is of a world in which
families are safe and secure,
all people have enough
to eat and a roof overhead,
children go to good
schools, health care
is available when needed,
people with disabilities
are able to do everything
they are able to do and people
of all languages and cultures
feel at home with each other.
|Disabled daughter able to go home “to Mama’s house” with help from GLSP attorney
Ms. Fisher was 40 years old living in a nursing home after having suffered a severe brain injury giving birth to her son a few years earlier. She was unable to speak clearly or walk, although she was responsive to visitors. Her mother, Mrs. Worth, was raising her daughter’s older son and wanted her daughter to come home where she could care for her, as well. She needed full-time nursing help to make that possible but couldn’t afford it. She applied to the state Department of Community Health’s Independent Care Waiver Program for help, but her application was denied because a nurse who evaluated Ms. Fisher said she was not mentally able to make decisions about her care and could not be cared for at home. Mrs. Worth came to GLSP for help. She said her daughter could communicate enough to indicate that she wanted to come home and that she felt confident that with the help of nurses, she could care for her daughter.GLSP attorney Mary Irene Dickerson took the case and went to see Ms. Fisher at the nursing home. She found that Ms. Fisher could indicate answers to questions by nodding or shaking her head and pointing to things. She could propel her own wheelchair, speak a few words and even sign her own name. At one point, Ms. Fisher even said, haltingly, “Wanna go home.”
Ms. Dickerson convinced DCH to reevaluate Ms. Fisher and attended the reevaluation, which was carried out by the same nurse. At one point, the nurse read a question to Ms. Fisher about what she would do in case of an emergency involving smoke in the home. After struggling to communicate, Ms. Dickerson wrote, “Finally, client got the pen and paper and very laboriously wrote ‘call 911.’ It was wonderful. Client also responded to other questions about wanting to go to ‘mama’s house’ and ‘right now’ and that she was in Georgia.” The nurse recommended acceptance into the waiver program and said Ms. Fisher could go home as soon as arrangements could be made for caregivers.
(The client’s name has been changed to protect her confidentiality.)
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