School News: Solving a Social Issue

Winter 2022

The pandemic brought to light many of the issues that have long plagued nursing homes—overcrowding, lack of staff and resources, and little entertainment for residents. For some, visits with relatives are their only source of comfort, and the absence of that during lockdown gravely affected their well-being.
When Adrian Tong and Dylan Norona, students at Ravenscroft School (NC), started seeing the news about what was going on in nursing homes, they were deeply troubled. As Asian Americans, they believe that caring for elders is deeply important, and they saw what was happening as antithetical to their core values. So when they learned about the theme for the 2021 Young Entrepreneurship and Innovation Contest, “Great Challenges require Great Solutions,” they decided to enter and look more deeply into nursing home standards.
Through their research for the contest, hosted by the International Leadership Foundation North Carolina chapter and the North Carolina Asian American Coalition, they learned that nursing home facilities are not required to offer mental health services or entertainment like arts and crafts or dance lessons. They also learned that state agencies waste money on frequent inspections—money that could be spent on making nursing homes more livable. When a complaint is filed, state agencies are required to inspect the facility, but they also inspect the facility on a yearly basis.
In their contest entry, Tong and Norona propose that inspections occur just once a year, whether it’s routine or stems from a complaint. They estimate that this would save taxpayers $14 million per year.
Tong and Norona won the gold prize in the contest. 

Dylan Norona (left) and Adrian Tong receive top honors in the 2021 Young Entrepreneurship and Innovation Contest.

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