A month after suffering a minor stroke on Christmas, Sen. Edith Prague was back at the state Capitol Friday in good health and telling reporters she’d be running for re-election.
Following a press conference, Prague told reporters her daughter noticed the stroke symptoms.
“On Christmas day my daughter came over and noticed that the left side of my face wasn’t looking right. There was nothing else. When I got to the hospital, they told me that it was a very minor stroke, lucky for me because strokes can be devastating,” she said.
Prague, a Democrat from Columbia, said she stayed at Windham Hospital for a week before transferring to a different hospital for special care and therapy. On Friday she said there were no lasting effects from the stroke.
“Believe me I don’t take that for granted. My husband died as a result of a stroke and it was devastating. Devastating,” she said.
The 86 year-old senator did have one complaint.
“The only thing I can’t do yet is get clearance from my doctor to drive my own car where I want to go. But I’m working on that,” she said.
Prague got a round of applause at a press conference to outline home-based health care options for Connecticut residents. She said the event was an important one for her.
“I’m living proof that home care works,” she said.
Prague said she would like to see changes to a federal program called Money Follows the Person, designed to help people living in nursing homes transfer to community based living. But to be eligible for the program, someone must be in a nursing home for at least three months..
“If Money Follows the Person could be changed so that it applies to people who are in need of 24 hour care, to prevent them from going into the nursing home to begin with, it would make a lot more sense,” she said.
People who need care want to be at home and get better faster when they aren’t in a nursing home, she said. It would also be less costly in the long run, she said.
“The thought of going into a nursing home for any of the disabled folks or for elderly folks is a nightmare. People need to be at home in familiar surroundings and to be in charge of the kind of care that they’re going to receive,” she said.
Prague said getting home care was not a problem for her following her stroke. However, many people and families do not know what options are available to them outside of nursing homes. To that end, the legislature’s Home Health Legislative Workgroup released a brochure outline different programs residents can use to hire and pay for home assistants.
Rep. Michelle Cook, D- Torrington said her mother-in-law also recently suffered a stroke and her family had a difficult time navigating the system for home care options.
“It’s interesting when you’re in the middle of the legislative body and you’re trying to manipulate yourself through the system and you’re coming into brick wall after brick wall after brick wall,” she said.
Cook said the process needs to be made simpler for families.
Dawn Lambert of the Department of Social Services said about 1,000 people have been moved out of nursing homes under the program so far. Of the 17,000 people eligible about 3,000 have applied to be moved out, she said.