Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, GA, like many state run mental health institutions across the country, is sending patients out into the wider world to be cared for by smaller private or non-profit programs. I shot Wally Burns, 51, for the New York Times on his last day at Central State before moving to a much smaller group home, on a golf course, in Macon.
Wally Burns, second from left, returns to his discharge meeting before moving into a new group home. Burns, who is severely developmentally disabled, has been a patient at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, GA for over 30 years.
Health care worker Chinirika Tucker brushes the crumbs from a pack of cheese crackers off of Wally Burns' lap during his discharge meeting.
As health care workers and family members go over the minutiae of Wally Burns' move from long term care at Georgia's Central State Hospital to a new group home, Burns passes the time with a snack of cheese crackers and juice.
Wally Burns is led from the building on the sprawling campus of Georgia's Central State Hospital where he has lived for over 30 years by health care worker Wytina Jackson before leaving for a new group home in nearby Macon. Jackson, who had cared for Burns for 15 years, said watching Burns leave was like losing a family member. "He was like the king of the unit," she said.
Burns makes the walk from the driveway to the front door of the group home to which he moved after over 30 years in Georgia's Central State Hospital.
Patricia Stewart, one of the health care workers on staff at Burns' new group home, helps him put on his belt in his private room. more...
Wally Burns carries his favorite puzzles from his room into the living room in his new group home.
Patricia Stewart, one of the health care workers on staff at Wally Burns' new group home, gets him set to play with his puzzles in the living room of the group home.