North End residents and family members confronted company management planning to close the North End Nursing Home at the Monday night meeting of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC). President of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, David Storto, met face to face with the neighborhood stakeholders who are vowing to fight the transfer of nursing home residents to a new facility in Brighton. Storto (00:40 in video) said that the challenging physical condition and mechanicals of Spaulding North End, part of the Partners Healthcare system, is beyond renovation and the company is beginning a transition to relocate residents in about one year. The company made a formal statement earlier in the day via an open letter to the North End community.
Heart wrenching stories were told by many families in attendance at the meeting. Alissa Passacantilli Tizzano (55:00 in video) tearfully said, “You have no idea what you are doing to these people. That’s their home. You are affecting a lot of lives.” John Graffeo showed a photo of his 99 year-old mother (1:01:20 in video), saying “This is a disgrace, a mortal sin.”
Families complained about the lack of communication from Spaulding/Partners and how these discussions are happening after word of the closing spread on social media and published in a NorthEndWaterfront.com article, followed by a Boston Herald column. [See North End Nursing Home & Rehab Center to Close Leaving Elderly and Families in Lurch.]
From the Mayor’s Office, North End representative Maria Lanza (50:00 in video) said her conversations with the Boston Redevelopment Authority have confirmed a Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) on the property that it be used for a nursing home and long-term elderly health care facility. Spaulding’s Storto also said that the State Department of Public Health would have to oversee the closing and move of patients from the nursing home. Multiple attendees mentioned problems with the proposed Brighton facility, including frequent flooding and similar mechanical issues.
State Representative Aaron Michlewitz called the move “unacceptable” (10:30 in video) and said this is a “community building and will stay a community building”. Michlewitz used the example of the North Bennet Street School as an analogy of creative options to keep important facilities in the North End. State Senator Joe Boncore also spoke in support of residents and his desire to work with Rep. Michlewitz to keep these vulnerable residents in the neighborhood. Francine Gannon and other members of the original Parcel C-2 committee recalled how the nursing home was originally designated for the elderly of the North End. Attendees said they will be organizing a similar committee to work on behalf of residents as part of the upcoming public process.
View the full meeting video above, moderated by NEWNC President John Pregmon.