Daily Editors' Notes

You call these nursing home secrets?

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor
Reader's Digest magazine recently published an article called “50 Secrets a Nursing Home Won't Tell You.”

It's the latest entry in an ongoing series the magazine does for its readers. The idea is that the insights presented in each piece will inform you about things that various vendors would prefer to keep hidden.

I like Reader's Digest, and have been a semi-regular reader since junior high. But frankly, this list of 50 “secrets” doesn't dish a whole lot of dirt.

That is, unless you'll be shocked to learn insights such as:

  • Each resident gets a care plan.
  • Shared rooms can be louder than singles.
  • The smell of urine is a bad sign.
  • Activity calendars that offer only bingo may be limited.
  • Many front line employees are not paid well.
  • Yet, adequate staffing is very important.

Perhaps if you had just landed from another planet and wanted to know what a nursing home is, these basic facts might be somewhat helpful. But my guess is that they are not going to launch any Congressional inquiries, at least not in the near term.

Beyond the bait-and-switch going on here, I'm a bit dismayed by the lack of evidence that's actually presented. To call this a halfhearted effort would be to insult “half hearted.”

What a waste of paper and space. Especially when one considers the cornucopia of actual hair-raising practices this field has to offer. I'd like to tell you more about those. But like Reader's Digest, I think I'll just keep them secret.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.


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