Thousands of Massachusetts’ most disabled barred from returning to support program

Thousands with complicated disabilities languish as Massachusetts struggles with staff shortages at care programs

By Jason Laughlin Globe Staff,Updated August 8, 2023, 5:55 a.m.

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Thousands with disabilities left without day habilitation programsShare

WATCH: Reporter Jason Laughlin stops by to explain the impact of staffing shortages in Massachusetts’ day habilitation programs.

CENTERVILLE — Most days, hour after hour, Tyler Bourne hunches in a blue easy chair in his mother’s living room, watching the reality TV show “Wicked Tuna,” or crinkling up free magazines from Stop and Shop.

He overheats easily, so this time of year, the 37-year-old won’t leave the house for days, sometimes more than a week at a time.

His life wasn’t always so stagnant. Bourne, who was born with a rare chromosomal disorder that caused profound developmental disabilities, attended for about 12 years a day habilitation program, or day hab, in Mashpee five days a week, six hours a day. But over the past three years, he has been allowed back only rarely.

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Dr. Jim Abbott, physical therapist to 37-year-old Tyler Bourne, massaged Bourne’s atrophied muscles while providing [...]

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