I"m going to preface this blog with the following disclaimer: "Yes, I realize that I am going to sound like an asshole for what I'm about to say, and NO, there's nothing I care to do about it.
I don't think nursing homes should exist. I think they're a complete drain on the health care system and a complete drain on money. I can personally guarantee that at least 75 percent of the people in nursing homes are not there on there own dime, or even the dime of their families. Their "care" is being paid for by you and I, through social security and medicaid/medicare Personally I can't see how the government can justify spending billions each year to barely keep people alive.
I'm not saying that I should be the judge of when quality of life becomes more important than life itself. But what I can say is; what's the point of keeping a 97 year old women alive on a machine or what's the point of drawing labs and analyzing every possible bodily fluid just to make sure parts of her haven't stopped working, i.e. renal failure. It just doesn't make sense to me.
Normally I'm a big fan of capitalism and competition, even in health care. The competition drives us to develop new technologies to help with the diagnosis and care of patients. This isn't the case with nursing homes. Nursing homes are strictly a business. Most hospitals are non-profit organizations.
We have a contract with a company who has contracts with nursing homes, they'll go out to a nursing home and draw blood or take urine samples. Next, they send these samples to my lab for analysis. We charge this company for our services and they in turn charge nursing homes any fee they feel like charging them for a service that they don't need. The reason companies like these have popped up is because nursing homes continue to employ under qualified people. Why pay a nurse 20 bucks an hour when you can pay an aid 8 bucks an hour. It's all about the bottom line for these people.
Not only do the pocketbooks of whomever pays for these services suffer, but general health care of everyone in the community can suffer. I've been told that company's like the one I just described to you (let's call them B&B) are the reason I have a job, they keep us in the black. So guess what. We basically have to suck their collective dick and process everyone of those specimen stat. The get pushed ahead of patients that have just had heart attacks, they get pushed ahead of the patients in the I.C.U's, and they even get pushed ahead of the patients in the E.R. Simply to make a buck.
I've stated this before, but why do I give a fuck if some 97 year old grandma who can't bathe herself, is completely devoid of use to our society, and who uses the money I'm putting into social security and medicaid live? The answer is I don't. at 97 you've lived a full life, why are you trying to prolong death. I think it's time we start investing money into people who are productive members or at least have the potential to be productive members of society. (Think scholarships for the best and brightest).
I'll give a couple groups a break though. I think if you're a veteran and have war related injuries then the government should take care of you until you decide you're ready to die. Secondly, If you've been smart enough to invest you're money well, and save enough so that you're still paying you're own ticket, by all means stay alive as long as you'd like. I don't care if you prolong death till the year 2050 waiting for the fountain of youth, as long as you're waiting on your dime. I'm all about giving things to people who have earned them. If you've worked hard to provide for yourself into your golden years then you should be allowed to do whatever you want. Even people with old money, If one of your ancestors had the foresight to work hard and make a fortune so that his descendants could live well, then good for him.
The only thing I'm trying to say here is that we're pumping money into a useless system. It's not an investment in any way. AT least the war in Iraq has the potential for some positive impact. I know many of you are not supporters of the war, but in 100 years history is going to look back and see a democracy being established in the middle east as one of the most significant events of the last 200 years. That, or it really is the beginning of Apocalypse.