The Atlantic: “How to Fix Nursing Homes”

The Atlantic: “How to Fix Nursing Homes”

The Atlantic: “How to Fix Nursing Homes” 150 150 Dan Frith

The Atlantic recently published an article, “How to Fix Nursing Homes,” that makes an alarming (but accurate) statement about America’s nursing homes:

American nursing homes historically have operated and been regulated as total medical/residential institutions — like asylums. To a large extent, this is still the situation today.

That’s right: many nursing homes are run like asylums. The residents are not treated with respect and dignity.

They have few rights and even fewer opportunities to live a life on their own schedule.  Some people like to stay up late while others go to be early and are up before the sun. Some residents like to have their lunch at 11:00 AM and dinner at 8:00 PM.

In short, most elderly individuals have certain “life patterns” developed over decades of living and to alter them to a facility-wide schedule can be disorienting, and cause unhappiness and worse.

My Suggestion:  Check out the nursing home before placing a loved one in the facility.

Ask the Administrator and Director of Nursing (DON) whether the facility allows for, and accommodates, differing life styles and life schedules.

If they do, your family member might be a lot happier and more engaged in that facility.

About the author

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at

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