I am writing in response to the recent article headlined, “Study: Seniors need more help to age at home.”

As a local long-term care administrator, I understand and appreciate consumer desire to stay at home as long as possible and I don’t disagree with the need for more community supports to foster this goal, as the report suggests.

The part of the article I take exception to, however, is the suggestion that my nursing home residents don’t really need to be in my care.

I don’t know how long ago Bonnie Smith, deputy commissioner of programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, worked in a nursing home in Maine, but much has changed in terms of resident acuity.

In an effort to save money, the state decided more than 15 years ago to dramatically change nursing home admission criteria, essentially reserving this level of care for only the most sick and frail. Today, Maine nursing home resident acuity is the highest in New England and among the highest in the nation.

Consumers typically consider our services when home care is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of a loved one. It is not a decision people make lightly or quickly. We have a nursing home eligibility standard in our state that prevents the scenarios that Smith might have readers believe are commonplace.



Matthew J. Lessard, administrator

Heritage Rehabilitation

and Living Center


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