The humanity of post-acute care: part 1
The day’s surprise came in the sixth meeting of the NRC Health marathon series of interviews with clusters of long term care (LTC) residents and families. Life-long experience had prepared my wife, Mary, and me to lead this study. Still, we had not anticipated that so many new twists on old truths would set so many neurons firing full cylinder.
The surprise came when Marcie, a wizened 94-year-old, narrated the story of her first days at her LTC community. She felt anxious when she first arrived.
“It was not long before I got into the new routine. It came easy, I lowered my expectations.”
Marcie’s words were an electric jolt. I wondered what maledictions would have rained down if trial lawyers, regulators, and advocates were here listening to Marcie? These critics bemoan that LTC communities run on institutional logic; they do not support resident autonomy. Residents all too quickly surrender personal choice. Institutional routine asks new entrants to sacrifice individual lifestyles.
Did Marcie lower her expectations, and thereby surrender her independence? For a true answer, we need to look beyond what advancing age does to our body and see how far, how wide, and how deep its effects echo.
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V. Tellis-Nayak, PhD, is Senior Research Advisor at NRC Health, Lincoln, NE
He has been a university professor, whose scholarly work has been published in national and international professional journals. He has conducted research in the United States and abroad, and his major findings have reached a wider public through his writings in trade magazines. He and his wife, Mary Tellis-Nayak, have co-authored a book, “Return of Compassion to Healthcare,” which upholds humanity as the ultimate measure of success of any human endeavor. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.