Today I took my 94 year old mother to see her next home in Seaside. After losing my Dad a year ago, she was just settling in to Nehalem Bay House, getting to know a few people, and feeling comfortable there. We had a conversation about moving to another home when the level of care started to decline, but she didn’t want to make such a big transition.
Two weeks later I got a call from NBH announcing that they would be closing. Now we have to move her, and gratefully, I found her a room in Seaside. When we visited today, in spite of the kindness of the staff at the new place, my Mom left feeling fearful: fearful of the change, fearful of the bigger facility, fearful of getting to know new people.
If CARE has known since, when was it, October or before? That they were in financial trouble why were the families of residents not informed until December, only two weeks before Christmas? A gradual transition would have been so much more compassionate and professional.
I talked to one resident about his search for a new place. He said he might end up “back in the woods, where I was before I came here.” Another resident who has lived in NBH for 16 years has to go to Forest Grove, far from her family.
I am appalled at the way CARE has handled this, putting unwarranted stress on the families and elderly who have trusted them. As I investigate, these suggestions from Peter Starkey stand out as needing immediate action-
1. A stimulus program to reimburse long term care facilities for expenses incurred due to the pandemic and staffing.
2. A dramatic (!) increase in Medicaid reimbursement that allows for facilities like CARE to offer competitive wages and benefits.
3. Regulation of medical staffing agencies that have driven up prices to take advantage of the pandemic for financial gain.
I would add one of my own, communicate clearly and support our elders and their families.