(STATEHOUSE) Jan. 24, 2008 - Today, House Bill 1387 passed the Public Health Committee unanimously. The bill, authored by state Rep. Bruce Borders (R-Jasonville) asks for a small $8-per-month increase in personal needs allowance for nursing home and long-term care patients in Indiana.
"I know it doesn't sound like much," said Rep. Borders, "but a lot of these folks, essentially, are trapped inside their own bodies, unable to ask for things they would like or they need. The nursing home becomes their home - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We haven't increased the allowance in many years, and just increasing it from $52 to $60 per month will allow these Hoosiers to get a hair cut, cable television in their rooms, new shoes - little, everyday things that bring a spark of joy into their lives."
Anne Cardinal, a long-term and nursing care advocate, came to testify in favor of the bill. She explained that she and some nursing care residents went to Rep. Borders for help. They told him how little expendable cash is left, after all needs are met, to allow for entertainment or self-improvement.
"I look around this room, and I see lots of fancy clothes, hair cuts and manicures. I think I even smell some expensive cologne," said Ms. Cardinal. "These are small, everyday luxuries that many of us take for granted. However, these are luxuries no longer available to most in elder and nursing care. Many of these men and women served their communities well for decades. They deserve a little extra in their later years, and we want to be able to provide them with that."
Rep. Borders' bill passed unanimously after he handled questions from the Public Health Committee. Next, the bill may move to the Ways and Means Committee before becoming eligible for second reading on the House floor.