THE SEPT. 8 article citing an AARP report that ranked individual state performance on certain quality and access measures unfortunately focused on the two measures where the state ranked in the bottom half of all states, namely the high cost of nursing home care and the percent of residents who are physically restrained (“Mass. nursing care found lacking,’’ Metro). The article gave negligible attention to the many other criteria where Massachusetts nursing homes perform well, including staff turnover, reduced hospital admissions, treatment of patients with pressure sores, and percent of patients with low care needs.
Independent state surveys show that consumers are highly satisfied with the care their loved ones receive in nursing homes. In the most recent state Department of Public Health consumer satisfaction survey, nine in 10 respondents would recommend their loved one’s nursing home to other friends or family members.
It is important to note that three-quarters of a nursing facility’s costs are staff wages and benefits, and wage rates in the Northeast for all sectors of the economy, including health care, are the highest in the country. Nursing homes must offer competitive salaries if they are to attract and retain qualified staff.
Nursing homes continue to pursue innovative and cost effective ways to deliver high quality care.
Abraham E. Morse
Massachusetts Senior Care Association