Two Months in the Nursing Home

  • Seymour B. Sarason†
Part of the Caregiving: Research, Practice, Policy book series (CARE)


Where I reside the nursing home is called the “Health Center,” a euphemism that obscures the fact that a large majority of patients will be there until they die and they know that. It always reminds me that during World War I sauerkraut was called liberty cabbage. And it was around the time that undertakers called themselves morticians or funeral directors. In principle I have no objection to accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative. I make an exception, however, when the negative is the overarching concern of people! The word and concept of nursing homes evokes imagery and obligations. Substituting wellness for nursing conveys implicitly the message, “Let’s not say that your days are numbered, let us talk about other things,” a message every patient knows is a form of Madison Avenue advertising. Don’t call it impotency, call it erectile dysfunction. Calling a nursing home a wellness center is but one of the ways illustrative of how differently patients and staff define needs. The gulf between the phenomenologies of patients and staff has different sources and the bridging of that gulf is primarily the obligation and responsibility of the staff.


Nursing Home Independent Living Pressure Sore Selection Committee Medical School Faculty 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seymour B. Sarason†
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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