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Nursing home woes are a grim window into who we are, what we value

The exterior of Willimansett Center East, one four Western Massachusetts nursing homes slated to close this spring, in Chicopee.Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe/Carlin Stiehl

Re “Nursing homes’ closures chaotic: Patients forced out abruptly, advocates say” (Page A1, March 10): There is no good way to close a nursing home. There are many ways to run them well.

As a community psychiatrist, I have been in many, and years ago I had a chance to study some. A few facts stand out: The work is very stressful and the pay very, very low. Few see this work as an occupation with a career ladder built in, and few workers are paid well for the creative work they do.

End-of-life issues are avoided in conversations, and few in the health care industry are motivated to do such work.


Maybe the problem reflects what we as a society consider important. Working with the elderly is clearly not highly valued. That is tragic.

Dr. George Sigel