Friday, November 22, 2013

Did Failure of State to make exemption, make things worse at Veterans home?

In 1978 the state of Michigan began passing anti smoking laws, which today forbid smoking in public places.

Exemptions were noted in the law. In 2009, at the Michigan Veterans home in Grand Rapids, the veterans who were in residents had smoking rooms on each unit where a veteran could go and enjoy a smoke.

In 2010, those rooms were closed, forcing the veterans to go out side. An exemption was applied for, but then Canadian born Governor Jennifer Granholm refused to sign the exemption bill.

Veterans were forced to go outside to a designated area, that was without heat and in 2010, 66 veterans died of pneumonia related illnesses, but whose deaths were recorded as caused by smoking or other things.

Before this, veterans usually stated on their units. With the new ban in place, many veterans had to travel to the new designated area, and spent much time away from their units. Many were slow movers, and when the staff told them they had to be back by a specific time for what ever reasons, most veterans ignored the instructions claiming they were interfering with their right to live as they saw fit.

Having to go and find veterans made it more difficult for staff and care givers to do their jobs.  It takes longer to find the veterans, and longer to do their daily care.  Part of the result of this is the home is now in lock down mode after 8pm. Doors leading to the outside are locked, and the veterans heated smoking area is off limits after 8pm. If  a veteran wants a smoke, he has to go out the front entrance, where there is no heat, and ring a buzzer to be let in. If no one comes, it is possible he will be outside for an extended period of time. THIS IS NOT GOOD.

Also, uncooperative veterans are seen as needing behavioral modifying medications and this is when the staff started drugging the veterans. This led to over medicating the veterans resulting in a number of premature deaths of a significant number of veterans.

Some of the drugs are the kind that require a trained professional to oversee their use, yet the home has remained without such professional for over 5 years while they continue to use the medications on the veterans, with our without the veterans consent. This is the reason some family members are claiming the veterans are being abused with over medications.

This winter, the smoking tent-area is now shut down at 8pm, the double sliding doors by cozy corners, locked at 10pm. Once again, if the Guys want a smoke after 10, they will be forced to go OUTSIDE IN THE COLD, with NO HEAT, to have their smoke. 

This is what this administration is forcing upon those men who put their lives on the line.

If the Veterans had been granted the smoking exemption for THEIR HOME, none of this may not have happened.

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