Thursday, October 25, 2007

Plain Dealer Creates Homeless?

Shocking News: Nursing Homes Fill Beds With Homeless People!!

On Sunday, the Plain Dealer did a three page story about the out of control nursing home industry. There is no doubt that the nursing homes are under-regulated. There is no doubt that state government is at their mercy, and will do anything that the nursing home industry wants. The nursing home lobby is one of the most powerful in the state, and will figure out a legislative "fix" to the problems raised by the PD. The nursing home owners will probably be richer after this story, and the "fix" by their representatives in Columbus. The problem is that homeless people will suffer as a result of this story. It seemed as though the St. Vincent doctor and homeless people were exploiting the system and the article made it seem that nursing homes were unsafe because they allowed homeless and mentally ill to over stay their welcome.

Most homeless people do not want to be in a nursing home, because they feel like it is almost like a pre-release corrections facility. Also, most homeless do not need round the clock care. The shelters have the opposite issue with almost no care because there are just too many people. We have one facility, Joseph's Home, that can house 9-10 men and can offer care by nurses, but it is not a nursing home. That is all we have in a county of 1.3 million people for people who become homeless. There are 10 beds that offer care between a nursing home and just a bed in a shelter. I am not saying nursing homes are the answer, but until there is something else why rock the boat? All this will mean is that nursing homes will kick people out after 30 days and there will be larger numbers in shelters.

I knew a guy who had no legs and was in a wheel chair. He stayed on Euclid Ave. for years and would panhandle every so often. He could not take care of himself and spent some time with the guys at Camelot. There was no way he could live in an apartment. Finally, he got into a nursing home over in Euclid, Ohio. It was not the best for him, and he was always threatening to leave, but what other choice did we have? He would have died if he had stayed on the streets for one more winter. He had huge health complications that were only exacerbated by the rain, snow, and heat of the streets of Cleveland. I don't have all the answers on this, but I know that the massive number of homeless people in nursing homes are going to suffer this winter because of the Plain Dealer story.

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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