Letter to the Editor

Elderly deserve good care from nursing homes

Sunday, October 20, 2002

To the editor:

In response to the story "Nursing homes quietly killing thousands," why is it every few years a story like this appears, but when you try to convince government agencies or doctors or nursing-home administrators this is going on, they ignore you?

If you complain about the care of your family members, you have to worry about what happens to them when you are not there. My mother was a patient in two of the better nursing homes. We made sure we were there most of the time for meals and helping get her ready for bed. We were appalled at what we saw on a regular basis, such as sharing a bed pan with a roommate. We saw patients being served meals in their rooms who were not able to feed themselves. Their trays would be picked up without the patients ever knowing the food was there.

When our mother died, it was because she was overmedicated with something that was supposed to calm her. Does a person who sleeps 15 to 20 hours a day and weighs less than 90 pounds really need calming down? Her doctor said the nursing home told him a family member asked for the medication, but no one would take responsibility. We were told she was old and, after all, didn't she have a good life? No. Elderly people aren't cute and fun, but don't they deserve the same care we demand from child-care facilities?


Cape Girardeau