BISHOP LYNCH ENTERS LOCAL NURSING HOME
Now that I have your attention!
This morning I made my second visit to Bon Secour-Maria Manor Nursing home to celebrate the Eucharist and with the help of five other priests (God bless them) administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to those Catholics who wished to receive it. I am invited twice a year and enjoy going there to do something mildly pastoral as opposed to totally administrative. Since coming here, Maria Manor has always asked and seems to look forward to my visits. The staff go to great lengths to bring as many of the Catholic residents as possible down to the chapel and they come in all manner of wheel chairs, etc. Many of them are fast asleep prior to the beginning of Mass and it is one group you don’t mind sleeping through your homily. They seem at genuine peace. But one can not preach too long or one will be interrupted with an especially loud yawn and then you know you have pushed the envelope beyond its natural resting point. After all, no matter the age, the brain can not absorb what the tush can not tolerate.
Bon Secour-Maria Manor was the source of very negative publicity about six months ago in the local papers when the state accrediting and reviewing agency put them on strict probation for regulation avoidance. Prior to that, the facility had always received a five-star rating, one of the best in the area. Administrators reacted responsibility and were not accusatory. Instead they began to address the areas of concern and probably added some additional ones of their own that were not a part of the state-finding. I sensed a vast improvement this morning and they have already received reaccreditation from the professional agency which accredits nursing homes and are awaiting the unannounced visit of the state inspectors any day now. I would go to the bank that they will get at least four and maybe five of their stars back. It is financially challenging to operate a nursing home in the present environment with the state constantly cutting back on reimbursements for Medicaid patients. At one time, sixty percent of the population at Maria Manor was on Medicaid. The census for the facility has dropped in recent times, perhaps because of the publicity attendant upon the state’s probationary action, but also because here in Pinellas County we are losing elderly population in a significant manner. Father John Tapp, the pastor of Holy Family in which I live and Maria Manor is to be found says that his parish has lost about 1000 family units in the last decade. I truly hope that the Bon Secour Health Care System will hang in there in challenging times and continue to provide the continuum of service from Assisted and Alzhiemers care to full nursing care. As the pictures which accompany this blog indicate, they do lovingly take care of their resident and patient clientele.
So, I did indeed enter a nursing home on this Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul but I also walked out an hour later having celebrated two sacraments of the Church with a grateful, loving group of believers. Hats off to the staff of Maria Manor.