In all of my 23 years specializing exclusively in long-term care insurance (LTCi), the Houston Chronicle has done scant reporting on LTCi and long-term care planning. They’ve done a story on how to financially plan for aging and left out mentioning LTCi altogether. On the rare occasion they’ve made mention of LTCi they’ve gotten vital facts wrong.
In a city as large as ours, I’m very embarrassed about the Houston Chronicle’s dearth of coverage of LTCi, a subject that would help its readers. I believe New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, and many smaller cities than Houston, have had good coverage of LTCi lately. Houston still hasn’t.
In her recent Houston Chronicle column, “Why Staff Matters in Choosing a Nursing Home”, reporter Cindy George advises using various online tools to help you “shop” for a facility that won’t neglect or abuse your loved one. She makes this task sound as easy as, say, researching a computer or vacation online.
If you do the proper research, her article implies, your loved one won’t be subject to neglect, abuse, or the murders or beatings that have recently occurred at two Houston nursing facilities. Or maybe your loved one will be subject to just some abuse and neglect, but not beatings or murders? To accomplish this just use the tools she provides; it’s that easy.
Here’s what I wrote to her on my Facebook page:
“Cindy George of the Houston Chronicle, I know you’re trying to help by offering advice on how to choose a functional nursing home, in light of the recent nursing home violence we’ve had in Houston. Your advice may make readers feel good in the short term by giving them the impression there are decent odds they might have any control over the quality of their care if they cannot afford to pay for it. I would like to help add depth to your reporting and hope you will accept my invite to lunch or coffee.”
The problem with stories like “Why Staff Matters in Choosing a Nursing Home” is that it lulls people into believing doing correct facility research and shopping is all they’ll need to access quality long-term care. Responsible long-term care planning is not necessary. The government is there and will be there to pay for quality long-term care.
Government financing for long-term care is decreasing. Nursing home failures, neglect, abuse, tragedies, are increasing.