I’m not gonna lie. This was a tough read. It took me a few days of stopping and starting because it’s truly just sad. The beginning is the hard, heartstrings-tugging part – the rest is simply infuriating.
The Washington Post article linked below tells the horror story of a nursing facility run by a private equity firm. While the latter part of the article is less about elder abuse and more about an entity that didn’t know (or care) how to operate a nursing facility.
I debated posting this. I sent it to my staff to read before I started this post. I worried…. Was it too “real”? Would it make people too uncomfortable? Was it relevant to our practice?
But at the end of the day, when you boil it down to the basics, the purpose of our practice IS to advocate for the elderly and vulnerable and their families and sometimes what is “real” is hard, and sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable about it because maybe that’s how change happens.
As for relevance, well, this is why come to work every day. It’s why we do this job, which has a very, very real emotional component. We care about our clients – we worry about something like this happening to them, and we enlist skilled support to help prevent it whenever we can.
The story this article tells is what happens with corporations take advantage of people. More importantly, this is what happens when our elderly and vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors don’t have advocates.
So friends, I encourage you to read this and to think about how you can help. Do you have a family member or neighbor receiving care in a facility who doesn’t get a lot of visitors? Having feet on the ground and eyes on the situation is one way to combat this problem. Can you take the time to check in on them? To ask some questions? To let the facility know that someone cares about what happens to this person?
I don’t share this to scare you. I don’t want this to deter anyone from transitioning a loved one to an appropriate facility when that is what best serves them. I share this because it’s easy to assume that just because a facility is accredited, it’s up to snuff.
It’s easy to assume that if someone is “being taken care of” that they are being welltaken care of.
We owe it to the people who raised us, and to the generations who came before us – who fought for us, who taught us, who worked in our communities – to keep things like this from happening and to hold the people responsible for it accountable. Please read and share – let’s keep this from happening again. Let’s be advocates together.
If you are worried about a loved one in a nursing facility, let us know – we may be able to help, and if we can’t we’ll do our best to provide you with resources and referrals who can.