Left with the geraniums

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Some things seem obvious, and probably shouldn't require a law. Kittens shouldn't be water-boarded. Toddlers shouldn't have to work in coal mines, at least not in the dark or winter. Seniors in long-term care facilities should get some personal attention. But in the Netherlands, legislation is what it's coming to.

If the junior health minister has his way, every Dutch nursing home resident will soon be entitled to a full 60 minutes of quality staff time, according to The Telegraaf newspaper. For those of us not familiar with European time conversion, 60 minutes equals an entire hour over there.

Fortunately, providers aren't expected to pick up the tab for this. The government is going to provide extra funding, and some of the acceptable activities are reported to include short outings and looking at photographs. It would not, I hope and assume, be permissible for time-strapped staff to cut corners by looking at photos of short outings.

It's tempting to make light of something like this—in fact, it's pretty much my job. Those primitive Dutch are such easy targets, what with their wooden shoes and shiny silver skates, that it's almost impossible to resist. But since we've had to create staffing requirements of our own, with mixed success, we might be wise to defer amusement, as the challenge is apparently global.

It's also far too easy to get distracted by peripheral issues, like wondering if ABBA was Dutch or Swedish. But the point is that whether here at home or clear on the other side of the world, in a backward country where everyone has health insurance, seniors deserve personal attention. They should not be, as the radical junior health minister is reported to believe, “left to vegetate with the geraniums.”

In other news, advocates for Dutch geraniums are watching the situation closely.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the 2014 Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.


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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.