Goddard House closure is questioned

S. HUNTINGTON— Local state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez has questioned the closing of the Goddard House Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and asked officials to reconsider, while the head of Mount Pleasure Home, another local nursing home, called the closing the result of the community’s “moral responsibility” failing.

With the closing, Jamaica Plain is losing one of the top nursing homes in the region, according to a local elderly advocacy official.

The Goddard House at 201 S. Huntington Ave. announced July 11 that it will be closing its doors in September.

Sánchez said in a letter sent to Goddard House President Elizabeth Molodovsky on July 31 he was surprised to hear of the closure because the administration had always projected an image of being financially sound. He also said that other nursing homes along S. Huntington Avenue have faced similar challenges, but decided to fight on.

He also said he urges the Goddard House to look into alternatives to closing the facility or at least to delay it.

“It is with these concerns in mind that I urge you to look into alternatives to closing the Goddard House permanently,” said Sánchez. “I ask that the least you do is to extend the time until it closes.”

Dale Mitchell, executive director of Ethos, a Jamaica Plain-based senior care organization that advocates for elderly people to remain in their homes, said JP is losing a top nursing home.

“The Goddard House is universally recognized as one of the best nursing homes in Greater Boston,” he said.

On the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services website, the Goddard House received a perfect score on a performance survey, while it received slightly lower marks on several categories compared to the state average on a satisfaction survey.

Merlin Southwick, executive director of Mount Pleasant Home next door to the Goddard House, said in a letter to the Gazette he is saddened by the closing, which was “made too quickly,” and that the community has failed to support the facility.

“We as a community have failed in our moral responsibility for the well-being of our weakest members,” said Southwick. “Goddard House is closing, in the final analysis, because we have failed to publicly support, through Medicaid dollars, their ability to provide high quality long-term care to elders who have no other options.”

Mitchell said anytime there is a loss of resources for the elderly, it’s a “cause for concern and anxiety.”

“Obviously, it’s a trauma for all the residents,” said Mitchell. “And obviously it’s a loss of an important resources for elders who no longer can care for themselves and home care is not enough or insufficient.”

Mitchell said while Ethos is not involved with the relocation of about 100 residents, the organization is monitoring the process, as Ethos is the ombudsman of the city’s nursing homes for the state. He said the Goddard House management has been extremely cooperative and the relocation is going very well.

Mitchell also said that Ethos has an employee of 20 years who is overseeing the closure who said she has “never seen a nursing home close with as much sensitivity as the Goddard House has done.”

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