A member of my family has Parkinson's disease and has been in a nursing home for the past few years. Even though I am a physician, I did not fully realize the difficulties inherent in the management of the chronically ill patient until this personal experience occurred. I note with chagrin that clergymen consider visits to a nursing home to be a rather onerous task, and therefore these patients receive less emotional support than I had imagined. It is apparent to me, also, that physicians share this attitude.
The care of the chronically ill patient in all age groups is certainly a major concern in this country, and consideration of the emotional needs of patients in nursing homes will become even more important in the next few years. How does care of these patients, both physical and emotional, differ from care of the patient who is acutely ill? What problems are introduced when the patient is cared for in a nursing home rather than his own home?
McKegney FP. Treatment of Chronic Illness— Home or Nursing Home? JAMA. 1967;201(13):1060–1061. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130130086045
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