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Lawsuit claims New Hampshire fails to provide services for older, persons with disabilities

Patients who have suffered a stroke perform recovery activities with the help of nurses in the recovery program of the General Hospital
Photo: Dreamstime

A federal lawsuit alleges New Hampshire is failing to provide adequate services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities, placing them at greater risk of landing in a nursing home and institution.

The AARP Foundation brought the lawsuit, Disability Rights Center-New Hampshire, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, and the Nixon Peabody law firm on behalf of four individuals.

The lawsuit contends that the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is poorly administering the Choices for Independence program, which provides in-home caregivers to assist those who qualify in daily living, including bathing, toileting, and moving from chairs into a bed.

Without these services, the lawsuit contends, older people and persons with disabilities are more likely to end up in nursing facilities, where they have worse health outcomes and, at the moment, are at greater risk of contracting coronavirus.

“Some of our most vulnerable citizens are one crisis away from unnecessary institutionalization because they are not getting essential [Choices for Independence] services,” said Pamela Phelan, litigation Director for Disability Rights Center-New Hampshire, according to the statement.

“Without these services, they linger for hours or days alone in bed or confined in their own homes, unable to attend to basic personal needs. The state has long been aware of these problems, and we cannot wait any longer for a solution.”

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