Letter to the Editor

Nursing homes should pay more to care givers

Saturday, June 1, 2002

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the letter about Medicaid and Medicare funding for nursing homes. The letter asked, "How would more funding for nursing homes bring about better care?"

I have worked in nursing homes for eight years. The only way to improve the care is to give the care givers more money. Certified nurse assistant do a back-breaking, dirty, thankless job for a ridiculously low amount to pay. Top pay for a CNA in this region is about $7 an hour with the median being about $6. Due to these circumstances, there is always a large turnover of workers and a constant shortage, which in turn leads to abuse and neglect. When there are only two CNAs to take care of 20 people, it is impossible to give good care. Likewise, when the nursing home is desperately short of CNAs, it will hire anyone who walks in the door to cover the shift.

Administrators know this, but the bottom line is money. If you want to know the quality of care in a nursing home, ask them how much they pay the care givers. This will give you a more accurate picture of what the home is like.

Care in nursing homes will not be improved by more funding. It will only be pocketed by those who own and operate the homes.

CAROL CHRISTOPHER

Cape Girardeau