D’Autilio: Greenwich Should be Lauded for Having the Only Town-Owned Nursing Home in CT

Submitted by Margaret D’Autilio, Greenwich

I am a fourth generation Greenwich citizen and I am disappointed in the changes that are proposed for the Nathaniel Witherell.  It has been said that NW is the last municipal owned nursing home in Connecticut, as if that is a reason to offload it.  

I feel that is a reason that Greenwich should be lauded. It demonstrates to the citizens of other municipalities that Greenwich takes care of its people all the way through their lives into their geriatric years, when they’re in need of the most assistance.  Greenwich should be proud of this!

It has also been said that NW costs the town money and that the funds needed to operate NW would be better spent for education. Paying for education is very important, but so is paying for the elderly, and many former teachers, school administrators or parents of teachers and administrators who have come through the doors of NW.  Former and current residents of the NW also include fire fighters and police officers who spent their lives protecting this town. There have been, and still are, Town employees and administrators and their families who have served this town who have been or are patients. My own mother, a life-long Greenwich resident and former town employee, who is in the late stages of dementia, is now a resident receiving excellent care from the NW staff.

If a reason to privatize Nathaniel Witherell is because the Town finds it necessary to redistribute funds from a non-profit generating operation to some other operation or service, I wonder what service is next. Will someone who enjoys the Byram swimming pool, Island Beach, the skating rink, Griff golf course, parades, Baldwin or Binney Park events, or fireworks need to be concerned that these services will be eliminated next because they don’t generate revenue?

Greenwich is and always has been a great place to live and work with great amenities and I don’t wish for any of these to be eliminated or decreased. I also know the question to privatize isn’t so cut and dry, there are other factors in play.  But I encourage the NW board to look to what is best for the residents of Greenwich, the residents and patients of NW, and the future residents and patients of NW, and that I feel is for the NW to remain a Town of Greenwich facility.  I hope the Board votes with their conscience as if  one of their loved ones is a patient at NW.  I encourage everyone to read the letter to “Friends and Families” from Executive Director John Mastronardi, it certainly resonates the way I, and many town residents whom I have spoken with on this topic, feel. I would also like to thank the staff, nurses, CNAs, administrators and the Board of Nathaniel Witherell for their service to our town.