"Project Freedom": Nick's original letter
Nick Dupree in Montgomery, Alabama in 2003
I’m Nick Dupree, a 26 year-old health care activist, writer, and former student from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL. In 2003, I made a major impact with my campaign to change Medicaid in Alabama by staying in the community and out of a nursing home, dubbed "Nick's Crusade." You can read more about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:NickDupree
Unfortunately, though my campaign was officially successful, services and supports in Alabama remain abysmal. I receive 16-hours of nursing care per day, and my 74 year-old grandmother covers the remaining hours. The nursing care is used for medical tasks only, and the assistance I received was so unreliable, that beginning in 2005 I was unable to continue attending college classes. There is no way for me to reach my goals of independent living here, despite my past role of speaking all over the country in favor of self-determination for people at all disability levels. Additionally, as my mother and grandmother age and become more disabled themselves, the status quo for me becomes more unsustainable, and I risk institutionalization (or worse) unless I can relocate to a state with better supports. The situation is further complicated by the fact that my brother Jamie also requires a similar level of care, and there's just not enough assistance to go around.
Ironically, I may be forced to an out-of-state institution, as no nursing home in Alabama will even accept ventilator-dependent patients. In short, I am looking to escape a grim fate and move somewhere where I have the help needed to achieve my goals of independent living, finishing my degree and more. I want to move to a place where I can practice the self-determination I preach.
This is why I am now reaching out to you, my fellow activists, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. I'm embarking on another nationwide campaign, this time to find a place where I can live safely and independently with appropriate supports. This requires me to do a lot of research, much of it in areas that I am not completely familiar with, because rules, regulations and opportunities vary from state to state. If you, or someone you know, is able to provide any suggestions, thoughts, resources, or contacts that I can use, I'll be extremely grateful. Even taking time out of your day to read this is helpful.
Some of the issues I need to address include:
- Finding accessible, affordable housing - this could include an apartment, or even a shared temporary residence or group setting that would accept ventilator users as residents.
- Finding a location where Medicaid benefits would provide an adequate maximum level of personal assistance services and medical care
- Acquiring necessary resources for relocation - financial, physical, and otherwise
Additional content coming soon. For more about Nick, visit his Wikipedia profile.
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