Ky. Voices: Column unfair attack on nursing homes, caregivers

Ruby Jo Cummins Lubarsky is the president of the Kentucky Association of Healthcare Facilities.
Ruby Jo Cummins Lubarsky is the president of the Kentucky Association of Healthcare Facilities.

I believe I speak for all of Kentucky's long-term caregivers who dedicate their lives to serving nursing-home residents as I share my great offense to the "hit piece" written by Jan Scherrer of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform. Scherrer's opinions are not only misleading, but slanderous toward the thousands of selfless health care professionals who serve Kentucky's seniors.

I respect the intentions of nursing-home resident advocates and wholeheartedly agree that our seniors deserve the very best care. Certainly, organizations like the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, our members and the dedicated caregivers in our facilities share the goals of ensuring that seniors have the highest possible quality of life.

This time, however, Scherrer and Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform have simply gone too far.

To think of the nurses, nurse assistants, orderlies and other professionals in the same terms as those who history has recorded as truly committing "crimes against humanity" is simply beyond the pale. Scherrer owes these dedicated caregivers an apology.

To hear someone describe the great work they do that way is simply unjust, extremely hurtful and gravely offensive not only to our caregivers, but to our residents, families, communities and the commonwealth. I encourage anyone who may share that view to spend just one shift with a nursing-home caregiver and then honestly look them in the eye and offer the same opinion.

Around the clock, each and every day, our caregivers are hard at work. Our facilities never close because they are our residents' homes. We are caring for them during tornados, earthquakes, ice storms and all other forms of natural disasters and uncontrollable circumstances. We are constantly on watch to ensure they receive the best possible care and live in the best possible environment.

It is not easy to read something like this in a newspaper, let alone to think of what the friends and families of our residents and caregivers would think. But I am comforted by how resilient, dedicated and professional our caregivers are in the face of such attacks. I know that they will put these unwarranted and slanderous attacks behind them and continue to go to work each and every day, greeting residents with smiles and doing the very best jobs they can.

We will not be intimidated by withering and false attacks like those leveled by Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform and the predatory personal-injury lawyers who prop up the group.

Finally, I must also say just how disappointed I am that this newspaper chose to print such inflammatory, slanderous insults without thinking through the implications of what that might mean to the thousands of nursing home caregivers in Kentucky who work their hearts out for our residents.

They deserve better.

At issue: Oct. 1 commentary by Jan Scherrer,"Our neglect lets nursing homes commit crimes against humanity"

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