Document Type

Research Progress Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health


In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court established a legal precedent, based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, to help adults with disabilities leave institutional settings and return to community living (Olmstead v. L.C.). This established the right of individuals to receive services in "…the most integrated setting," which is generally the community. Since then, centers for independent living (CILs) and other disability advocacy organizations have initiated a wide range of efforts to emancipate (i.e. transition) adults with disabilities from inappropriate nursing home placements to community living. Nursing home emancipation is high on the priority lists of several national organizations and it is even proposed that such efforts be legislated. Despite the efforts of many emancipation programs and services, little research has addressed institutionalized individuals’ return to community living. Historically, people who experienced disability were often institutionalized in large congregate facilities or in nursing homes (Braddock & Parish, 2001). In the late 1960s, deinstitutionalization began and still continues. Despite a substantial reduction in the number of disabled people living in nursing homes and other institutions, many who could live in the community still remain institutionalized.


health and wellness, nursing home emancipation, deinstitutionalization, advocacy, independent living, rural, disability


© 2008 RTC:Rural.

Granting Agency

Agency for Health Research and Quality; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


Grant # 1 R21 HS016166 from the Agency for Health Research and Quality supports this research, with additional support from grant #H133B030501 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

Project Number

AHRQ: R21 HS016166; NIDRR: H133B030501