness
20
05
20
07
20
09
20
11
20
13
20
00
19
95
19
90
19
85
19
80
19
75
19
70
19
65
19
60
19
55
0
19
50
1000s of People
400
Source of The Institutional Model
 Brought to the U.S. in 1848
 By Samuel Gridley Howe
 From a “model program” in Germany
 The vision was a self-sufficient agrarian
community
 Free from pressures of normal life
 Protected, safe, healthy
Acceptance of the Institutional Model
 First publicly funded
facilities -- 1848 Fernald Center,
Massachusetts
 1849 Dorothea Dix Center,
North Carolina
 1849 California Prison Ship,
San Francisco Bay – 30
inmates – Stockton 1851
 All meant to do good
By 1866, Samuel Gridley Howe Was
Saying This:
 “… all such institutions are unnatural,
undesirable, and very liable to abuse.
 We should have as few of them as is
possible, and those few should be kept as
small as possible.”
 Such persons [with disabilities] ... should
be kept diffused among sound and
normal persons.
How Did America Respond to the
Advice of its Greatest Expert?
300
 Quick!
 Build more!
 Diagnose more people!
 Keep the facilities full!
 We need more staff!
 We need higher pay!
# of Institutions
 Make them bigger!
250
200
150
100
50
 WE STILL NEED
18
50
18
60
18
70
18
80
18
90
19
00
19
10
19
20
19
30
19
40
19
50
19
60
19
70
MORE STAFF!
0
The Dark Side of Good Intentions
 We adopted and spread the “Eugenics” period
of American history, 1880 to about 1920
 Social Darwinism was the key concept
 America decided “These people are inferior”
 They cannot be permitted to breed
 They should be isolated from society
 Thereby we could improve the human race
 Thinking later adopted by Germany’s Nazi
party - using Oliver Wendell Holmes’ writings
“This Is Where I Came In”
 A personal note
 1970, just out of University
 No idea what to do with a degree in
Physiological Psychology
 Got a strange job by pure chance
 Working on a national survey of people
with “developmental disabilities”
 Right at the national peak of institutions
Went to Collect Scientific Data
 At an institution named
“Pennhurst State School
and Hospital”
 Located near Valley
Forge, the cradle of
American liberty
 I was stunned
 Saddened
 Disappointed in my
country
 This – during Vietnam,
civil rights, and women’s
liberation movements?
Pennhurst: Poor Conditions
 2800 people lived there
 Horribly overcrowded
 People were left in cribs all
day and night
 Broken bones went
untreated
 “Problem” people had all
teeth pulled
 “Bathing” was often a hose
sprayed at a group in a
room with a floor drain
Skewed Values in the US
 1969: The average cost
per person at Pennhurst
was $5.90 per day
 The average cost of
keeping a leopard at the
Philadelphia zoo was
$7.15 per day
 Was this the Economy of
Scale thinking at work?
I Believed Then That We Should
Improve the Institution
 Spent 12 years working on this
 We worked in a model institution, built in
1972, not overcrowded, and with access to
huge resources in money and University
faculty and students
 I was able to show scientifically that
tremendous resources did result in minor
skill development and small improvements
in qualities of life
But We Got A Big Surprise
 In the midst of America’s efforts to create
“good” institutions
 A U.S. Federal Court declared Pennhurst to
be “Unconstitutional by its very nature”
 Because it was specifically and consciously
designed to segregate
 And because the people
– had lost skills (they
– had been harmed)
Judge Ordered All People Should
Have a Chance to Live in Society
 I was a skeptic
 Deinstitutionalization
in the mental illness
field had been a
disaster and a disgrace
 I thought this would
be, too
 So I wanted to do
research on this
The Pennhurst Longitudinal Study
 Began in 1979
 Largest such study ever done
 Tracked 1,154 people
 Visited every person every year
 Surveyed every family every year
 Measured qualities of life and satisfaction
and costs
 (This process still continues in 2007)
Purposes of Pennhurst
Longitudinal Study
 Track 1,154 people
 Are these people better off?
 In what way(s)?
 How much?
 At what cost?
 What problems and deficiencies can be
detected and addressed?
Aspects of Quality of Life
 power to make one’s own life








choices (self determination)
skill development
emotional adjustment
challenging behavior
attitudes and experience of
caregivers
health
use of medications
earnings
hours per week of productive
activity
 relationships
 family contacts
 financial interest in the home
 satisfaction
 individual wishes, and




ambitions
home environment
family/next friend opinions and
satisfaction
integration
individual planning process
What Kind of People?
 Average age 39 years
 4% deaf
at the beginning of the
study
 Had lived at Pennhurst
an average of 24 years
 64% male
 33% had seizures
 13% blind
 18% unable to walk
 50% nonverbal
 47% less than fully
toilet trained
 40% reported to be
violent at times
 86% “severe or
profound”
What Kind of Community
Homes?
 “Community Living
Arrangements
 3 people
 Some with live-in staff
 Most with shift staff
 24 hour staffing
 With licensing,
monitoring, and case
management oversight
Pennhurst Results: Were People
Better Off?
Independence
Yes, 14% gain
Challenging
Behavior
Health
Yes, 8% improvement
Integration
Choicemaking
No change in general
health, longevity increased
Large increases in outings
and friendships
Increased opportunities to
make choices
Pennhurst Results: Were People
Better Off?
Consumer
Satisfaction
Family
Satisfaction
Those who could
communicate with us were
much happier in every way,
would never want to go
back
Families initially opposed
the move, changed their
minds; overwhelmingly in
favor; and very surprised
Pennhurst Results: Were People
Better Off?
Qualities of
Environments:
Physical Quality Yes, scores increased from
76 to 86 (12% increase)
Normalization
Yes, scores increased from
-232 to +172
Individualization Yes, scores increased from
58 to 65 (12% increase)
Pennhurst Results: Were People
Better Off?
Productivity
Services
Services
Services
Costs
Increased day program
hours, employment,
earnings, household chores
Increased teaching time
Increased Case Manager
contacts
Increased therapies
Down from $47,000 to
$40,000 (about 15%)
The Pennhurst Longitudinal Study:
1154 People, 20 Years
INDEPENDENCE
Increased 14 scale points (100)
SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
Improved 8 scale points (100)
SELF-DETERMINATION
Increased
Choice making
Increased:
Day program hours, Employment,
Earnings, Household chores
Increased
Outings, Friendships
More positive:
Neighbors, General Public, Media
Much happier (those able):
In every area; never want to go back
Radical, dramatic shift from anti to pro:
Perceived improvements in every area
Enhanced:
Physical quality, Individualization,
Normalization
Increased services: More
teaching/training, More therapies,
Higher goal attainment, More Case
Manager contact, More consumer
involvement, Enhanced planning
process, Increased monitoring
Illustrated the outcomes
PRODUCTIVITY
INTEGRATION
COMMUNITY ATTITUDES
CONSUMER SATISFACTION
FAMILY SATISFACTION
QUALITIES OF ENVIRONMENTS
SERVICE DELIVERY PROCESS
CASE STUDIES
COSTS
Decreased by 26%
(Matched comparison)
Did the Pennhurst Results Meet
the Scientific Test of Replication?
 Yes, 1356 people in Connecticut
 Yes, 1000 people in Oklahoma
 Yes, 400 people in New Hampshire
 Yes, 1100 people in North Carolina
 Yes, 200 people in Kansas
 Yes, 400 people in Illinois
 Yes, 2400 people in California
California Coffelt Study, 2001:
Family Perceptions – “Much Better Off” in Every
Way – Including Health and Dental Care!
Privacy
Getting out and getting around
Happiness
Comfort
Overall quality of life
Making choices
What he or she does all day
Treatment by staff/attendants
Relationship with friends
Safety
Food
Dental
Health
Relationship with family
0.0
1.0
2.0
Then
3.0
Now
4.0
5.0
Now We Have Followed More
Than 7,000 People
 As they moved out of
institutions
 Into regular homes in
communities
 Other researchers have
gotten the same results
 Australia, Canada,
England, New
Zealand, France,
Sweden, etc.
The Mortality Issue
Death Rates:
Institution Versus Community
 In 1996, a few researchers published a paper
 It claimed that death rates were higher in
California’s community homes than in the
institutions
 Using a lot of complex math, they said death rate
in community was 72% higher than in the
institutions
 (Also 72% higher in FAMILY homes than in the
institutions -- !!! No one noticed this finding. More about
that later.)
The First Study
 Strauss, D., & Kastner, T. (1996).
Comparative Mortality of People with
Mental Retardation in Institutions and the
Community. American Journal on Mental
Retardation, 101, 1, 26-40.
Impact – Courts & Media





This paper led to later papers
Altogether 7 published studies (Citations)
This body of work became a “death scare”
Tactic used in every deinstitutionalization case
Voice of the Retarded hired and paid:
– Lawyers (Bill Sherman, Tom York)
– Researchers (Ted Kastner, Kevin Walsh)
 They made sure the death scare was entered into every
court record
 And they sought wide media attention
 Most recently raised in a joint legislative session on
closures in New Jersey (by shouting advocates)
The Entire Foundation of the
Strauss Studies: DC Mortality
 All Strauss & Kastner studies are founded on their
estimate of the Developmental Center (DC)
mortality rate
 Original 1996 study, Strauss & Kastner reported:
– 16.0 per 1,000 per year
 California state agency (DDS) actually counted
each death, by name and date, and reported
– 18.2 per thousand per year
 (There are more details & clues about errors)
Which Figure Was Right?
 Lakin, K.C. (1999).
– Observations on the California Mortality Studies.
Mental Retardation, 36, 395-400.
 The difference between Strauss and the state
agency’s department of institution (DDS) was
about 149 people.
 Can we believe that both DDS reported MORE
deaths than actually occurred in the institutions?
– When have bureaucrats every reported MORE bad
news than they have to?
 The Strauss & Kastner count was WRONG.
What Was the Cause?
 Strauss & Kastner obtained all mortality data from the
California Department of Health Services
– These Vital Statistics tapes contained all deaths in the
state, including locations
 A standard practice at California institutions::
 People who were dying were moved to local
community hospitals for specialized intensive care
 When they died in these community hospitals, Strauss &
Kastner counted them as “community deaths”
 They were not counted as institutional DC deaths
 That’s how Strauss & Kastner undercounted DC deaths
The Foundation of the Work was
Fatally Flawed
 A gross underestimate
of DC mortality
 Made all subsequent
multiple regression
models and
comparisons invalid
 The true situation is
likely to be the
opposite of Strauss &
Kastner’s conclusions
Replication?
 Strauss & Kastner continued to claim that they had not






undercounted
And that they had plenty of publications
But – It’s actually replication that’s the criterion of good
science
Cold fusion was published – but not replicated by other
scientists
No one has replicated Strauss & Kastner
Strauss was repudiated by his own colleagues at his
university
Most recently contradicted by a controlled research design:
– Paul Lerman, Dawn Hall Apgar, and Tameeka Jordan.
Deinstitutionalization and Mortality: Findings of a Controlled
Research Design in New Jersey. Mental Retardation: Vol. 41,
No. 4, pp. 225-236.
The Real Facts: Pennhurst Mortality
250
Cumulative Deaths
200
150
Pennhurst Model
Nat'l DC Model
Actual
100
50
0
1978
1979 1980
1981
1982 1983
1984 1985
Year
1986
1987 1988
1989
Phases of Disability History
 Medical Model 1850-1970
 Professional Model 1970-1990
 Self-Advocacy, rights, and self-determination
1990-present
 All about control and power – Who’s in charge of
my life?
 One of our central dilemmas has been Medicaid
 Accepting tons of money through the old Medical
Model is a very mixed blessing
“Health & Safety”
 Primary goal of Medicaid, HCBS, Waivers
 But –
 What promotes health most efficiently?
 Relationships – intimacy – someone is
“there for me”
 More powerful predictor of health than
whether or not you smoke – or your weight
– or your blood pressure!
“Connectedness,” Health, and Survival
 “TWINS STUDIES” -- For similar groups
of people
 100 men with congestive heart disease
 50 of them had 3 or more contacts with
close or intimate or trusted friends per week
 The other 50 had fewer than 3 contacts
 The difference in survival rate after 5 years
was:
 7 times higher for the “connected” men
Ornish, Dean. (1999). Love & Survival : 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health. New York: Harper & Collins.
The Roseto “Mystery”










Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers book
Pennsylvania town of Roseto
All immigrants from village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy
Became its own “tiny self-sufficient world”
Dr. Stewart Wolf discovered incredibly low rate of heart
disease over 50 years – half the average for the U.S.
Smoked, drank, ate lots, worked way too hard
Decades of study – not genes, habits, weight, or diet
Only the social fabric of overwhelming
interconnectedness has explained the data
All of the Roseta houses contained three generations of
the family. Rosetans took care of their own.
Heart attacks practically absent in men over 65.
A Call to Rethink and Recommit
 We should not be fostering medical “dominance”
 The purpose of health care is to allow people to
enjoy life
 Real life quality is about friends, engagement,
freedom
 Just as the Direct Support Worker profession is
adopting the “servant leadership” model
 We are here to serve, not to dictate
 We are here to liberate, respect rights, and
encourage inclusion in the mainstream
 We are lucky to be part of such a noble movement
Thoughts About the Future
 The Affordable Care Act
 Great changes coming
 Some will bring reductions in




“medical model” of support
Example: NY ADAPT
occupied NYSNA office in
March over 100 hrs
About nurse delegation of some
care to non-nurses
Essential for full use of
Community First Choice rule
We must – and will – end
Medicaid’s “Institutional Bias”
What Is the #1 Thing That Would
Improve Health Care Quality?
 My opinion:
 A simple checklist approach
 In a very decentralized community support system, people can’t





be seen by docs & nurses every week or month
Call it a scale, instrument, tool, or checklist
Give a way for Direct Support Workers to “know what to look
for”
Make sure it’s applied regularly
The signs of health deterioration are 90% simple and easy to
detect
This would, in my opinion, extend lives and avoid health crises
more than any other action
 The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
– Atul Gawande, Holt & Company, 2009
Good or Bad?
Probably the most successful
“social experiment” in
America this century
“You can always count on
Americans to do the right
thing - after they've tried
everything else.”
Winston Churchill
Thank You
www.eoutcome.org
Values
 People
 Families
 Professionals
 Legislators
People
 Having friends
 Having money
 Being able to go places
 Having control
Families
 Health
 Health care
 Safety
 Permanence
 Freedom from abuse
Professionals
 Integration
 Independence
 Employment
 Sexuality
 Self-determination
Legislators
 Never mind all that
 What does it cost?
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