There are times as an advocate of residents in long-term care that I wonder why we bother, like the voices of residents and their advocates are wholly and utterly unimportant and ignored. The industry runs the show.
Thankfully, when we worked with our Texas legislature on our essential caregiver statute, I did NOT believe that at all. But working at the national level, the voice of the industry is so loud and so strong because . . .
THEY are not trying to be full-time caregivers while advocating. We are.
They are not maneuvering an unfamiliar territory to protect their loved one's rights. We are.
They can always tweak and try again. We cannot. Our loved ones do not have a next time.
THEY are not spending their OWN money - hundreds of dollars every month - on diapers, toiletries, extra linens, replacing clothing and lost items and providing for their loved ones every need. We are.
They can afford to fly here and there and make sure the right people are meeting them face to face. We cannot.
Legislators take their calls.
THEY are not sleep deprived from sleeping in a facility chair by their loved one's bed because the facility is too short handed to make sure their loved one does not get up in the middle of the night and wander the hall. We are.
They are not on the phone day after day with doctors, Medicaid, and the facility problem solving because the short-handed staff overlooked something, gave an incorrect dose, sent the wrong clinicals to the ER, didn't address something, skipped baths, missed meals, left their loved one in soiled clothing, didn't clean a room or fix plumbing or air or a broken window, left mold in a bathroom, didn't exterminate or didn't process their Medicaid paperwork. We are.
They are not in the ER with loved ones who were injured as a direct result of short staffing: an overlooked allergy, broken bones, respiratory infections, bedsores, UTI's, cuts, bruises, hyperthermia from wandering outside unnoticed. We are.
They aren't listening to the phone ring for twenty minutes because there's nobody to answer it. We are.
They aren't locked out of their facility because there is nobody to open the door during infection control protocols in a health emergency. We are.
They are not not not. We are are are.
But legislators listen to them.
What are we to do?
CONTACT YOUR U.S. REP IN ADVANCE AND LET THEM KNOW THAT WHILE WE ARE OUTNUMBERED AND DO NOT HAVE THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO LAUNCH THE SOCIAL MEDIA AND LEGISLATIVE OUTREACH CAMPAIGN THE INDUSTRY DOES, OUR POSITION IS VALID - RESIDENTS IN LONG-TERM CARE REQUIRE A MINIMUM STAFFING STANDARD IN ORDER TO PREVENT COMPROMISED CARE AND THE INDUSTRY'S ARGUMENTS ARE EASILY DISPUTED AND/OR DISPROVEN.
I mentioned yesterday that industry giants are shouting over us. Well, they also have the ear of our legislators as indicated by the language of the chairs in the public notice which, as we are now accustomed to seeing, regurgitates the talking points of the industry.... i.e. "one size fits all", "force facilities to close their doors", "jeopordize patient care".
None of which is accurate, WAITS for testimony, or reflects input from residents or families and considers the language and implementation of the actual rule.
The subcommittee chairs have already made up their minds and will likely sway the rest of the committee member unless witnesses like Lori Smetanka, Executive Director of The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care are able to actually get and hold the committee members' attention.
The Subcommittee on Health hearing is titled "Supporting Access to Long-Term Services and Supports: An Examination of the Impacts of Proposed Regulations on Workforce and Access to Care."
DATE: Wednesday, October 25, 2023
TIME: 2:00 PM ET, 1PM CST, 11 AM PST
LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building
The hearing will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/. If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Jolie Brochin with the Committee staff at Jolie.Brochin@mail.house.gov. If you have any press-related questions, please contact Christopher Krepich at Christopher.Krepich@mail.house.gov.
We are TexasCaregiversforCompromise and we are #notgoingaway!
• Sarah Schumann, Vice President of Operations, Brookside Inn
• Mary Killough, Vice President of Operations and Government Relations, AccentCare
• Shelly Hughes, Certified Nurse Aide
• Lori Smetanka, Executive Director, The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
• Patti Killingsworth, Former Chief of LTSS, TennCare; Chief Strategy Officer, CareBridge Health