"I want to go home, to my books and my music,” he said, his voice whispery but intense.
All Americans should be outraged by the shocking story on the front page of the NY Times last Friday, September 26th, titled “Fighting to Honor a Father’s Last Wish: To Die at Home.”
That a 91 year old man, approaching the end of a long life and suffering multiple age related impairments, was forced against his will, in violation of his clearly expressed wishes, into institutional care, isolated from his family, segregated from community, is wrong. “I want to go home” Joe Andrey repeatedly told his daughter and everyone involved in his care. Despite this clear desire, and the dedicated advocacy of his daughter to see his wishes respected, Joe was forced into a nursing home far from his daughter and his home, where residents were left sitting in their excrement, falls from bed were common, and pain medication was not provided.
Governmental programs, particularly Medicaid, are required by law to offer alternatives to nursing homes and to enable elderly individuals with medical problems to receive services in their home, instead of being forced into a nursing home. The disability rights movement worked long and hard to combat forced institutionalization of persons with disabilities. It is time for this battle to be taken to the field of forced institutionalization of seniors like Joe Andrey.
To read a copy of the NY Times article, please click here.
Kathryn L. Tucker