#LetThemOut is a video campaign to free people with disabilities who are committed to long-term care facilities (i.e., nursing homes) against their will - in the name of profit. The series will culminate in a feature-length film.
CareOne Holyoke (also known as Holyoke Rehabilitation Center) administers antipsychotics to its patients at a rate of more than four times the state average. Often, these drugs are given against a patient's wishes, as the medications can come with severe side effects. Advocates have long criticized the use of antipsychotics at facilities like CareOne as a form of chemical restraint - even torture. Despite repeated attempts by the facility, EJ Schlup and Ricky Rivera were two patients who refused to take their medication. One eventually was able to leave CareOne, and he tells his story here. The other patient died alone at a nearby hospital. Part 2 of #LetThemOut explores what happened to Ricky.
Watch them in action below.
At the age of 10, Adam suffered a traumatic brain injury while in-line staking without a helmet. Six months after emerging from a five-week coma, he attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for New York City’s first traumatic brain injury unit for children. “Wear your helmet,” he urged other kids as part of a “get it on!” public education campaign. While doctors cautioned that Adam would never be the same again, no one imagined that 20 years later, he would be languishing in a nursing home in Massachusetts – one of several institutions he’d lived in for the last decade.
Adam makes a plea for help on Facebook after being restrained and punched by "behaviorists" at the Holyoke Rehabilitation Center.
The Holyoke Rehabilitation Center is a locked facility. Patients like Adam often are "punished" for minor infractions. These punishments include being put on "checks" - meaning the patient is not allowed to leave his/her floor, even for meals. When a #LetThemOut producer tried to visit Adam, she was escorted off the premises by police, denying Adam's right to visitors.