ADAPT Arrested at the ANA
Disability Rights group demands the American Nurses Association respect the civil rights of people with disabilities.By Tim Wheat, Boulder ADAPT
(SILVER SPRINGS, MD; MAY 5, 2014) About 40 ADAPT activists were arrested today at the American Nurses Association headquarters in Silver Springs Maryland demanding the ANA support efficient and effective changes that will keep people with disabilities out of expensive institutions. ADAPT activists blocked the doors and elevators to the ANA building just to try to talk with the Nursing Organization.
The Silver Springs Police were able to shut the front doors and the keep over a hundred ADAPT activists outside in the rain. About 40 made it into the building and up to the ANA offices, but were stopped at a set of glass doors on the floor sealed with handcuffs on the door handles.
"The bottom line is the greed and power of the nurses," said Bruce Darling from Rochester ADAPT who recently led a week long take-over of the New York State Nurses Association. "Our lives are sold for their jobs and paychecks."
ADAPT trekked across Washington DC on the METRO, waiting most of the time for the elevator to make many trips with 3 to 6 activists headed down to the train at a time. After about three hours the entire group gathered in Maryland and had lunch just down the hill from the ANA. By 2:45 ADAPT had over 40 activists inside the building and were holding all 4 elevators.
ADAPT demands that the American Nurses Association support the civil rights of people with disabilities - including those who need assistance with health related tasks - to live in their own homes and communities and not be forced into unwanted institutions. The Nurses, by hanging onto typical and routine daily tasks for people, make expensive institutional placement more likely and prevents more individuals from living in their own homes with the cost-effective supports and services they need.
Nurse delegation or assignment is the concept that regular tasks can be passed on to trained support workers rather than being exclusively done by professional medical personnel that charge a much higher rate for an hour of service. Nurse delegation is not uncommon. Many US states including Oregon, Washington, Texas and Delaware have it and many people live independently with services that have been assigned to attendants.
Medicalizing the lives of people with disabilities diminishes our role and rights in our communities. Disability is a natural part of life and the disability community is working to push beyond the image of "medical care" for the daily tasks that are a routine part of our lives. Many typical tasks like taking medications, ventilators and feeding tubes may be difficult, but they become routine for the individual who proforms those responsibilities daily or many times a day.
At one point the group of activists on the sidewalk in front of the ANA put on 1940s style nursing hats to symbolize the regressive nature that the ANA seems to support. In the past how people viewed nurses as glorified maids, doing routine tasks and standard chores rather than health professionals.
"We were angry that the ANA wouldn't even talk to us," said James Capps from Little Rock who made it up to the glass doors of the ANA office. "We demanded that they put things on paper, we were passionate to stay there so long."
ADAPT demands that the American Nurses Association issue a public statement that the ANA:
<> supports the civil rights of people with disabilities - including those who need assistance with health related tasks - to live in their own homes and communities and not be forced into unwanted nursing facility or institutional placement;
<> endorses modifying state laws to allow attendants to provide assistance with health related tasks such as catheterization, bowel and bladder routines, assistance with ventilators and administration of medication when performing community-based long term services and supports;
<> recognizes the need for both exemption and delegation/assignment approaches for providing assistance with health related tasks to assure that people with disabilities can exercise the maximum control over their services while assuring that all people with disabilities can get the supports needed to live in the community;
<> publicly urges policy makers and other organizations representing nurses to support initiatives that expand the availability of home and community based long term services and supports - including the provision of assistance with health related tasks by attendants; and
<>affirms that this position is not intended to undercut the role of nurses in acute care settings where the highest possible level of skill, training and judgment is required or other settings that are not home and community-based.