News

Tue, 01/19/2021

“When you look at the last 10 months of COVID, this is one of the few things that has gone well,” said Salli Pung, who heads Michigan’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, a state- and federally funded office that advocates for residents in nursing homes.

Fri, 01/01/2021

Chronic issues in Michigan’s long-term care facilities were deepened in 2020 by the pandemic.

Public health measures often had the unintended consequence of forcing residents into isolation and loneliness. National studies show those conditions can have negative health impacts on older adults, and in some cases bring on an earlier death.

Mon, 12/28/2020

Salli Pung, Michigan’s long-term care ombudsman, says for the process to go smoothly, it will be important for facilities to provide residents with clear, digestible information about their options. 

Wed, 12/09/2020

At first, Dakima Jackson wanted to be a dentist. But, to support herself while studying, she got a job at an adult foster care home, and quickly “fell in love with working with seniors.”

She changed career paths, and for her next job, moved to another type of facility: a nursing home.

“Working at the nursing home, I was … just eager to spread myself around,” she said. “I decided that I would work at assisted living as well, because I wanted to know the difference.”

During the week she clocked into the nursing home. Weekends she spent at the assisted living facility.

She found the difference to be pretty big. The assisted living facility had fewer rules, and no staffing requirements. As activities manager, Jackson organized events that wouldn’t fly at the nursing home, like happy hours for the residents.

Jackson learned that many of the differences had to do with licensing; whether a facility is licensed or not determines how it’s regulated. As she worked with more families and residents, Jackson found that many weren’t aware of those distinctions.

“Folks who are in unlicensed assisted living, a lot of times they think that they are a licensed entity,” she said.

Thu, 11/19/2020

"Think about individuals in a facility who are no longer getting out of bed to go to activities or to engage with others. They physically decline. Family members have reached out to our program saying that they can't believe the decline in their parents," Pung says. "The pets can be helpful in slowing down that decline, especially the seclusion and isolation they are experiencing during COVID-19."

Mon, 10/19/2020

Michigan Elder Justice Initiative (MEJI) is the recipient of a grant from the Metro Health Foundation. MEJI is thrilled to receive this award and will use the funds to explore the barriers to eligibility and enrollment, inappropriate denials of services, and rights violations and racial disparities of several home and community based services programs in the Detroit area.

Fri, 10/09/2020

Alison Hirschel, managing attorney at the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative, says her group urges the state “every day to please reconsider these very strict restrictions.”

Mon, 09/21/2020

“We have been seeing these kinds of illegal discharges all the time, because nursing homes seem to have figured out that they will rarely, if ever, be penalized,” Alison Hirschel, senior legal counsel to the Michigan ombudsman program, tells the Times. “It’s devastating for residents and their families all the time, but it’s especially horrible and dangerous during a pandemic.”

Mon, 09/21/2020

"We have been seeing these kinds of illegal discharges all the time, because nursing homes seem to have figured out that they will rarely, if ever, be penalized," said Alison Hirschel, senior legal counsel to the Michigan ombudsman program. She said Medicaid patients requiring lots of staff attention "have a target on their back."

Sun, 09/20/2020

“We have been seeing these kinds of illegal discharges all the time, because nursing homes seem to have figured out that they will rarely, if ever, be penalized,” said Alison Hirschel, senior legal counsel to the Michigan ombudsman program. “It’s devastating for residents and their families all the time, but especially horrible and dangerous during a pandemic.”

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