I am not writing this to plead my case on why the Chautauqua County Home should not be sold. I am simply relaying a true story.
A 25-year-old female, living in Jamestown, was working for a living, owning her own home and contributing to her community.
One awful day she was in a terrible car accident leaving her with traumatic brain injury, leaving her unable to speak, eat or move her entire left side.
She spent most of her immediate care in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. After which she was sent to a private nursing home in northwest Pennsylvania. At this facility she was neglected, allowed to develop contractures in both her arms and legs. As a result, she was sent back to the hospital to have her tendons lengthened.
When ready for discharge back to long-term care, the parents were very concerned that this would happen again. With the help of the social worker at the hospital, tours were set up with nursing homes in Chautauqua County. The parents did not like the choices.
They returned to the social worker who searched the internet and found a highly rated nursing home located in Dunkirk - the Chautauqua County Home. Needless to say, this young lady has been a resident here for 2 and a half years. She has worked with our therapy department and individually with the staff on the unit. As of today, the parents are making plans to take her home, something they thought would never happen.
What a success story!
During the Department of Health survey in 2013 they reviewed the care this young woman received. Upon exiting the survey, the team member stated that if she had been placed at any other facility in this area this young woman would not be doing as well as she was. Now that is something to be proud of! (And not just the individuals who work with her on a day to day basis, but as a county, as we made those resources available to her).
I am telling you this story because her parents have tried to reach out to their legislators and County Executive Vince Horrigan. They are simply ignored.
Being the nurse that is in charge of this woman's care I could not let her story go untold. I would not be doing my job if I did.
As an employee of the county I also advocate for all employees of the county, from nursing home to payroll. Without the 280 employees at the County Home, yes, their pay/benefits are gone, but, so is the need for all the employees in human resources, payroll and technology. As a resident of the county I advocate for my neighbors, family, and friends.
Yes, Legislator George Borrello, our taxes would decrease if the Home were sold. But I, like most county residents, do not live in a $350,000 home. I would rather that $10 in my taxes be spent on the County Home.
As I speak of my neighbors, they include the people who work at the County Home. A great percentage have already decided to sell their homes and move to a place where they can make a decent living. I do not know if I would wish to stay also.
Finally, I would simply like answers to very simple questions. VestraCare wants to build onto the County Home, with assisted living and more rehab services. I can count five assisted living facilities in the Dunkirk/Fredonia area alone. Why do we need another one?
I can count several rehab facilities. Why do we need another one?
What we do need is a skilled nursing facility that accepts all patients, despite means of paying. After all, that is why the County Home was started. Have we all forgotten that?
I thank you all for your time and allowing me to do my job.
Amy Meyer is a registered nurse at the Chautauqua County Home and a Dunkirk resident.