This year has been a challenging one to say the least. Grief over lost time with loved ones in long-term care is understandable. Also, not being able to say goodbye to a loved one due to quarantine restrictions certainly causes pain and anguish. The holiday season can amplify these feelings.
About a month ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidelines that advocate family visitors to return to nursing homes. At this time only three states are not allowing visits. The guidelines provide specifics on how to visit a family member while remaining safe. Unfortunately, it still means making tough choices between a resident's mental and physical health.
Alan Packer said, “We can do hard things—it’s the impossible that takes a little longer.” Well, we have been doing hard things for quite a while now. In fact, it seems that we are in the ‘impossible’ phase now. Truly, I believe we have been working on accomplishing the “impossible” for quite some time now, aided by resilience.
The Physician's Oath promises to approach all patients with integrity, candor, empathy, and respect. I believe that most doctors take their oath seriously. I believe most doctors study very hard because they truly want to help other people and make a positive difference in the field of medicine. Doctors have a tremendous responsibility in today's messy healthcare environment. They work long hours, have many patients and deal with lots of complications to ultimately deliver the care that their patients need. So, is it really possible for doctors to provide compassionate care?
In recognition of National Volunteer's month, I'd like to honor the people who serve as long-term care ombudsman. Many people do not realize the important role they play in keeping our elders safe by advocating for their rights.