dinner conversation

Last night I was at dinner in someone’s home and the following is the abridged version of a portion of dinner conversation. I say abridged because I was so mad that one, the guest had the audacity to discuss politics in a room of people this person had never met, save one, and two I didn’t want to go ballistic and embarrass the host so I left.

Guest: I was at the VA hospital today for (some random event) and was able to see the blueprint of the new hospital.

Me: Oh really, tell me about it…

Guest: Well on Banks street, the old oak trees were saved, and some of the buildings will be built around the oaks, so there will be a corridor down the middle – a shaded promenade with benches and such.

Me: That sounds nice!

Guest: While I was there today, some of the (nameless) dignitaries were discussing how the Charity Hospitals were being dismantled and they were looking at private corporations to take over the care of the patients.

Me: Oh really? Well after Katrina, when Charity hospital was closed down, all the patients had to go somewhere so they were seen at Ochsner, East Jefferson – it didn’t work well and those hospitals lost a lot of money…

Guest: Yeah, one of the doctors at (nameless hospital) was telling me how after the storm, a gun shot wound patient broke into some pharmacy storage area to take medicine, so that didn’t work out too well with “those” (emphasis guest) patients at the private hospitals. So its going to be difficult for “those” (emphasis guest) patients to find somewhere to go.

Me: I honestly don’t see how the state could possibly shut down the Charity Hospitals? What are they going to do with the new hospital? Sell it?

Guest: Well there will be no more Charity system, they are doing everything right now to close all the hospitals. It won’t be an issue especially if Obamacare is defeated in November when Romney wins.

Me: Its called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Plus there is no guarantee Romney will win.

Guest: Well if Obama is re-elected, there are ways to defeat the health care bill.

Me: Oh Really? You know, we really shouldn’t be going there (having political discussion with strangers) at dinner…

Guest: Well how do you think Obamacare is going to be funded? The federal government will need to put up $50 billion dollars they don’t have to pay for it…

At this point I excused myself and helped clear the table and began washing dishes. The guest continued carrying on political discussion with the others remaining at the table which I could hear from the kitchen. I did as much as I could to assist the host –  but very soon after when another guest excused themselves it was my cue to leave too.

I find it extraordinarily disturbing that there is a subversive political process going on which is hell bent on obliterating health care for the poor and uninsured in Louisiana. There has already been a loss of thousands of state jobs, and this current round will result in 1500 more people out of work. How does this contribute to the tax base, the spend and growth economy, putting people out of work, regardless of the fact that these are hard working and dedicated state employees?  Where are all the students of health care, physicians, nurses, allied health, going to go for training? Not to mention all of the sick, sick patients and not just the victims of and perpetrators of violent trauma: there is no plan in the foreseeable future for the state to pony up through Bayou Health or any other fee schedule to reimburse the private hospitals that will wind up caring for the uninsured poor. And once these private hospitals begin to see red, what will happen to the patients? Will they just start dying in the streets? Where is the social justice in that?

There is a call to action out there, let your voice be heard. Representative Jerome Richard from Thibodaux has called to convene a special session to address the recent bulldozing of healthcare, among other things. Contact your state legislators and senators, and demand they go to special session in November to reverse the evisceration of health care in this state. You the citizens elected the legislators and they answer to you, compel them to do their job and do what’s right by their constituents and not the special interests.

*****UPDATE***** This link will take you to an online petition through Change dot org requesting the legislature to convene a special session to find out what in God’s name is going on with the railroading of health care in Louisiana – please consider signing it – thanks

Advertisements

Guest Blogger: Bayou Creole on A New Nursing Home Trend

The hands of an elderly resident at a nursing home (John Stillwell/PA Wire)

The hands of an elderly resident at a nursing home (John Stillwell/PA Wire)

New Nursing Home Trend

Many moons ago, the only people  living in nursing homes were the elderly.  If your parents or grandparents needed 24 hour care, you could put them in a home where there would be nurses and aids there 24-7  to assist them. But, there’s a new trend going on( here in Louisiana for sure).

Facilities that previously only had elderly people are now getting young folks,folks in their 20′s-50′s…way too young to be in a facility with the elderly.Not only that, a lot of these young people have mental health problemsor drugs and alcohol problems. Some of the young people who end up in these facilities are helpful to the elderly. But a lot of times, they intimidate the elderly to the point where the elderly are afraid to say anything against them. Then, there’s the abuse and the situation of having young, sexual men in a place with females who are either elderly or mentally challenged. I received a phone call today informing me that an elderly female in one such facility was raped by a male living there. That’s a hard pill for a family member to handle. You think you’re doing the right thing by your loved one, putting her somewhere medical care is available, meals are being served, she can no longer wander out of the home so, she’s supposedly safe. Then, you get a call saying someone raped her there.

The nursing game has changed. It’s sad but, it’s true. I’ve heard horror stories over and over again. I’ve witnessed horror stories too. Since there aren’t any place for the mentally ill to go anymore, it seems the new trend is to put them into nursing facilities. But what happens to the poor elderly people who have to be there… with a paranoid schizophrenic, who refuses to take his medication? Who’s  really protecting them? Folks call the state all the time and nothing ever changes.

If anyone is thinking about putting their loved one in a nursing care facility, do your research first. Don’t believe what they tell you. Visit there at different hours of the day. Walk every single hall in the facility. Take note of the mental capacity and age of everyone you see, employees included. Let your senses be your guide. What do you see, hear,smell? Hang around for lunch and order a plate, how does it taste? Do you see residents wandering around aimlessly or are they engaged in activities? What is the work environment like? Happy employees take better care of people. Visit as many places as humanly possible before making a decision about where you’ll put your loved one because, the game has changed.Healthcare has changed… and the elderly are suffering because of it.
~~~
Bio:
I’m a registered nurse born,raised and living in the fabulous city of New Orleans. I’m married to a man who’s way too good for me and have two kids who keep me young and zany. My passions are for all things NOLA, Elder Rights and Animal Rights.
~~~
This piece was previously published on Bayou Creole’s blog of the same name.