- About Us
- Our Work
- Get Legal Help
- Get Involved
- Impact Advocacy
- Support GBLS
GBLS and Elder Advocates Ensure the Rights of MA Nursing Home Residents
Greater Boston Legal Services Elder, Health and Disability Unit staff, along with members of our Nursing Home Reform coalition, were instrumental this week in a decision by the Office of MassHealth to drop plans that would have eliminated the bed hold protection, a key program that reserves a nursing home resident’s bed for up to ten days during brief periods of hospitalization or family visits. GBLS participated in a public hearing on this plan in June; coalition members produced petitions with over 1600 signatures supporting bed hold and managed to delay the cuts until November 1, 2011. Now this vital, decade- old protection will be maintained for the benefit of residents and family members.
“Terminating bed holds would be devastating to the elderly and to younger nursing home residents with disabilities. Residents face medical and psychological trauma from such upheavals. They will delay going into hospitals for fear of losing their homes, creating more suffering and medical expense.” said coalition member, Arlene Germain, of Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.
Although federal law requires nursing homes to readmit a resident to the first available bed, it does not prevent the harm caused by placing residents in a different and unfamiliar room with a strange roommate and new care-giving staff. For many residents, their nursing home bed is the only home they have left, having given up so much of their former lives in the community – including homes and apartments, long-standing relationships with friends, family, religious and community groups and medical providers. Many nursing home residents have dementia so that such a relocation can cause confusion and depression, and in some cases, physical harm due to transfer trauma. Cutting the bed hold program results in residents getting stuck in hospitals with no bed to go to, with higher cost to the State MassHealth progam.
The GBLS coalition was also successful in securing funding for the bed hold program, even though the state legislature cut funding from this year’s budget, starting in July. In the last few months, the GBLS coalition, along with other advocates for the elderly and disabled, kept the issue alive with the House and the Senate, resulting in a supplemental budget that includes necessary funding.
Read the news article State to restore holding of beds at the Boston.com website.