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Editor:

I have never been compelled to write a letter to an editor until now. I am appalled at the use of my grandmother’s and my photo in your recent article, “Immediate Jeopardy” (June 4). I provided my opinion, all positive, to Ms. Harrison for her article; however she only chose to use my photo in her negative article. Had I known what her agenda was, I would have declined!

Providing for a senior family member is an extremely hard, sensitive and delicate issue, to say the least, and your reporter only makes it harder for no reason. As for myself, I am greatly appreciative for the staff and residents at St. Luke’s. They have made me and my family members feel extremely welcome. I, personally, go to St. Luke’s at least four times a week to visit my grandmother, so obviously I would see any unprofessional or unacceptable behavior if it was there. It is not!

I realize things can happen and have happened, which is unfortunate, but to have such a one-sided, negative article with our photo is unacceptable. Ms. Harrison should have used at least one of my positive comments, since she chose to use our photo.

That being said, growing up here and knowing a lot of people, her article has only backfired as everyone is asking me about my grandmother and the article. I proudly let them know of all the positive experiences I’ve had and witnessed at St. Luke’s. From playing bingo with the residents on Mondays and Fridays, to a field trip to Sequoia Zoo, watching them paint art projects, the trolley that goes around and offers snacks. One only needs to look at the activities calendar in the Garden Room to see how committed the staff is to our senior citizens. St. Luke’s staff is very patient, kind and respectful of and to their residents.

St. Luke’s has a clean environment. My grandmother has a shower daily. They use linen tablecloths at meal times. Just a few things your reporter forgot to mention. This facility is clean and very well kept. I’ve been there so much they couldn’t hide that – it’s just not happening.

I appreciate all the care, comfort and guidance that my grandmother and I’ve received from the staff at St. Luke’s. I would, and have, highly recommended this establishment for people with a senior family member. Knowing how hard this decision has been for me and my family members, the staff at St. Luke’s has helped us cope greatly.

I am terribly upset by your article.

Brenda Flores, Eureka

Editor:

I saw your issue of the Journal dated June 4 and my friend was on the cover, so I was excited to read the article. I was angry when I read the article as it was so negative about issues that can happen in nursing homes. It was very one-sided. I know this family and how hard it was for them to put their loved one in a nursing home. I know they picked a fine nursing home based on how they talk about the facility and the great staff. On any given day of the week you can find a family member there visiting their grandmother.

I’ve had the experience of caring for my senior mother-in-law for five years and had I known about St. Luke’s I would have had an option. Knowing what I know now, I would chose St. Luke’s.

I feel strongly that you should write another article, on the good things showing what this facility is providing to families and their residents.

Susan Calkins, Eureka

Editor:

Your front-page article regarding nursing homes is unfair and one-sided. It was written with one goal in mind and that is to paint a bad picture of nursing homes and the people that work there. Your comment that “nursing homes are far from heaven, it’s hell” is one of the most irresponsible [pieces of] journalism I have ever encountered. Based on your limited facts, you have used sensational wording to judge the skilled health care nursing homes. Have you ever worked in a nursing home? Do you know what these underpaid nursing aides and nurses, cooks and house keepers have to go through taking care of our elderly, most of whom have dementia and require back-breaking work? Do you know the amount of compassion that goes with this work and how these employees sacrifice so much to make this population, whose families have no means of taking care of them, be properly cared for? No! They do their best to make their stay here as comfortable and pleasant as possible with minimum compensation.

What a slap on their face, telling the whole world that they create a hell of an environment for our elderly. At the end of the day after these workers have broken their backs, have been scratched, slapped, kicked, verbally abused and with very little appreciation, they go home knowing that they have done their best. You have not, and you have done these workers a disgrace.

Of course there are mishaps, and there are some employees who have acted neglectfully, but the majority of the employees are compassionate, loving, caring and unselfish. You call this investigative or responsible journalism? You are unfair and unprofessional. You have been selfish and passed unfair judgment. Thanks to your ignorance or possibly lack of journalistic skills you have dampened a lot of people’s spirits.

Benjamin Adduru, Fortuna

Ed. reply:* To be fair, the quote Benjamin Adduru refers to in his first paragraph actually reads as follows: “Nursing homes are far from heaven, sometimes hell, and always dependent on a dedicated staff, which can be hard to attract and retain.” As should be clear in the article, it was no one’s intention to denigrate the underpaid professionals who take care of our elderly. We would prefer that they be given the resources (and the salaries) they deserve.*

Brenda Flores’ complaint is certainly understandable, but she should know that the original draft of reporter Carol Harrison’s story did indeed contain a version of their conversation. Unfortunately, the piece had to be edited for space purposes. Though we feel that other interviews with St. Luke staff made some of the points Flores wishes to make, we do apologize for using her photo out of context.

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