“When the music changes, so does the dance” ~unknown
I drove out of the garage this morning, got about 6 garage doors away (yeah, I'm a bit slow when I first leave home in the mornings), and realized it felt like I had a flat tire (I did). So I called AAA (30 minute wait), my boss, then checked my voice mail at work. Out of 10 voice mail messages (not too bad for a long weekend), there were two which were very ominous sounding.
Once I was at the office, I called the family who had left the two ominous messages, to discover they had moved their family member home over the weekend. It seems they spoke to their brother at the group home as they do every Saturday he isn't visiting them, and when he was finished he didn't hang up the phone completely. The family listened since the line was open, and heard interactions they never would have suspected from the provider. They eventually taped some of the interactions they overheard. When it became obvious this was not just a one time event they drove to the home to pack up the essentials and get their brother out of there.
Shockingly this is a provider that I would never have imagined would verbally mistreat any of the folks who live in the home (and neither did the family). But they did and not only were they verbally abusive, they were cruel about some of the things they said.
This man with a moderate cognitive disability, OCD, and anxiety disorder has a history of being verbally and physically abused in the past. He is always worried about not doing things right and not doing what he is supposed to be doing. He also just got out of the hospital in the past month after having cancer surgery. These people told him he was a liar, that he was a lot of trouble and he never helped out, and suggested to him that he might need to go back to the hospital if he didn't be quiet and chew his food.
Needless to say, much of my day was concerned with this issue. I was shocked, then really angry. I spoke to one other man in the home and sadly confirmed that this is probably the kind of thing that has been going on for a long time. I am going to find new, hopefully safer, kinder homes for the other three men. No one else will move into this home, ever.
But it worries me on another level. The folks on my caseload frequently can't advocate for themselves. Some of them are non-verbal. If this home which I thought was a good one, was able to fool me and others for so long, what homes can I trust? It is scary.