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Updated: Nov 4, 2023

In May of this year I had the privilege to sit on a panel with filmmaker Peter Yearwood and Alex Eshelman of Open Doors who talked about the residents of the Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in NYC, known as the "Reality Poets", and how they used the arts and their unique skills to make this film in order to leverage change. THIS FILM is only one result of this extraordinary group's work.

They also began the #NursingHomeLivesMatter movement, a healthcare system for people who live and work in long-term care facilities. We all know how incredibly important it is for voices in long-term care to be heard and this group is making sure that happens.

WARNING - this is not an easy film to watch. I had to pause it, get some air, and come back later. The intent of this film is to bring awareness to the reality of what long-term care was like during the lock-downs, the unnecessary and unimaginable pain, loss, and suffering, and to make it as personal to everyone else as it has been to those who lived and died in the disease that spread like #firethroughdrygrass.

I believe this film does exactly what it set out to do and we can do our part by watching and then encouraging the industry and our legislative representatives to watch as well.

Beloved friends, we too have used our skills and talents to leverage change. We worked very hard and sucessfully made sure that residents in long-term care in Texas will never be wholly deprived of their federal right to 24/7 access again, even in a health emergency. It's Section 25 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the State of Texas.

BUT we are not done. Not in Texas and not anywhere else.

What about the other 49 states? Some have statutes similar to ours but those can be waived. NONE have a constitutional amendment like ours which cannot be paused or waived.

And what if the REST of us in Texas are required to shelter in place due to a health crisis, weather disaster, or military emergency and can't reach them? We MUST be able to wholly trust and depend on our long-term care providers and work to make sure our facilities are not being set up to fail.

  • Short-staffed facilities are set up to fail.

  • Facilities with inadequate resources are set up to fail.

  • Facilites forced to house hospital patients with long-term care residents are set up to fail

  • Facilities that take sick residents they cannot can't safely cohort are set up to fail.

"Set up to fail" equals "compromised care" which means endangering the health, safety, and lives of residents.

Like these filmmakers, we can still be using what skills and talents we have to leverage change.

If not us, then who? We are Texas Caregivers for Compromise and we are #notgoingaway.

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