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'What to Do About AIDS'

June 05, 1985

The Visiting Nurse Assn. of Los Angeles, which has been the safety net for the Medi-Cal AIDS patient since 1983, welcomes your acknowledgement of the challenges of meeting the deepening AIDS crisis.

Nonetheless, we take exception to your editorial (May 28), "What to Do About AIDS," which states: "The two hospice facilities in the county do not accept patients on Medi-Cal, thereby leaving the indigent without in-bed care in the final stages of their illness."

The Visiting Nurse Assn., a not-for-profit community agency, does indeed accept AIDS patients on Medi-Cal in our program, "Hospice in the Home," which is an alternative to hospital care.

We would also draw your attention to the in-bed hospice care available to the AIDS patient at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The VNA-LA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center work in partnership to provide the full spectrum of care needed by the AIDS patient.

In addition, in a first-time-ever health care grant, the City of Los Angeles has awarded the VNA-LA and AIDS Project/LA funding to provide homemaker care to AIDS patients at home. These homemakers not only shop, clean, and cook, they also are companions and an essential part of the often fragile emotional support system available to the AIDS patient.

This grant recognizes the leadership of the VNA-LA as the first home health agency to step in to provide home care for the AIDS patient.

The public and even sometimes the medical community have responded to the AIDS patient with an unwarranted mixture of fear and horror. The Visiting Nurse Assn. of Los Angeles has fought ambulance companies and mortuaries who refuse AIDS patients. We persist in our search for a nursing home to accommodate an AIDS patient.

Acute hospital care is only one point on the spectrum of services the terminal patient needs. Care in the familiar surroundings of home is another option the Visiting Nurse Assn. has been providing to this community since 1939.

MICHAEL APPLETON

SHARON F. GRIGSBY

Los Angeles

Grigsby is president of the Visiting Nurse Assn. of Los Angeles and Dr. Appleton is its medical director.

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