Doctor’s Diary December 17, 2017: Don’t forget the forgotten

(Snippets from the frontline)

Don’t forget the forgotten

There is no place like home.  Just not a nursing home.

The re-invented name “Skilled Nursing Facility” cannot erase images of screaming demented elderly patients and smells of incontinence.  As we age and see friends and family physically or mentally deteriorate, the reality about where they receive further healthcare lingers.  Plus, it stirs fears that this might be our personal destination.

Nursing homes may be noisy and cluttered with wheelchairs, but they are much better than 10 years ago.  Regulations have helped, but they are always financially constrained by low reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance.

Most of us do not routinely visit nursing homes.  Visit one, or better yet, volunteer and serve.

Look at their faces.  Some are empty, some are lonely.  Some have family, while others are forgotten.

There are veterans, first responders, and retired teachers who have outlived family and friends.  Many have contributed to our society and are of “The Greatest Generation.”

If you have time, any time of the year, visit those in a local nursing home. 

Your presence will quiet the soul.

Pass it forward…and bring your heart.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

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