I have never been prouder to be the executive director of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association. The nursing facility profession is facing perhaps the greatest public health crisis in the history of our state. Louisiana’s nursing facilities are under siege from an undetectable virus that preys on frail and elderly individuals — our residents. Our residents’ support system of families and friends have been cut off from facilities to protect our beloved residents from this deadly disease. Despite all the challenges and difficulties we’ve faced, the health care workers in our nursing facilities have been outstanding examples of courage, compassion and dedication.
All health care workers have been lauded as heroes during this pandemic and rightfully so. Yet, health care workers in nursing facilities have served in roles that go far beyond the typical clinical responsibilities, which is expected daily. You have become entertainers. I have seen countless videos on social media of our devoted workers singing, dancing or performing skits for cheerful, appreciative residents. The smiles on everyone’s faces are evident, even if some are hidden behind surgical masks.
You have become stand-ins for family members who have been prohibited from entering the facility. You have shared stories, laughed, cried or provided an encouraging word to help brighten a resident’s day. The love and compassion you’ve shown your residents have been consistent during uncertain times.
You have become a constant source of strength for your peers, residents and community members. You have worked tirelessly to protect the health, safety and well-being of your residents. Your example of self-sacrifice has resonated throughout the nation and has earned the well-deserved description of “health care hero.” You have been shining light during a very dark time.
To the 25,000 heroes in Louisiana’s nursing facilities, thank you!
Mark Berger, CPA CGMA
Louisiana Nursing Home Association