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Toni Talks about PT Today

My Patient Went to Vote

Published November 6, 2012 5:16 PM by Toni Patt

Last week, one of my patients took advantage of early voting. For the past few weeks, he was concerned about being able to vote. Finally last Friday his family picked him up, took him to a polling place and made a day of it. I think he'll be the only resident to cast a ballot this election.

Voting isn't something we normally think about for patients. For the most part, people who are hospitalized don't see voting as a priority. They're more concerned with getting better and going home. People with recent strokes, TBIs and the like aren't capable of voting. Many elderly nursing home residents suffer from dementia and are no longer competent to vote.

What about the rest of them? Most of my patients are cognitively intact with definite opinions about the outcome of the election. All they lack is transportation to the polling place. Absentee ballots are an option but someone has to request the ballot. Once the ballot is completed, it must be returned. I don't know what's involved in requesting an absentee ballot but I doubt it's too complicated.

I'm sure some of the residents wouldn't vote even if the opportunity presented itself. What about the rest of them? All day, I've been hearing public service announcements reminding people tomorrow is Election Day. The messages all stress that every vote counts. I guess nursing home residents aren't a population that comes to mind when discussing voting blocs.

I wish there was a way to enable those who want to vote to get a chance. Granted, any one vote doesn't make a difference in the outcome but it means something to the person who cast it.

3 comments

A veteran writer of 1100 conseccutive days of blogging myself, I appreciate the form and your effort.

The last place I worked the local officials brought voting to the SNF. Of course, it WAS Ohio.

Barrett Dorko, Manual Care - Physical Therapist, Many November 8, 2012 8:42 AM
Cuyahoga Falls OH

Ditto to Dean. This has never occurred to me.

This election I've heard two stories of elderly voters who cast their absentee or early ballot as one of their final living acts. One of those was my cousin.

My guess is there exists a contingency of home health clients that fall into the same category as patients in nursing homes. An initiative to get absentee ballots for the elderly shut-ins who want them is an excellent idea.

Great post, Toni.

Janey Goude November 7, 2012 5:30 PM

In all my years in health care I've not given this a thought. Thank you for waking me up!

Dean Metz November 6, 2012 6:39 PM

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