Now that we're looking carefully at the situation with nursing homes in New Orleans (search), it has become apparent that it is not a city where the frail should congregate to spend their final days.
The New York Times reported Thursday that in the past when New Orleans was evacuated as a hurricane was bearing down, frail nursing home patients died in buses stuck in 12-hour traffic jams.
The Times also reported that 53 nursing homes were evacuated this time in the New Orleans area. Some may have been pulling their people out just as the storm hit or just after.
New reports indicate that 61 patients died in four New Orleans area nursing homes which were not evacuated before the storm.
One nursing home operator — who the paper described as panicked about finding some of her patients who were scattered in the chaotic evacuation — says she did not go ahead with an evacuation because some of her patients simply would not have survived the traumatic moving of an evacuation.
One nursing home spent $50,000 to get its patients out.
The state attorney general is investigating yet another nursing home where 14 patients died in the flooding because they were not evacuated.
Seems to me that people who are forced to put their aging parents in a nursing home should now consider where the nursing home is located.
When my mother was in one in Los Angeles 20 years ago, I must say, I didn't think about it. Had an earthquake happened and she were trapped, I would have been devastated, of course. Who wouldn't?
And this was the situation for people in New Orleans. They probably didn't think about the city filling up like a soup bowl.
People probably don't think about earthquakes as much as they should in L.A. and San Francisco.
People probably don't think about the consequences of a wildfire in the hills of California, but they probably should.
How are the frail going to get out? For those of us at that age where we have to consider how to handle the last years of an aging parent, perhaps we ought to think about facilities where natural disasters are distant and remote possibilities.
That's My Word.
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