Long Term Care

Long Term Care

Physical therapist Vaughn Villarreal, right, works with Cliff Seigneur, 49, who has multiple sclerosis, at the North Star Community long-term care facility in west Denver on Oct. 11, 2010. Seigneur connected with a Denver-based disabled rights group to help him find a way to live independently and then spent six months securing an apartment and home healthcare services. (JOE MAHONEY/I-NEWS)

I-News is all about collaborating.

For our most recent investigation, we collaborated in two directions: locally and nationally. We worked with our media partners across the state, as we usually do. And we worked with National Public Radio.

So our report on disabled Coloradans who want out of nursing homes gave citizens an in-depth look at this issue on the very local level – with details on what was happening in their own cities and counties across the state – and gave them the context of developments at the national level, from NPR investigative reporter Joseph Shapiro.

I-News analyzed state and federal records, and found that thousands of disabled Coloradans could live independently – and less expensively – if tax dollars were spent on home care instead of nursing homes. We also found that one in five Colorado nursing home residents wants to do just that. For many places in Colorado, we were able to tell citizens exactly how many people in their community were affected.

NPR told them that a growing body of law and federal policy says when a person gets government funds for care, they have the civil right to receive that care at home instead of a facility. I-News told them the independent living movement for disabled Americans got its start right here in Colorado three decades ago. And we introduced them to a Coloradan who was there when the movement began.

NPR told them that there were problems nationally with federal enforcement of the law that gives disabled people the right to receive care at home. I-News told Coloradans that the state had just been named in a civil rights complaint, saying regulations here made it harder to get out of a nursing home than to get in. And we told each community exactly how much housing the state said was available for disabled citizens locally.

This is exactly the kind of broad context and deep local detail we were hoping for when we launched I-News at the start of this year. We’re looking forward to building on these collaborations in 2011.

In the meantime, we invite you to listen and read more about this story. We produced different audio versions for Colorado Public Radio, KUNC’s northern Colorado public radio network, and several Western Slope members of Rocky Mountain Community Radio, including KDNK in Carbondale and KBUT in Crested Butte. We also produced localized print versions for five newspapers and their websites, stretching from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. Here are links from some of our partners:

Colorado Public Radio, Part 1

Colorado Public Radio, Part 2

KUNC, Part 1

KUNC, Part 2

Denver Post

Fort Collins Coloradoan

Boulder Daily Camera

The (Colorado Springs) Gazette

NPR Part 1

NPR Part 2

NPR Part 3

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