It’s Time to Abolish Nursing Homes

The Nation: It’s Time to Abolish Nursing Homes (August 14, 2020)

Nursing homes allow for an economy of scale. Feeding, washing, and otherwise seeing to the needs of elderly and disabled residents all at once is more efficient than addressing those needs on an individual basis. But this efficiency comes at the expense of human dignity.

That leaves us with a few basic questions: Why do nursing homes exist? How have they so thoroughly embedded themselves in the American life cycle? And what can we do instead? One key is to leverage Medicaid funding to prioritize home-based care over institutional care. But despite legal requirements, seniors and families are rarely informed of this option. Jennifer Goldberg, the deputy director of Justice in Aging, pointed out that “far too often, hospitals and nursing homes don’t tell older adults how they can get the care they need in their homes and communities.”

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