Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.
– Javier Pascual Salcedo
Boulder City is fortunate to have the Nevada State Veterans Home located here. It is one of the best run in the country as its many awards would attest.
I have had friends whose loved ones were domiciled there and everyone has commented favorably on the excellent care in a spic-and-span environment by very caring personnel.
What sparked this article is something I recently heard about. Unfortunately, some of those housed there have Alzheimer’s and other dementias and would wander off without proper safeguards.
The standard way to deal with this was to attach a device to an ankle or wrist so that when such a patient would try to exit, a sensor would recognize the device and lock the door.
A recent conference about the problem suggested a unique solution. Patients with dementia do not interpret visual images in a normal manner. A black mat in front of a door may be seen as a big hole and they would avoid this frightening image.
An exit door can be disguised by a covering resembling a bookcase so patients do not recognize it as a door and so they do not go out.
The normal viewing windows of the door can be left uncovered and clearly marked exit signs over the door can be left in place.
The bookcase disguise was tried a few years ago and worked perfectly, allowing removal of the wrist and ankle devices. Inspection surveyors thought this was an excellent low-tech solution and the home was given commendations for its use until the latest bureaucratic surveyor who decided that disguising an exit door was against the fire code even though exit signs and windows were clearly visible.
The home was cited for a violation although that is now on appeal.
Gary Bermeosolo, administrator of the veterans home, told me that there are so many inspection teams who overlap what is covered and have conflicting views on proper implementation that too much time is spent for this and less time can be spent on caring for the inhabitants.
There should be some way to consolidate these many teams into one comprehensive one because it is important to insure compliance with standards. The government solution might be to just add one more layer to oversee all the others instead of consolidating.
If you know Gary, he is a mild mannered, easygoing chap, but if you want to get his blood pressure up and see him turn into a tiger, do or say something that adversely affects his veterans.
I recently learned he has decided to retire this year and hope it is of his own choosing and not a reaction to frustration with all the bureaucracy.
I agree with Thomas Sowell who said, “You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.”
Speaking of bureaucracy, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration at airport security has to rank as one of the most costly, frustrating experiences. I say if God wanted us to fly he would never have invented the TSA.
Glenn Nakadate is a Boulder City resident and can be reached at email@example.com.