To The Reader's Forum:
National Nursing Home Week, which begins on Mother's Day May 11 and runs through May 17, honors the residents and patients currently in skilled nursing and rehabilitation care centers across the nation with special activities and events. Sponsored each year since 1967 by the American Health Care Association (AHCA), this year's NNHW theme is "Living the Aloha Spirit," In Hawaii, by "Living the Aloha Spirit," a person shows love and respect to others and joyfully shares life to create a better world. Care centers strive daily to attain this ideal for all individuals in their care by focusing on person-centered care and continuous improvement.
This special week is also about people giving care. Caregivers often form meaningful, enduring relationships with residents and families that are beneficial to everyone - to the resident and to the caregivers who often consider each other "family." These workers help residents overcome the daily struggles associated with age, rehabilitation, and disability.
Nursing Home Week can be a time to reflect on the many challenges that society faces to ensure elderly parents and others are able to access the quality services they need in a skilled nursing care center. Some of the national issues that one day may impede such access include: federal reductions in Medicare payments; limitations on therapy services, such as physical therapy; and government Medicaid payments that are on average $24.26 below the cost of providing care.
Most importantly for the week of May 11 - 17, NNHW week is a great time to visit a loved one, friend, acquaintance, or veteran. Take some time with the family to reach out and let a care center resident or patient know that you are thinking about them by visiting. If you can't do that, then make a phone call, send a card, flowers, or even an email. This special attention will surely help someone catch that "Aloha Spirit."
Richard J. Herrick
President and CEO
New York State Health