Ina Jaffe | KUNC

Ina Jaffe

Ina Jaffe is a National desk correspondent based at NPR West, NPR's production center in Los Angeles. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR newsmagazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Covering California and the West, Jaffe has reported on nearly all of the major news events, elections, and natural disasters in the region. She also reports on national stories, such as the 2008 presidential campaign and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

In addition to captivating and informing listeners, Jaffe's reports have garnered critical acclaim. Her three-part series on California’s Three Strikes sentencing law won the 2010 Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association and the Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. For her coverage of California politics, Jaffe received the California Journalism Award in 2002 and again in 2003 for reporting on minority political power in Los Angeles and the historic recall election that made Arnold Schwarzenegger governor.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Jaffe was the first editor of Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon which made its debut in 1985. As Weekend Edition Saturday editor, Jaffe shared a 1988 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for the report "A State of Emergency" which covered racial conflict in Philadelphia.

Born in Chicago, Jaffe and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and DePaul University receiving Bachelor's and Master's degrees in philosophy, respectively.

 

It wasn't candlelight and soft music that made the 40th anniversary of Luann and Jeff Thibodeau so memorable. It was gazing at each other through the window of Jeff's nursing home in Texas and eating carryout from the Olive Garden. Just the two of them. And a nursing assistant.

"She fed him, and I ate mine, and that was it," Luann Thibodeau says. "So that was our 40th wedding anniversary."

In some parts of the U.S., the desperate need to slow the spread of the coronavirus is coming into conflict with the scramble to find more hospital beds.

Nursing homes have been the sites of some of the earliest — and deadliest — outbreaks of COVID-19. Some people who run such facilities are understandably leery of accepting new patients who might spread the virus.

Nonetheless, some of the largest states are now ordering nursing homes to accept patients who have been discharged from the hospital but are still recovering from COVID-19.

Eighty-three-year-old Betty Givens welcomes two visitors to the home she shares with her daughter in Riverside, Calif.

"Hi, how are you?" asks Melinda Underwood, an occupational therapist.

"Oh, a little lightheaded," Givens says, almost apologetically.

Underwood and clinical social worker JoJean Harper are concerned, but it's one of many things they can address that will help Givens remain in her home as long as possible.

We all hope for some peace and comfort at the end of life. Hospices are designed to make that possible, relieving pain and providing emotional and spiritual support. But two new government studies released Tuesday morning find that the vast majority of hospices have sometimes failed to do that.

And there's no easy way for consumers to distinguish the good hospices from the bad.

It can be hard to quantify the problem of elder abuse. Experts believe that many cases go unreported. And Wednesday morning, their belief was confirmed by two new government studies.

The research, conducted and published by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, finds that in many cases of abuse or neglect severe enough to require medical attention, the incidents have not been reported to enforcement agencies, though that's required by law.

A Republican congressman who should have waltzed to re-election is now in the fight of his career. Duncan Hunter, who has represented an inland Southern California district for a decade, was indicted in August on charges of using a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses.

Nearly three dozen states require voters to show identification at the polls. And almost half of those states want photo IDs. But there are millions of eligible voters who don't have them. A 2012 survey estimated that 7 percent of American adults lack a government-issued photo ID.

A vast green space in one of the poshest neighborhoods in Los Angeles is slated to become a haven for homeless veterans. That's a big change for the campus of the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center.

For years, parts of the property were illegally rented to a variety of commercial enterprises having nothing to do with helping veterans. This month, two men involved in those deals will be sentenced to federal prison for bribery and fraud.

The antipsychotic drug Seroquel was approved by the FDA years ago to help people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious mental illnesses. But too frequently the drug is also given to people who have Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. The problem with that? Seroquel can be deadly for dementia patients, according to the FDA.

We all hope for a little peace at the end of life, for ourselves and for our loved ones. Hospice services can play a big role, relieving pain and providing spiritual and emotional support. But a federal report published Tuesday synthesized patient and Medicare payment data going back to 2005 and found that, while patients generally can count on hospice to relieve their suffering, some hospice providers are bilking Medicare and neglecting patients.

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