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Letters to the Editor: Why corporate nursing homes can’t handle the coronavirus

Visalia nursing home
Redwood Springs Healthcare Center in Visalia is the site of the deadliest coronavirus outbreak in a California nursing home.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I cannot speak with authority about our prison system’s ability to handle a disease outbreak, but I saw firsthand the decay of our nursing homes. (“They’re trapped, and the killer virus knows where to find them in California,” column, May 13)

In 1984, my mother suffered a devastating stroke and was placed in a Roman Catholic nursing home headed by a nun. The place was well run and clean, with a gracious and effective staff. After a few years, the home became part of a large chain run by laypeople, with a smaller, less effective staff.

By the time my mother died in 2003, the home was dirtier and more crowded, and the patients were noticeably less well cared for. I don’t blame the employees, because the work is some of the hardest imaginable, but I absolutely blame the corporate bean counters who assign dollar values to human beings.

The present crisis of COVID-19 killing so many nursing home residents and staff has only laid bare our reluctance to treat other people as we want to be treated.

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Renee Leask, Glendale


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