So yeah, we’ve all been talking about how long-term care is political fodder. I mean, it tears me apart that no one is interested in a good story coming out of our setting.

Take the AHCA/NCAL Quality Awards, for example. Meeting the Baldrige quality criteria is, in fact, no easy feat. Not all of the applications make it to the Bronze or Silver award, and it is a Herculean task to be awarded Gold. 

Yet, if you even attempt to take the news of these amazing award winners from any given year to any major mainstream news outlet, you will be turned down. They simply are not interested in any good news coming out of long-term care that would show we deliver quality care. 

But give them a “story” about a 100-year-old patient with end-stage Alzheimer’s disease who, in the process of dying, as all their other organs are shutting down, developed an unavoidable pressure injury from their largest organ — the skin — shutting down, and then, wow, that will make national headlines.

As a matter of fact, not only would the press run with a ridiculous story like this, but next would come the lawsuits. I’ve actually invented this mock commercial in my head. You zoom in on your typical slightly overweight white male lawyer, fancy suite, expensive desk, etc. He looks earnestly in the camera and says, “Did your 102-year-old loved one die in a nursing home of natural causes? It’s OK, we’ll find a reason to sue them. Just call 1-666-SUE-4You.” And as it fades out, the lawyer’s face blurs out and changes its color to red and devil horns appear on its head. 

OK, I have a vivid imagination. But seriously, it sometimes feels like the world is against us. But let’s do something about that.  The Quality Award decisions are wrapping up this month. In June, the Silver Awards will be announced.  So, while the national news outlets won’t take your incredible story, I am pretty sure the local news outlets will. Toot your horns. Let’s let the world know in any way we can. 

And who knows, maybe the “We’ll sue them for anything” lawyers will leave us alone. 

Nahhhh, my imagination will take me only so far!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC, and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, and a 2024 McKnight’s VIP Woman of Distinction award winner, is also an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

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