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Reviews | How to improve nursing home care

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For the publisher:

“How Nursing Homes Hide Their Most Serious Failures” (cover page, December 10) outlines conditions in nursing homes, issues with their regulation and underlying issues in caring for our people elderly. The examples cited are credible, but could it have been more balanced to include the good work done in these contexts?

If it were easy to care for older people with significant health, memory and behavior problems, more of us would be keeping our frail parents at home. If it’s not possible for us to do that, it’s certainly not easy for nursing homes to take care of a lot of these people.

It is even more of a problem that their overworked staff are paid so little. Other than spending more to increase staff at these locations, what else could we do? Can we pay staff members based on the quality of care they provide? Could each of us volunteer to help out at our local senior citizen facilities four hours a week?

Might some seniors do well in smaller “group home” settings? Could society better support families who keep their elderly parents at home? Could we admit more immigrants specifically to help care for our parents?

I don’t apologize for blatant lapses in care, but do we expect nursing homes to be perfect? Do you think you’ll get better when you’re 90?

Jesse samuels
West Hartford, Connecticut.
The author is a retired family physician.

For the publisher:

I highly recommend “How Retirement Homes Hide Their Most Serious Failures”. This problem is not new. I testified before the Senate Finance Committee in July 2019 and noted that, according to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Social Services, qualified nursing facilities did not report approximately 6,600 cases of potential abuse or neglect at state agencies in 2016 alone. .

A contributing factor is the lack of staff. A good reason for the Senate to pass the House’s version of the Build Back Better law is the provisions of the law that would provide funding for salary increases, help with tuition fees, and other incentives for attract qualified personnel.

One of the most difficult decisions for an individual or a family is to determine that a loved one is in need of nursing home care. The federal government must provide these consumers with reliable information on the quality of nursing homes. Additionally, only facilities free of abuse and neglect should be allowed to participate in Medicare or Medicaid.

Bob blancato
Washington
The author is the national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition.

For the publisher:

My wife and I are 86 years old and currently live in a residential non-profit continuing care community in Tallahassee, Florida. Your article comes across as a widespread accusation against nursing homes. We regularly observe interactions between staff and residents. Management and staff have an incredibly difficult schedule to manage these days.

Resident care and solvency are necessarily at the top of their priorities. The failure of one can lead to the failure of the other. Their most difficult problem is attracting, training and retaining good staff. Constant interaction with often unruly residents constantly tests the limits of the staff’s physical and mental endurance. The seemingly relentless public and official scrutiny of the company adds to the woes.

Peter D. Hunter
Tallahassee, Florida

For the publisher:

Your investigation revealing that more than 2,700 dangerous nursing home incidents identified by state inspectors were never publicly disclosed was timely and necessary.

I had a friend who worked as an administrator at a nursing home and regularly reported on how corrupt and dishonest the place was. To maximize profits, it operated with too few staff at all levels, which affected services and the quality of care. His protests and those of the head nurse went unheeded by the owners / operators, which led to his resignation. The state had its usual level of inspection and control, which allowed the lack of care to persist.

I had elderly parents at a facility in another state. Again, apparently, there are ongoing staff shortages and a decrease in the quality of food and other services – plus, during Covid, far too many violations of masking, vaccination and testing standards.

I hope and pray that I will never be subjected to this sad end-of-life situation.

Lynn means
Huntington, New York

For the publisher:

I first discovered the works of Bell Hooks as a college student looking to occupy my free time with feminist literature. The book “Feminist Theory” (1984), criticizing white feminism, immediately struck me with its direct writing style. It didn’t take long for me to get dogged copies of his other books, which all impressed me and made Bell Hooks one of my favorite authors.

Reading the guest essay Opinion by Kovie Biakolo “The Bell Hooks That Taught Me To ‘Talk’ (December 27) helped me realize the influence that the bell hooks have had on me. the light of his recent death. Ms. Hooks has encouraged generations of young women to speak out against oppression. I am now a freshman in high school and I have no doubts that Ms. Hooks’ strength is something I will remember as a staple of my childhood.

Sriya Tallapragada
New Providence, New Jersey

For the publisher:

Why would Donald Trump run in 2024? He already controls the Republican Party in the shadows with less transparency than if he were president.

As a private citizen, he is free to do whatever he wants with his money and to advance his agenda through congressional surrogates without taking an oath to defend the Constitution. Seems to me he can do more damage to Mar-a-Lago than to the White House.

Laurent Weisman
Westport, Connecticut.

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