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Dear Editor,

I am advocating group and nursing home abuse and neglect. I’m a 64-year-old single disabled Black woman living in a nursing home almost two years now. I suffer from severe osteoarthritis that has kept me from walking. I am overweight with asthma, angina, hypertension and CHF. I am no longer sad about being in a nursing home, because of my faith, knowing God has blessed me with a plan to help others without a voice to help themselves. And by placing me on the inside to see first-hand as well as having experienced some neglect and abuse as well, has made it better for me to understand the needs necessary for improvements.

Ombudsmen and reps working for state can only do so much, because of being blocked by HIPPA laws which does more to protect the facilities, staff and management instead of the residents. Too often reps are transferred to other areas of town by the time you’ve connected with someone good at assisting with addressing grievances and concerns. I am seeking strong platforms including newspapers, internet media, and/or TV shows to advocate against such abuse and neglect which I have seen and experienced first-hand. I have also noticed that residents with family and friends visiting are treated better than residents without anyone to check on them. My goal is to help create and/or change laws for nursing and group home residents in the state of Texas.

I notice there are so many charities and causes that are near and dear to the hearts of the most notable celebrities in show business, but nursing home reform is not on the list. Maybe it’s because the majority of residents cannot give accurate accounts or info due to having dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease. And many of them have very little and no family. And it’s hard to help people that may not even understand or be aware of their rights. A lot of them even forget that they were mistreated yesterday or even a minute ago. So how can we improve care for all residents?

One way is by having mandatory laws put in place that all nursing homes must have working cameras in range showing who goes in and out of each room as well as at every entrance and exit of the facility. Cameras should be within range of each and every hall, front, middle and back, including the nursing station where many of the aides gather to just talk and goof off while ignoring call lights turned on by residents who need assistance. This would cut down on a lot of neglect.

Also, new laws are needed to be changed to allow people to keep fifty percent of their checks to have enough funds to purchase necessities, and/or other food as well as having enough money to be able to pay rent somewhere else and not end up homeless if nursing home benefits run out. I am in a small room where my roommate pays $573.00 a month, but they are charging me over $1000.00 a month for the same room. And that should be illegal.

I have selected African-American News & Issues as one of the first papers to send a letter to because, this is a predominately Black nursing home facility managed mainly by African-Americans. I was very happy at first to see that. But now, I am not so sure. However, I am surprised to realize that a nursing home administrator is only required to have a business degree instead of a nursing degree or any other type of medical degree to be employed as an administrator over a health facility. I do hope that you consider this writing as being good enough to publish in your paper. And thank you for reading my letter.

Sheila Perez
Spring, TX

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