Elder Justice seeks to enable elders to live purposeful, self-directed, meaningful, and dignified lives in their homes and communities. In part, this cause demands that we transform our nursing homes from hospital-like holding institutions into meaningful and nurturing homes where elders can continue to live truly fulfilling lives. It means that we find ways to eliminate elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
In fact, Rochester is the birthplace of the Pioneer Network, a national culture change movement with the goal of changing the nature of nursing homes. However, we also know that Rochester is home to a number of substandard homes, as documented by the New York State Department of Health. We should not and cannot stay silent on this issue.
Elder Justice’s predecessor was ALTY (Adding Life To Years), a local elder care advocacy organization whose members have been passionate about making changes that improve the lives of elders. Now under the umbrella of Metro Justice, Elder Justice encourages anyone concerned with the options for elders to join our efforts.
- To join future meetings or ask questions about our work, please contact: [email protected]
A brief list of some of our recent activities and accomplishments:
- We worked with the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-term Care on their study of nursing home closings by providing the case history of the disastrous NYS Department of Health’s closing of the Blossom South nursing home in Rochester. Consumer Voice used this as their only “how not to do it” example!
- An Elder Justice member independently convinced the NYS Comptroller to conduct an audit of the NYS Department of Health’s Nursing Home Surveillance Division. This culminated in the issuance of a report documenting the lax enforcement of regulation as partly evidenced by the reduction in nursing home fines by 90% over a 5-year period. We intend to push for a follow-up audit to see if there have been any improvements.
- We provided input to the first update of federal nursing home regulations in 25 years demanding both minimum nursing home staffing hours and a prohibition of nursing home resident admittance paperwork that mandates signing of a pre-dispute arbitration clause. We were successful in eliminating arbitration clauses, however failed to get federal minimum staffing regulations. We will continue to pursue NYS minimum staffing. See an article on this issue from the Democrat and Chronicle.
- We continue to expose the worst nursing homes in Monroe County by compiling and distributing a table of federal government 1-5 star ratings of all 34 homes throughout the community. Here is our latest Elder Justice Committee downloadable compilation of the federal government 1-5 star ratings of all 34 Monroe County nursing homes.
- We filed a grievance with both NYS and the federal government against the NYS Long-term Care Ombudsman’s office for awarding a 5-year contract to the host organization for this region’s nursing home Ombudsman Program despite the host’s unresolved conflicts of interest.
- We had several letters to the editor published during the year, plus a Guest Essay printed in 1/21/17 Democrat and Chronicle: “Keeping a close watch on the NYS Department of Health” that called for sanctions on any county nursing home that cannot justify their refusal to accept residents displaced by a closing of a nursing home as happened in the closing of Blossom South nursing home in 2014.
Photo Credit: John Retallack