Can church push reform of nursing homes? - Catholic Courier

Can church push reform of nursing homes?

To the editor:

I am writing in response to a previous letter regarding the reform of nursing home conditions, which mentioned a report by the General Accounting Office on the shortage of experienced surveyors and backlog of complaints.

In early spring of 2001 our local newspaper ran an article by the New York state health commissioner. It said our governor was proposing the New York state Quality Health Improvement Act and providing 550 million dollars for auditors and help to recruit, retain and train health-care workers.

Having recently spent a rehabilitation period in a nursing home, I was appalled at the lack of care provided and the deplorable attitudes of many personnel. As for the “daily care” time provided, it was far below three hours.

The “quality care” that is frequently stressed in nursing home brochures and interviews with prospective patients has to be more clearly defined and assured. We must try to empathize with nursing home residents — how it must feel to be moving, in many cases, to their “last home,” to giving up their “control of their lifestyle,” and being exposed to the care of strangers and their apathy.

Since the various agencies, offices, and commissions seem to be failing in their functions, why can’t the Catholic Church — and isn’t it — play an active role in promoting nursing home reforms? We spend time and money on social activities, restorations etc., but often overlook or avoid our responsibility to the elderly — our brothers and sisters.

Mrs. I. G. Tolbert

Union Street

Newark

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