Inside nursing homes: quality staff and careThis letter is...

the Forum

June 24, 1991

Inside nursing homes: quality staff and care

This letter is in response to "Nursing home rip-off" and "Advice from an escapee" (Other Voices, June 5). These columns contained a number of false and misleading statements.

First, the cost of most nursing homes in the areas is between $90 and $120 per day, not the $200 per day stated. Reimbursement for medical assistance patients, the majority of those in nursing homes, is about $75 per day. Most luxury hotel rooms of the kind described in the columns charge well above that amount. The nursing home provides a room, round-the-clock nurses, nursing assistants, housekeepers, dietitian, food, activities and on-call physicians.

The columns imply that residents of nursing homes should take the plunge and leave. The simple fact is that because of physical or mental impairments, most could never survive outside of a total care environment. The implication that all it takes is the nTC right attitude is uninformed and simplistic.

In most nursing homes, the residents are clean, dressed and allowed to come and go as they wish. Personnel take a personal, as well as a professional, interest in those in their care. The picture painted by the Other Voices columns was an insult to the members of the nursing profession who care for, and about, residents of a long-term care facility.

In addition, the authors' comments about restraints are simply -- false. Federal and state regulations prohibit improper use of restraints, and agencies of both governments carefully scrutinize compliance with these requirements.

There are good long-term care facilities in the Baltimore area. Please, let's stop slamming all nursing facilities because a few are not doing their job.

Eileen Arrington

Baltimore

The writer is director of admissions for the Inns of Evergreen.

1/2

Ethel Payne

I was saddened to learn of the death of Ethel Payne, long-time newspaper correspondent. I knew Ethel when she was a civilian employee, as I was, in the occupation of Japan under MacArthur. were billeted at the Shufunotoma in the Kanda district of Tokyo when Ethel wrote an article mildly critical of the social scene in Tokyo but not critical of the occupation.

The article was published in the Chicago paper, and, as she had not cleared it with the Army authorities in Tokyo, she was promptly relieved of her job. It took a great deal of personal bravery to stand up to MacArthur, and we were soon to wonder if President Truman could do it. To his credit he did, although it was not a popular move with the American public.

Too bad there aren't more Harry Trumans and Ethel Paynes, people who act for their country and their countrymen out of real concern and conviction regardless of personal cast. We need fewer bloated, self-promoting media heroes out to exploit the public for personal gain.

Patricia Mulroy-Owen

Lutherville

Key Stadium

Of all the names proposed for the stadium, the one offered by Christine Merrill (Forum, June 11) should be the undisputed choice Francis Scott Key Stadium. The name has substance. My heart swells with pride just to imagine its being a reality.

Nancy V. Webb

Baltimore

Tax 'reform'

Is it just me, or is it that every time a politician speaks of "tax reform" and "progressive taxes," he in reality means higher taxes. The Linowes plan is tax reform, they say. It is a progressive tax system. Yeah, it progressively raises taxes.

On the surface, we are promised direct tax reductions. But underneath, there are the "hidden" taxes that will drive up the cost of living. The hidden taxes are on goods, services, transportation and so on. These will have a far greater negative impact on the already overburdened middle and working classes than any surface-gloss tax reductions. More of us on the edge will be pushed under the poverty line.

This is not limited to the state level. Factor in the jockeying that our so-called representatives are doing in Washington, and we have some truly massive increases in the bite the government takes out of our hard-earned dollars. All the time this goes on, we are told that it is for our own good, and that we will benefit from these changes, increases and transfers in the tax system. That is impossible.

How is that impossible? Simple math. Whenever the government takes money, with the supposed humanitarian goal of helping us, it spends most of that money on itself. For every dollar that is taken from you, the government on average spends 83 cents on itself and gives back only 17 cents. Clearly, this is something no intelligent person would willingly invest in.

Donald Howard

Baltimore

Review bombed

In his review of the documentary "After the War," Michael Hill points out that only 7 percent of our bombs actually hit their targets. In fact, the documentary made no such claim.

The 7 percent Hill referred to actually represented the percentage of "smart" bombs used. Perhaps this type of inaccuracy is the reason the Pentagon felt compelled to censor all reports during the war.

John Homans

Baltimore

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