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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 12/26/2010

Freedom in a nursing home

By Karen Thornton, Springfield

I was shocked to read the article detailing the treatment of the elderly and disabled in D.C. nursing homes [“Suit set on D.C.’s care of disabled,” Metro, Dec. 23].

While the article did not mention residents being harmed or intentionally abused, the lack of freedom and dignity they face is just as appalling. Nursing home life doesn’t have to be that way.

My grandmother lived in a South Texas nursing home for several years before her passing, and her experience was far more pleasant. She was allowed to wake and sleep when she wished, and she could freely move about the lovely fenced-in yard. Meals were at set times, but she could eat in her room if she chose. She could leave the home in the company of a friend or relative any time she wished, as long as someone signed her out, so the nursing staff would know where she was and that she hadn’t wandered off (she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease). Residents who were not mentally impaired could sign themselves in and out whenever they chose.

The D.C. nursing homes described in the article should at least take immediate measures to allow mentally able residents to come and go when they wish. To do anything less is to strip them of their basic human dignity.

By Karen Thornton, Springfield  | December 26, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., public health  
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