In her guest column, “Maine’s nursing homes shortchanged” (Feb. 9), April Nichols reminds the public of the disconnect between what we say, “we respect and care for vulnerable elders,” and what we do, which is try to deliver care on the cheap.
We say that the people who provide the services do important work and deserve to earn more, yet Maine consistently underfunds every part of the system, not just nursing homes.
Home care agencies, whose workers come to a family member’s home and get them out of bed, bathed, dressed and fed, are reimbursed $15 per hour, a rate that hasn’t changed since 2005. They must cover the same costs as other businesses, plus try to pay a wage that will recruit and keep caring, competent workers.
It is time for Maine to stop looking the other way. It has been almost 20 years since the Legislature make a significant investment in the long-term support services for elders.
If there are any funds available, the Legislature should to assure those funds are shared among all parts of the system.
Christine Gianopoulos, Greene