Are state’s nursing homes delivering the best care?
Making the decision to move a loved one into a nursing home is never easy. In fact, it’s usually agonizing. When our loved ones reach the point where their physical and mental health needs can only be met in a round-the-clock nursing center, we want to be sure they’re going to get the best care. So we do our homework, and we try to make the best decision with the information we have at hand. And we pray that once they’re settled and the doors close at night, it’ll be all right. But for too many of us and our loved ones, it’s not all right.
It wasn’t all right for my Grandpa, Charles Byler, a WWII veteran and father of five who spent the last two and a half years of his life at a nursing home.
The nursing home was perpetually short-staffed, especially on nights and weekends when they ran with a “skeleton crew.”
Many seniors had to sit in soiled clothes, eat cold meals, and sit pain for hours because there simply weren’t enough hands on deck to care for them. It was not uncommon to see one aide helping seven or eight seniors eat at once, some of them blind, others barely able to chew. Many aides worked a second job to make ends meet.
This is not the picture of what should be happening inside the walls of Pennsylvania’s nursing homes. An industry that made more than $500 million in profit in 2011 should be investing in better care and not forcing caregivers to work two jobs to make ends meet.
Thankfully, members of the Legislature are taking a stand. Senators Sean Wiley and Matt Smith will soon introduce Senate Bills 624, 625 and 626 to improve quality, staffing and accountability.
These long-overdue measures will allow our loved ones to live with dignity, and give those who care for them the tools and time they need to provide the best care.
We all have a responsibility to protect our seniors, and enacting these important measures is a good place to start.
Education & Outreach Coordinator