It was with sadness and disappointment that I received the news that County Executive Greg Edwards has decided to investigate the marketing of the Chautauqua County Home.
This disappointment was deepened in mid December when the Chautauqua County Legislature agreed with Mr. Edwards and decided to reinforce that action by voting to further pursue the possibility of offering this Chautauqua County gem to be sold to private interests.
Having recently had a family member spend two weeks at the County Home for rehabilitation after surgery, I had the opportunity to observe and witness both the physical plant and the marvelous work ethic which is provided by this facility and its staff. The buildings are very clean and well kept, visually appealing and spacious. There is a strong effort to maintain safety standards for residents, staff and visitors and much effort is put forth to maintain a warm, caring, respectful and positive atmosphere. The nursing staff, therapists and aides are well trained and positive, cooperative, nurturing and helpful. There is a secure unit in the building which houses clients suffering with dementia and Alzheimer's, offering them safety, constancy and love in a most respectful and caring manner.
The Home is open to community members. There is a beautiful Great Room and upper floor balcony which allow for large group activities from outside groups helping residents to share celebrations, religious services, musical programs, games and even a Christmas bazaar with volunteers. There is also a beauty shop for patients and a social worker and appointment clerk help to coordinate medical care for those clients who may have moved from hospital settings and are still in need of coordinated care.
In addition, the presence of the Chautauqua County Home allows the county to be a large provider of jobs to local residents and also to others outside of our county. There is always the need to examine the efficiency of the program and to make updates to assure quality control is maintained. The Legislature should continue to make use of such a strategy and to make changes as necessary. However, this program has been successful in the past and continues to provide high quality of care for citizens in need in our county.
The Chautauqua County Home is a gem of an opportunity for the County Legislature to continue to maintain hands-on control of a job force which is devoted to older members of our communities who are now disabled, and who have given much to our county in earlier stages of their lives. I urge the Chautauqua County Legislature to think long and hard before relinquishing control of the County Home to private outside interests.
Janey Duff O'Boyle is a Dunkirk resident.