To the Editor:

Re “Better Care in Nursing Homes” (editorial, Sept. 25):

Your editorial is in the camp of supply-side approaches to improving care through more and better trained health care workers. I would like to suggest that a demand-side approach be included: namely, a combination of more and better trained workers along with a self-help emphasis among staff and patients.

Demand-side strategies would include a role for the residents of nursing homes, including participation in self-help groups.

At present, nursing home residents are demoralized and conditioned by a trained incapacity to help themselves. This needs to turn around, and increasing the supply of professionals, though important, will not help empower residents in this way.

New York, Sept. 25, 2000
The writer, a nursing home resident, contributes to, the National Self-Help Clearinghouse.