Covid-19 is a pubic health disaster.
But, so too are most nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Many of them represent the greatest constitutional violation of life, liberty, happiness and dignity for those most vulnerable who are confined to many of the nations homes.
There are very personal reasons why this blogger knows so much about them and their deplorable conditions. Setting aside visits to upwards of 45 different nursing homes and rehabilitation centers throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and being asked to negotiate a bid on Personal Protective Equipment by an unsuspecting client, research on homes and their owners has made the entire industry stomach-turning. That client did not realize at the time that the equipment he was asked to broker had been taken from a nursing home (paid for by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance) and warehoused in New Jersey. Someone else likely did the deal, the client walked away.
So, perhaps Covid-19 was necessary to open people’s eyes to the dangers of nursing homes and rehabilitation centers and to provide much needed incentive for the government to oversee them with vigor, zeal and a passion that reflects our need to protect the elderly and most vulnerable.
Well, this might just be wishful thinking.
Suffice it to say, most owners and operators are looking to the bottom line. It is about the money, the profit and loss, the quasi virtual auction of human life by social services, guardianship, social workers in hospitals and the individuals that make the wheels of the human life industry turn. Many are morally bankrupt and the more their pockets get lined the more soulless they become.
More to follow. For now, The Wall Street Journal:
The pandemic is reshaping the way Americans care for their elderly, prompting family decisions to avoid nursing homes and keep loved ones in their own homes for rehabilitation and other care.
Americans have long relied on institutions to care for the frailest seniors. The U.S. has the largest number of nursing-home residents in the world. But families and some doctors have been reluctant to send patients to such facilities, fearing infection and isolation in places ravaged by Covid-19, which has caused more than 115,000 deaths linked to U.S. long-term-care institutions.To continue reading in The Wall Street Journal, click here.
“We should be able to provide more services in the home setting that can enable somebody to be independent,” said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Covid is going to force a national conversation about how we take care of our elderly, and clearly there are issues in nursing homes that go beyond infection control,” she said.
During his campaign, President-elect Joe Biden promised to spend $450 billion to make sure people who need long-term care can get support in the home and community.
They had survived so much already — war and dust storms, cancer and poverty, lost eyesight, lost spouses, lost memories — and still went on to find moments of grace inside the corridors of America’s nursing homes.
In Windsor, Conn., Johnny James ate chocolate bars with his visiting great-grandchildren. In Lewiston, Idaho, Edna McBride celebrated her 100th birthday. In Providence, R.I., Florence Tilles, who had two knee surgeries, liked to joke she would one day die at the 18th hole of her favorite golf course.
One day came on May 30, when 98-year-old Tilles fell victim to covid-19 amid a soaring death toll that included James and McBride and would soon grow to more than 80,000 residents in nursing homes across the country. They suffered alone, in homes locked down to visitors, peering at the masked faces of weary nurses and aides who risked their own lives to be there.
The industry and the government could have done far more, watchdog groups have said from the beginning, shoring up infection-control protocols and staffing, delivering stronger oversight of troubled homes and ensuring that coronavirus stimulus payments reached patients and caregivers rather than corporate owners.
Instead, 10 months later, thousands of families are learning to live without goodbyes.
The 51 residents whose stories are told here, one from every state and the District of Columbia, left behind at least 129 children, 230 grandchildren, 210 great-grandchildren and 41 great-great-grandchildren. Some blame the nursing homes for questionable care. Others say they are enormously grateful for the work of caregivers.To continue with The Washington Post, click here.