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Today (January 1, 2011) is the second anniversary of my mother’s death. Without a doubt, nursing home neglect contributed to her death (e.g., the CNAs weren’t accurately charting her bowel movements — maybe not even taking her to the restroom regular, which lead to bowel impaction, that lead to 10 1/2 hours of near-non-stop vomiting, that resulted in aspiration pneumonia, which caused her death…sure, this is gross to discuss…and it is also totally true!).

The day before my mother passed away, I promised that I would work to promote nursing home reform in her memory so that no other nursing home resident need every suffer like she did because of abuse and neglect of the kind she was subjected to. Working on this blog, promoting the nursing home reform message through contacting my state and federal legislators and even my own city councilwoman, supporting the work of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, and regularly praying for the protection of nursing home residents and nursing home reform are the major ways that I’m continuing to fulfill this pledge to my momma.

I’m not writing about any of my actions in order to brag about myself. Instead I’m posting this information as a wake-up call to you (and you and you and you…indeed every reader of this blog that isn’t employed by the nursing home industry spin doctors) to DO (not just “think about doing”) something — anything — to advance the cause of nursing home reform in the new year.

You and I have a precious duty to be part of the solution. The problem is the greed that drives the for-profit nursing home industry in this country.

First, if you are comfortable with praying, begin praying regularly for nursing home reform. Don’t know what to specifically pray for? See the page elsewhere on this blog that offers many suggestions for situations that you can be in prayer about.

Second, get in touch with and support the work of the nursing home reform organization that is working for positive change within the nursing home industry in you state (in Kentucky we have Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, in Indiana United Senior Action is doing a great job promoting our agenda, etc.) Nearly every state has such an organization — if you don’t find a link to it on this blog then do a Google search to find one. If you don’t have a state organization, then please contact the National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (also known as Consumer Voice). Links to websites for these organizations are located on the left side of every page of this blog.

While the nursing home industry has what at times seems to be a Mafia-like control on legislator$ in order to facilitate gridlock to prevent reform from happening, we have the numbers — and thus the ultimate power — to break the industry’s stranglehold on progress and thus make meanginful change happen! I believe that if we — all of us — aren’t actively working for nursing home reform then we are being little more than enablers of the corporate greed that is responsible for the senseless harm and thousands of deaths annually of nursing home residents.

Why care about the tens-of-thousands of nursing home residents who can’t advocate on behalf of themselves? Because you (yes, you!) or someone you love might be a nursing home resident someday! Or perhaps you, like me, have a loved one’s memory you wish to honor by doing the right thing on behalf of those who have suffered and are suffering to this day.

Also, nearly every state legislature here in the USA will be in session (or is already in session) during the first part o the new year. So find out what nursing home reform legislation is up for a vote and respectfully ask your state representatives to support it!

Not sure what to do? to create positive change? Feel free to contact me by leaving a comment and I’ll be in touch with lots of suggestions for ways you can help advane the reoform agenda.

This journal entry, like every other entry on this blog, is lovingly dedicated by me in memory of my mother, Joann G. Poland.

Nursing Home News Watch

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