Letter: Shame on us for warehousing the elderly

The Salt Lake Tribune recently ran a story (May 2) on health violations in dozens of nursing homes. The story was specifically about a nursing assistant, Nigel Kooyman, who resigned from a particular nursing home due to the substandard character of the facility. Investigations of numerous other homes showed the same pattern of neglect and mismanagement.

Kooyman is to be commended for exposing one of the true disgraces in our society: the way in which we “warehouse” (a word I’ve heard from other critics) the elderly in facilities that are dirty, smelly, unsanitary, impoverished, incompetently staffed — in general, inhumane.

As a pastor who has visited patients in nursing homes for decades, I concur with Kooyman’s assessment.

Certainly there are nursing homes that are well-run and have caring and competent staff (though these are mostly on the pricey side). But the majority are, in my experience, as Kooyman describes.

Rev. Msgr. M. Francis Mannion, Holladay

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