Letters to the Editor

Take a good hard look at what is going on

Fabulous front-page article in the BND about legislation being proposed to improve the level of care in nursing homes.

I spent the last 15 years as a CNA in a skilled care facility and the last five in a memory care, Alzheimer’s residential center. Can’t tell you how many times we had to “work short,” especially on the weekends. The level of care at full staff was minimal at best. Working “short,” there was a drastic drop in quality care. No showers, no therapy, no staff available to feed residents unable to feed themselves. When I moved on to Alzheimer’s care, the resident to caregiver ratio was often 16:1. Most of the residents, as the disease progressed, became “skilled care.” Never enough staff to provide quality care. When a resident became combative they were often shipped to psych wards because they were too much for the staff to handle. Hospitals often had to heavily sedate to control them and “keep them safe.”

It really saddened me to see the Greatest Generation being treated this way. Several things would greatly enhance the quality of care. More staff, but especially qualified staff. There is a lot more to senior care these days. There needs to be standards that are followed. Pay needs to be increased. $8-9 an hour is unacceptable.

I hope the reps from Edwardsville and East St. Louis take a good hard look at what is going on. It is fixable, doable and the responsible thing to do.

Mag Smith-Wells, Belleville