A recent story floating around on Facebook explains how on elderly woman decided she would spend her time going on cruises, one after another, on Princess cruise lines rather than spending $200 per day in a nursing home. The logic of the story went like this – – the cruise line gives you better meals, everyone is nice to you, you get a comfortable bed – – and the price is still less than that of a nursing home. At first blush, this story sounds like a clever and creative way to help our elderly population live in the lap of luxury and avoid the trials and travails of age. In truth, it misses the major point of nursing homes. That is, the NURSING part of it.
You see, nursing homes help our aging population deal with a myriad of health issues, some of which are very significant. Nursing homes are designed to help the old and young alike when their physical and mental health requires assistance. Some residents in nursing homes require help with their ADLs (activities of daily living). They may need help changing their clothes, getting a bath, going to the restroom, making food, and even eating their food. Some residents need wound care, skin care, toileting care, medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Some residents need ready access to a hospital. Some residents suffer from dementia, and need interaction with a caring and competent nursing staff that can help them deal with these conditions. These are the typical residents of a nursing home, they are not the typical passengers on a cruise ship.
So why is it a problem when people smile at the cleverness of an older lady who “plays the system” to avoid the horrors of a nursing home in favor of the luxury of a cruise ship? The simple answer is that it ignores the ugly truth about what our older population with health problems face. That woman in the story wouldn’t be in a nursing home either way. And the people in a nursing home, far more often than not, would not be fit to live on a cruise ship.
All of which begs the question – – why can’t our elderly population get the care they need and deserve in a nursing home for $200 per day (as discussed in the story)? THAT IS A VERY GOOD QUESTION. And the answer, many times, is that the big corporations running the nursing homes want to put that money in their investor’s pockets instead of using it to provide reasonable care to their residents. I don’t have a problem with a corporation turning a profit. I do have a problem with a corporation that is willing to make turning a profit its chief goal, above the safety and well-being of its elderly population patients.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, don’t expect the luxuries of a cruise ship. But don’t accept substandard care either. Make sure your loved one is checked on regularly. Make sure call bells are answered. Make sure your loved one gets showered or bathed and taken to the bathroom. Make sure they don’t have unexplained injuries or bruising. Watch for unexpected weight loss. Watch for wounds or sores (bed sores, decubitus ulcers, pressure sores, or pressure ulcers).
If your loved one suffers significant injuries or death, call a law firm that understands these cases. Call GODDARD & WAGONER at 304-623-HELP (4357). Talk to Dave Goddard or Eddie Wagoner. Talk to our knowledgeable staff. The call is free and knowing your options can help.