April 6, 2016

Dear Ms. Frame,

Your Series on “Last of the Institutions” featured people who desired to live in the community who were able to make decisions for themselves. I applaud them for their ability to do so. I was legal guardian for my nonverbal, profoundly disabled sister from 1980 until she passed away one year ago. She lived at Rainier School and received 24 hour care by dedicated staff who treated her with respect and love. I visited her often and attended many meetings over the years to assure she received the good care that she needed and deserved. She was not “isolated” from the community as she was able to go with staff on shopping trips, to movies or out to dinner. She attended events such as the Puyallup fair also. Every year at her annual “Individual Habillitation Plan” meeting, I was given the choice to look for other living arrangements, if I felt she would be better served in another setting. Rainier School was her home, she was loved by staff and she loved familiar staff who were with her, many for years. When she was hospitalized and Dr.’s put me in touch with hospice workers, I was given the choice to put her in a hospice setting other than Rainier. However, Rainier was able to care for her until the end. I chose that for her as it was familiar and she would be cared for by the onsite doctors and nurses. My point in all this is that not all people have the same wants and needs. This is no different than you or I. We need to have choices. Residential Habilitation centers are a good choice for those who need and choose such an all inclusive care center.

Thank you for your time.

Jan Cosser