Alliance agressively advocates for elderly


To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Debra J. Norman’s letter about her father’s unfortunate treatment. As an attorney practicing in the elder law field (with an emphasis on protecting seniors from abuse, neglect and financial exploitation for almost 20 years), I have a drastically different perspective.

The Alliance For Better Long Term Care has been in the forefront of protecting seniors for decades. Often crusading on behalf of seniors whose families and communities have abandoned or neglected them and after other governmental protective agencies have refused to get involved, the Alliance aggressively advocates for and has been tremendously successful in protecting seniors. I know of dozens of cases in which the aggressive efforts of the Alliance’s extremely energetic and caring staff (all who work for modest compensation) and cadre of trained volunteers have literally been the difference between life and death.

Ms. Norman is correct in stating that there is no substitute for family involvement and oversight over a parent’s care. Unfortunately in our society, many seniors do not have caring and local children. In such cases, it falls to the Alliance to champion their cause. Under the leadership of its founder, Roberta Hawkins, and now Kathleen Heren, rest assured that the Alliance is widely recognized as setting the gold standard in protecting seniors – often when no one else does.

David J. Strachman



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Regarding a Fierce Advocate for the Elderly.

Last year I and two others had reported a case of sexual abuse which occurred at a Smithfield nursing home. Many witnesses have since come forward to testify as to what they had seen as well. The case was handled badly and no one has ever been charged. The two perpetrators continue to have some access to that patient, these two are in need of professional help or jail. So far no one in public office has had the nerve to prosecute these two women who abused their own mother what a horrendous case of a double standard! The AG's office said there was no crime but have no rational explanation for that decision. As a result of doing my job, I am now known as a whistleblower/trouble maker therefore being vilified for doing the right thing this made it difficult to find another job. On top of that, I was falsely accused and then reported to the Health Department for not reporting the abuse even though I was the only RN who did report it multiple times.( the DOH has cleared me of any unprofessional conduct) I reported it to the Nursing home, the Health Department, the Alliance for better Nursing Home Care then the police. Later we found out that the Administrator and Director of nurses knew about the abuse a year before we had reported it. What is truly chilling is that the nursing home is suing me and two nurses aides for defamation of character and to repay the fines levied against them for their own deficiencies. Oh yes, I did witness the elderly ombudsman laughing and smirking during the Norman's sister testimony to the Health Committee. Furthermore,it seems that in order to dismiss my reports of abuse the ombudsmen attacked me personally as she has been telling people in high places that I "was the one" who had "failed to report the abuse in a timely manner" (abuse that the AG's office denies occurred). As for cameras in Nursing Homes, the ombudsman obviously DID NOT READ the bill and and used fear tactics and graphic images to negate what could be a great benefit in the future. If they tell a lie often enough some may believe it but it is still a lie. It is extremely disturbing that, nurses and nurses aides have lost their jobs in RI for reporting abuse as those that do report know they may have to pay a very high price. Not all Nursing Homes are the same. Please consider this, do you want those who care for your loved ones to have to make that kind of choice. At that nursing Home in Smithfield only three of us followed the law and we were served up as a "Lamb" to be slaughtered.

Jeannine Peterson, RN, BS

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mr. Strachman, I truly appreciate your comments/letter. But all of the families involved can't be wrong. We have asked numerous times for these so called interventions and outcomes of the work the Alliance does to be produced. Again we WANT to believe that indeed their is an organization for those in need to turn to. We and many other have for sake of simplicity been failed by this system that is now in place, this can't be denied.

Though I am doubtful you would fabricate a letter to the editor in order to make them look more golden, how can so many be so failed by a system in place? If the numbers weren't so numerous in the failings of Pawtuxet Village this would never have come to light for others to have known about. Where was the Alliance all those years with all those complaints? Your letter also produces no concrete examples of what they've done, who's word do we believe?

I truly feel for Ms. Peterson as well, as she was just as victimized by the system as all the other families involved. This isn't something that is being made up, we are not all liars. Now it's my understanding a law is being presented that it is mandatory to report, how foolish is this? We need a law to do the right thing, the right thing obviously that Ms. Peterson and several others did and were subjected to nothing more than "mob mentality" by the very people they were hired by for doing so. The Alliance along with the DOH and the AG's office.

The system is in disarray and one has to assume the leader of the ship is the one doing the steering of it.

Debra J. Norman

Thursday, July 18, 2013



Thursday, July 18, 2013