Letters to the Editor
What to do when a loved one is hospitalized
As a COVID physician in Albuquerque, I am heartbroken to see how many people have fallen ill and been hospitalized away from family, loved ones, and their community.
Most hospitals aren't allowing visitors due to concerns about staff and other patients catching COVID from visitors who don't know they are infected. Despite not being able to see each other in person, there are still ways for us to support family and loved ones who are hospitalized.
If your loved one is hospitalized please:
1. Call to check in with them (or with their nurse) every day.
2. Ask if the hospital or nursing home will allow you to drop off magazines, word finding puzzles, a blanket from home, food from home, a small radio so they can hear the station they want - including Navajo, Spanish, or English language stations, as well as for music.
3. Encourage them to ask if a hospital chaplain can call them. Many also have Pastors/Priests who can administer sacraments if wanted.
4. Ask if your own faith tradition leader can call them and speak with them - including if a medicine man or medicine woman can.
5. Tell the hospital or nursing home if your loved one would prefer to speak in a language other than English - be it Navajo, Zuni, Spanish, Arabic, or any other language. The nurses and doctors may assume your loved one understands us. Every hospital is required to have interpreters available via phone if unavailable in person.
6. Ask if the hospital has an iPad your loved one can use so you can 'see' them through FaceTime or Zoom. Ask your elected officials and local hospitals if they can set up spaces outside of hospital and nursing homes for loved ones to FaceTime or Zoom with patients.
7. Tell your loved one that you love them, that it's not their fault they have COVID, that you are wearing your mask, and that you will get your COVID vaccine to keep yourself and others safe.
And please wear your mask, stay physically distant from others, get your COVID vaccine when you can so we can help prevent others being hospitalized.
Eileen Barrett, MD, MPH, SFHM, MACP
Clean those furnace filters
I am a representative of Home Plumbing and Heating. I am an experienced HVAC Technician and I have been seeing concerning issues with people's furnaces as of late.
I have had 3 instances in which there has been carbon monoxide in people's houses due to a plugged air filter in the last month alone.
The reason for this letter is to remind people to clean their air filters on their furnaces regularly to prevent this from happening since we have seen elevated instances of it these last few months.
What about the voice of the working person?
As I did last year at this time, I am writing to remind The Daily Times about its responsibility to represent the views of a wide variety of county residents, and not just the views of those it currently has on speed dial.
On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage in NM rose to $10.50 an hour. Thanks to our legislature, we are inching closer and closer to paying folks a living wage, enough to afford rent, food and utilities.
I am overjoyed and proud of my state. Instead of celebrating what is clearly a victory for the most vulnerable in our community, the Daily Times chose to frame this as a concerning problem and failed to interview even one individual for whom this change is welcome, life-giving, and a relief.
This bill was written to help these folks, and it will. Instead we heard from a CFO from Pesco, and the Chamber of Commerce, and were treated to their cynical, gloomy speculation about what might happen when people are paid fairly.
The minimum wage increase is a bright spot in a dark winter. Let's celebrate justice and compassion in our community!
Mary Ann Briody
The community needs more caregivers
As the General Manager of Comfort Keepers In Home Care Agency I like most people have experienced and witnessed the impact COVID-19 has had on our communities. I could not have prepared myself or our team however for the devastation this pandemic has had on our seniors and chronically ill.
Not only are they isolated from family and friends, they are seeing a decline in their own health and then a shortage in caregivers that are needed to assist them when in need. This is a problem that affects our entire community.
Most of us either know someone who needs in-home or community based care, or we know someone who WILL need care at some point (possibly even ourselves). What will we do if quality care becomes a thing of the past due to lack of caregivers? Who will take care of your loved one, or you, as you age or become ill?
It is projected that the demand for caregiver jobs will continue to surge. We are facing a community, and national, crisis if we cannot meet these demands.
Part of the solution to this problem is to let people in the community know what being a caregiver looks and feels like, and that these jobs are available. Mentoring programs are available to provide this view and answer any questions as well as local support groups. Some organizations provide free training and classes for those new to the industry. Agency leaders are available to discuss these roles as well.
Caregiving jobs can be very rewarding. Caregiving positions can be the gateway to professional growth like obtaining certifications (CNA), nursing degrees and company advancement into leadership roles.
This is a time when many people are fearful to be around others. Care agencies are providing their caregivers with necessary Personal Protective Equipment, frequent testing opportunities, as well as keeping them up to date on all developments regarding Covid. Seniors and caregivers are also slated by the State of Colorado to receive vaccination opportunities ahead of the general public.
Please help support our community. Become a Caregiver Today!
Erin Youngblood, Comfort Keepers
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