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February 21, 1992 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-02-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I DETROIT

I

Jews And AIDS

Continued from Page 16

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vivors, were too overwhelm-
ed — both physically and
emotionally — to care for
their son at home. His last
wish was to be taken care of
in a Jewish nursing home.
As of Nov. 1, 1991, a total
of 2,533 cases of AIDS have
been reported in Michigan.
Of those, 1,606 patients have
died.
Lydia Myers, coordinator
of the service management
system for the AIDS Consor-
tium, said there isn't one
nursing home in Oakland
County the consortium can
access for HIV-infected
clients. The consortium,
started in 1985, brings
together providers of health
care. "Things have started
to change, however," said
Mrs. Myers.
Nursing homes that par-
ticipate in Medicaid and
Medicare and discriminate
against people with the HIV
virus are in violation of fed-
eral civil rights law, which
provides for the rights of
handicapped persons, accor-
ding to Mike Connors, pro-
ject coordinator for the
southeastern Michigan of-
fice of Citizens for Better
Care, a state advocacy
group.
"AIDS, according to state
and federal law, is a han-
dicapping condition," Mr.
Connors said.
Arnold Budin, new direc-
tor of the Jewish Home for
Aged, is aware of state and
federal law and is sympa-
thetic to the AIDS housing
crisis.
Neither Borman Hall,
Prentis Manor nor the
Fleischman Residence units
of Jewish Home for Aged are
equipped for intravenous
therapy, he said.
If an AIDS patient meets
nursing home facility
criteria, then under state
and federal law, Mr. Budin
would have to admit an
AIDS patient. "I would have
to go before the board of di-
rectors," he said. "But we're
not an alternative housing
setting. Nor are we assisted
living. In the end, it would
only make the AIDS patient
more of an invalid."
In the meantime, some-
thing must be done for Jew-
ish AIDS patients, Mr.
Budin said. "We have to
make sure services are
available to adequately
fulfill a plan for care," he
said. "It's no longer a matter
of choice. And it's a lot
bigger than just the Jewish
community."
Alan Goodman, director of
Jewish Family Service, is
optimistic about his agency's
role in the Jewish hospice'
task force, but doesn't think

hospice or Mary Fisher will
change people's attitudes
about AIDS.
The Hospice of
Southeastern Michigan cur-
rently sends teams of health
care professionals into 305
terminally-ill patient homes.
When necessary, the hospice
sends patients to area
hospitals with whom they
have contracts. At least 31
Jewish patients receive
hospice care.
"We've been talking to the
Jewish Federation about
creating a Jewish support
network in hospice for a long
time," said Carolyn Cassin,
director of the Hospice of
Southeastern Michigan.
"We're very happy to extend
a special service to the Jew-
ish community. It will de-
mand extra educational
training of our staff. But
we'd like to fill in the gaps.
We don't currently have a
rabbi on board, but we have
similar networks for our
Hispanic and Moslem
clientele."
According to Mr. Techner,
chairman of the Jewish
hospice task force, one of
their goals is to offer clergy
contact early on. "Too often,
hospice patients meet clergy
for the first time days before
dying," he said.
Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg,
spiritual leader of Congrega-
tion Shir Tikvah, in Troy, is
a member of the task force,
the AIDS Interfaith Net-
work and the new Michigan
Jewish AIDS Coalition,
formed in June of 1991.
In the last year, he has
counseled eight Jewish
AIDS patients, all of whom
are now dead.
"Not everyone has spiri-
tual needs," said Rabbi
Sleutelberg. "In some cases,
they were homosexuals who
were shunned by the estab-
lished Jewish community,
and now that they have
AIDS, are not necessarily
running back to Judaism.
"There are also those who
are looking for their roots
and have long since recon-
ciled their homosexual
lifestyle with Judaism," he
added. "But it's still the rare
rabbi in Detroit who talks
about this disease from the
bimah." Debra Beck regrets
not revealing her uncle's
name to The Jewish News.
She doesn't want anyone to
think she's ashamed. She
protects his name out of con-
sideration for her grand-
parents, who are still coming
to terms with their son's
disease. "They are still
undergoing a certain
amount of denial," said Mrs.
Beck, "not unlike the rest of
the Jewish community."



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