Joe Peas and Long-Term Care
My novel, Joe Peas, features a plucky Italian housepainter who encounters a
harried family physician. A large part of the story occurs in a long-term care facility.
Under the category of “unintended consequences,” my fictional facility, The Center,
became an important part of the story.
Statistics indicate that fifty percent of our population will at some point in
their lives need the services of long-term care. Given that, even a larger portion of
our population will have a close relative or acquaintance spending some time in
Dr. Kenneth Brummel Smith, a noted geriatrician, once remarked that long-
term care had suffered a chronic reputation as snake pits. The American Geriatric
Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians, among others, have
worked diligently to improve long-term care along with improving the reputation of
Some would give the impression of nursing home as long dreary halls lined
with residents tied in wheel chairs and soiled by their own drool and other
excretions. Undeniably, occasional incidents of incontinence occur, but in my
experience, care is taken to keep the residents clean and free from odors. Multiple
actions have been taken to reduce the use of restraints.
Our nursing home staffs are very much a cross section of staffs everywhere,
but again, my experience is that residents are uniformly treated as well as family.
To do otherwise would indicate that a staff member might not be cut out for a long-
term care position.
Hopefully, readers of Joe Peas will come away feeling that if they ever have a
need for long-term care services that they will get care equal to that given in The