In the News
Residents at Elizabeth Seton Residence enjoy a socially distanced performance by members of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra
May 26 2020 | press release
Members of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra are creative – not only in their musical ability but also in their determined efforts to bring live music to those senior residents who remain isolated at the Elizabeth Seton Residence skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Max Hobart of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, with whom the Elizabeth Seton Residence has enjoyed a long relationship, called Lori Ferrante, Administrator to ask if she might be willing to have single musicians play outside for the residents. Ferrante tells us, “We were thrilled at the idea and so grateful for the kind offer. Our residents enjoy live music, and have missed performances since we closed our campus to visitors in early March. The Wellesley Symphony Orchestra has utilized space on our campus for practice sessions for years, so it seemed a wonderful fit to have them perform al fresco!”
Two members of the orchestra – violinist Emil Altschuler and cellist, Seth MacLeod, played for both residents of the Elizabeth Seton Residence as well as those living in the adjoining rest home, Marillac Residence. They moved to various locations around the building where staff helped open windows on the gorgeous day to let the beautiful sounds waft in. Ferrante adds, “The performances, the musical talent and the kind gesture was enjoyed by all – residents and staff alike. Gestures such as these remind us how fortunate we are to be a part of this wonderful community.”
Artistic talent and creativity helps local nursing home patient beat the Coronavirus
May 13 2020 | press release
Artistic talent and creativity helps local nursing home patient beat the Coronavirus
87-year-old Jackie Baer is on her way home to Martha’s Vineyard, having beat the Coronavirus after a six-week stay at the Elizabeth Seton Residence skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Wellesley Hills.
Baer, an artist from Martha’s Vineyard, arrived at the Elizabeth Seton Residence on March 26 for what should have been a short rehabilitation stay after undergoing hip surgery at Mass General Hospital. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak was escalating just as Baer was preparing for her discharge home, and she tested positive for the virus. Instead of heading home in mid-April as planned, the 87- year old remained quarantined in her private room and, as is the case with so many patients during this pandemic, could not be comforted by visits from family or friends. However, she remained positive and optimistic. As anxiety was growing around her, she decided to use her artistic talent to help cope with the virus.
Jackie was born on Martha’s Vineyard and has lived there since. Her father was an artist, although he worked as a plumber to support his family. Jackie’s late husband, who she was married to for 65 years, was an artist, as is her daughter Gretchen who currently lives in Arizona. It’s no surprise that art has played such an important role in Jackie’s life but perhaps never so much as recently.
According to Gretchen Baer, “After she received her art supplies, our mother started drawing and never stopped. There were days when mom felt so sick- those were the days we were scared. However, during her illness, there was only one day mom did not put pen to paper. She created over 40 drawings during her stay at the Elizabeth Seton Residence and the drawings have been her salvation. She has been an endless well of creativity and such a champ through all of this.”
Many of Jackie’s drawings are of animals, especially cats which she loves. Others feature people: faces, babies and nuns – the latter in deference to the fact that the Elizabeth Seton Residence Catholic, not-for-profit skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity – Halifax.
According to Baer, “I could see a beautiful cherry tree blossoming outside my bedroom and that inspired many of my drawings. My favorite drawing is the one with the nuns in it. I am not a Catholic but I enjoyed the spiritual atmosphere here at the Elizabeth Seton Residence and that inspired many of my drawings.” Adds Jackie, “My drawings got me through this virus. Every day I looked forward to creating something new and that allowed me to forget the virus.”
“We were so grateful that our mother had the opportunity to undergo her rehab at the Elizabeth Seton Residence,” Jackie’s daughter tells us. “A good friend recommended it to us but we didn’t think we would have a chance of getting Mom in there, so were thrilled when we found out there was a bed for her. It was unfortunate that she contracted the Coronavirus, but it just shows that in the face of adversity you can still turn to art. Now we have our mother returning home and all these wonderful drawings as a bonus!”
Lori Ferrante, Administrator of the Elizabeth Seton Residence adds, “The pandemic has dramatically altered so many aspects of daily life. Short term rehabilitation for an orthopedic patient is usually a brief and positive experience, with patients supported by families who visit and cheer progress as mobility and independence are regained. When Jackie arrived, she and her family knew our facility was not allowing visitors as we attempted to keep the virus at bay. After nearly completing her rehab, with family support limited to phone calls, the unexpected extension of her isolated stay might have been quite debilitating. And yet Jackie had such a positive attitude – she was able to channel her energy through a positive lens, creating beauty with simple supplies. She was able to recuperate successfully from the virus, achieve her therapy goals, and leave the unit accompanied by cheers from the nurses and therapists who served as her extended family these past weeks.”
Gretchen Baer recently donated a painting of her own to the Elizabeth Seton Residence – a colorful painting of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, in gratitude for all they have done for her mother Jackie Baer.
Elizabeth Seton Residence - Impact of COVID-19 Virus
April 22, 2020 | press-release
Like most long-term care facilities across Massachusetts, the Elizabeth Seton Residence Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility residents, staff and family members have been impacted by the devastating effects of COVID-19.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elizabeth Seton Residence has been following State and CDC Guidelines to try to further protect both residents and staff and keep COVID-19 out of the facility. They stopped all visitors from entering the building as of March 11, cancelled all group gatherings of more than ten people – and implemented social distancing for the small gatherings that remained, stopped congregate dining, and carefully screened all staff twice per shift. Unfortunately, despite all measures, it has proved impossible to keep this rapidly spreading and highly contagious virus out of the building. They are now taking extraordinary measures to manage the spread of the virus.
Elizabeth Seton Residence’s top priority is the safety and well-being of their residents and the dedicated staff who are making enormous personal sacrifices to provide compassionate care during this public health crisis. Elizabeth Seton Residence initially had the National Guard come onsite to test residents who had concerning symptoms on Tuesday, April 7. Six residents tested positive at that time. When the Massachusetts Department of Health made test kits available to test throughout a nursing home, Elizabeth Seton Residence ordered them and tested all remaining residents on Friday, April 20, whether they had symptoms or not. This was done to help identify any resident who might be infected, but not showing symptoms, as well as confirming whether those with symptoms indeed had the virus.
Of the remaining 60 residents who were tested Friday April 20, 34 tested positive and 26 tested negative. Of those testing positive, the majority were not exhibiting any symptoms at the time. Approximately 16 residents are currently exhibiting symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and respiratory issues.
Sadly, the Elizabeth Seton Residence community has experienced 6 deaths to date of residents who tested positive for the virus. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to those families whose loved ones succumbed to this virus,” said Lori Ferrante, Administrator of the Elizabeth Seton Residence. “We are closely monitoring all residents, as we have seen that the virus can escalate very quickly and with little warning. Our care continues to focus on comfort and supportive care to relieve symptoms as our residents fight this virus.”
Although symptomatic residents had previously been clustered in one area of the building that had been reserved for that purpose, test results guided the relocation of additional residents within the building to distance those testing negative from those testing positive. Strict quarantine of residents in their rooms has continued. Nursing interventions have been streamlined where possible to minimize the number of interactions between staff and residents, in compliance with DPH recommendations, in an effort to protect the residents. Nursing staff must wear full protective gear, including goggles or eye shields, face masks, gowns, and gloves when providing care. Said Ferrante, “We are struggling to ensure we have proper equipment to protect our staff in this time of shortages. I am most grateful to the Wellesley Board of Health for their assistance, and the Wellesley Fire Department for providing additional supplies from their community collection efforts, as every bit helps. We are working every lead to ensure we obtain protective gear. In a normal world, we might have three people in the building requiring limited protective gear for their care. Now we have over 40 people on full precautions. Ensuring adequate supplies continues to be a focus.”
Ferrante adds, “We recognize how difficult the social isolation requirement is for both our residents and their family members. We are keeping family members updated with personal phone calls and regular e-mail updates in addition to social media posts that communicate with a wider audience of extended family members and friends. We are also providing Facetime call opportunities to connect family members with their loved one.” “Our family members, as well as the Wellesley community at large, have shared many kind words of gratitude and support, as well as prayers, for our devoted employees. This week, a family member installed signs with words of support to greet our employees at the staff entrance. These small gestures mean a lot. We are grateful for the support of our extended community and the dedication of our employees as we fight through this together.”
If you need further information, please call Lori Ferrante, Administrator at 781-997-1130.
Elizabeth Seton Residence identified as “High Performing” by US News and World Report
November 7, 2019
The Elizabeth Seton Residence of Wellesley Hills announces that for the eighth consecutive year, they have once again been identified by US News and World Report as a “High Performing” Skilled Nursing Facility in the 2019 -2020 National Best Nursing Homes report.
Facilities were considered “U.S. News Best Nursing Homes” if they were rated “high performing” in either Short-Term Rehabilitation or Long-Term Care. A total of 2,969 facilities, or 19% of homes, were recognized as U.S. News Best Nursing Homes: 2,250 in Short-Term Rehabilitation and 1,139 in Long-Term Care. This year, just 420 nursing homes received this designation for both categories nationally.
Lori Ferrante, Administrator of the Elizabeth Seton Residence tells us “We are delighted that the Elizabeth Seton Residence is one of the 420 nursing homes awarded “High Performing” status in both the Long-Term Care and Short-Term Rehabilitation categories placing us in the top 3% of homes nationally. This is exciting for all of us, given the fact that over 15,000 nursing homes were reviewed!” These ratings are based on US News and World Report’s in-depth analysis of data from the federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This year, they expanded the collection of quality data, and created the Long-Term Care category.
Ferrante adds, “These ratings not only reflect the hard work and dedication of all the staff at the Elizabeth Seton Residence but also reflect our mission that calls us to provide compassionate caring service and to create an atmosphere where all feel welcome and respected.”
More information about Best Nursing Homes 2019-20, including the methodology, can be found at https://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/faq-how-we-rate-nursing-homes
Details regarding the Elizabeth Seton Residence’s data can be found at
Elizabeth Seton Residence Raises $50,000 at Annual Meet the Need Dinner. Announces $164,000 Matching Gift.
Celebrating volunteerism, the Elizabeth Seton Residence also honored the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club for their generosity, dedication and commitment to volunteerism at the Elizabeth Seton Residence.
Wellesley, MA, October 22, 2019 – Over 180 friends and supporters attended the Elizabeth Seton Residence Annual Meet the Need Dinner at the Wellesley Country Club on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Guests were entertained by Bo Winiker and his jazz trio and emcee for the evening was Wellesley’s own Teri Adler. A silent auction and raffle capped the festivities. Dr. Margaret Mary Fitzpatrick, a Sister of Charity whose parents live at the Elizbeth Seton Residence, spoke eloquently regarding the experience of being a family member and the need to financially support the Residence in carrying out its mission.
Lori Ferrante, Administrator of the Elizabeth Seton Residence, paid tribute to volunteers in her remarks, “We have so many wonderful volunteers from the community who come and enhance lives at the Elizabeth Seton Residence. You see the faces of our residents light up each time a volunteer greets them. We are fortunate that so many share their joyful spirit of kindness, compassion and respect – helping to make life better for our residents who appreciate a gentle touch or a smile to make their day.”
Ferrante also announced that a matching gift of $164,000 has been pledged by a generous individual for the purchase and installation of an overhead Hoyer Lift System in each room for the safety, comfort and dignity of the residents who require physical assistance to move between their bed and a chair. The Elizabeth Seton Residence must match this gift to bring the project to fruition. Prior to the dinner, $30,000 had been raised toward the match and they are in the process of asking individual donors and foundations for support to “Meet the Match.” A portion of proceeds from the evening will be added to the match.
Many words of thanks went out to all the individuals and businesses who sponsored or contributed to the dinner and made it such an overwhelming success.
Lori Ferrante presents Emily Nardone, President, Wellesley Hills junior Women’s Club, with plaque recognizing the commitment of the organization to volunteerism at the Elizabeth Seton Residence.
Photo credit: Beth Shedd Photography
Bill Winiker, Joseph MacPhee, Susan Cunningham and Bo Winiker
Photo credit: Beth Shedd Photography
Why nursing homes are closing across Massachusetts
ELIZABETH SETON RESIDENCE was featured in an article released throughout Massachusetts in 200+ daily and weekly Gatehouse Media and Wicked Local newspapers.
Why nursing homes are closing across Massachusetts
By Eli Sherman Wicked Local
Posted Mar 11, 2019 at 11:58 AM
Updated Mar 11, 2019 at 3:00 PM
Lori Ferrante has a lot on her mind. She oversees Elizabeth Seton Residence, one of the highest-ranked nursing homes in the state, which historically has meant stable finances and a long wait list to get in.
But the wait list has shortened in recent years, and while occupancy rates are regularly higher than industry averages, Ferrante none-the- less finds herself regularly checking the nonprofit’s bank accounts to ensure enough money is available to cover payroll.
“I didn’t need to do that six years ago,” she said. “There’s no cushion right now.”
The story is typical for nursing homes across the state, and it gets considerably worse. Within the last year, 20 facilities have shuttered, and at least 190 have closed in the last two decades. The closures happen for various reasons, but most are money-related. Some of the closed nursing homes, which accounted for more than 1,900 beds, were located in in Brewster, Brockton and Framingham, among other places, according to the state. And the impact could have long-term repercussions.
Nursing facilities in recent years have received less money from the state for long-term care covered by Medicaid, a publicly funded health insurance program for people with low incomes known in Massachusetts as MassHealth. At the same time, organizations face stiffer competition from home- and community-based care organizations amid an ongoing shift in demand for end-of- life care.
Advocates warn the industry’s future hangs in the balance.
“Nursing facilities by every indicator are teetering on the edge,” said Tara Gregorio, president of Massachusetts SeniorCare Association based in Waltham. “We need to be concerned about this.”
Increasingly, older adults are trying to stay out of nursing homes, choosing assisted-living facilities with augmented care, or “age-in-place,” meaning getting old at home and paying for in-home nurses and other health care professionals.
The trend is being incentivized by the state and federal government. In 2005, the federal government passed legislation making it easier for home- and community-based health care providers to qualify for long-term Medicaid dollars for older adults. And the results are measurable. Three decades ago, the lion’s share of Medicaid for long-term care — about 90 percent — went toward nursing homes nationwide. The rest went toward home- and community-based care.
Today, less than 50 percent of that money goes toward nursing homes nationally, and the number falls below 30 percent for long-term care facilities in Massachusetts, according to Truven Health Analytics and the AARP.
At the same time, as more adults try to stay out of nursing homes, occupancy rates — or beds filled — have fallen, meaning less money is coming in. Less revenue results in layoffs and reduced staffing levels, which is bad news for nursing homes where three of every four dollars are spent on personnel.
Understaffed facilities with high turnover almost always lead to lower quality of care, which is measured by rating agencies, further deterring individuals and families from wanting to enter a particular facility, or send their loved ones there.
The downward spiral of the nursing home industry is happening across America, but the dynamic is exacerbated in Massachusetts, where organizations are reimbursed for long-term care costs based on health-care cost increments for employees or the rising minimum wage. While Medicaid is a federal program, it’s administered by states.
The industry estimates nursing homes lose $38 per day per resident covered by Medicaid in the Bay State. The gap translates into an under funded amount to the tune of $38 million, according to Gregorio.
Of the 20 nursing facilities that closed over the last year, 14 received more than 70 percent of funding through Medicaid.
To try and offset losses incurred by providing care to Medicaid patients, nursing facilities have tried to attract private dollars from families. But that’s tough when there’s so much competition from newer assisted-living facilities that don’t come with the same stigma as nursing homes.
Meanwhile, Medicare dollars — which cover health care costs for adults 65 years and older and reimburse nursing homes at a higher rate — have also become more difficult to come by since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The law — in an attempt to reduce costs for unnecessary care — calls for brevity when it comes to short-term rehabilitative stays at nursing homes.
Without change, the nuances of nursing-home finances puts the industry on a downward trajectory with no clear end insight. And on the surface, it could simply look like symptoms of a dying industry in a changing economy. But nursing homes under the current health care system still provide a vital source of care in Massachusetts, which Gregorio calls a “safety net.”
Indeed, thousands of Bay Staters have reached a point where they or their loved ones have decided around-the-clock care is what’s necessary, and nursing homes provide care for 40,000 residents on a daily basis in the Bay State.
Dorothy “Dotty” Lynch, who grew up in Boston, said she moved in with her daughter for several years in Duxbury before moving into an assisted-living facility there. She said she loved it there, but more recently her need for a greater level of care grew, so Lynch moved to Elizabeth Seton in Wellesley.
“It’s been an adjustment, but the staff is fantastic, knowledgeable and good,” she said, echoing what’s shown to be true in published ratings of the facility.
None the less, state lawmakers have repeatedly balked at increasing reimbursement levels for nursing facilities. Roughly 10,000 people turn 65 years old each day in the United States, and will continue to do so for the next decade, meaning older adults are quickly becoming a larger segment of the total population. As they get older, demand for care will inevitably rise.
If the decline of nursing homes continues for too long, however, there’s no telling what the industry might look like at that point.
“It’s pretty bleak,” said Len Fishman, director of the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “We want to provide alternatives that will leave people out of nursing homes unless it’s absolutely necessary. But for people who absolutely require nursing facility-level of care, they should be supported.”
At Elizabeth Seton, Ferrante is grappling with the fact that health care costs alone have risen 17 percent in the last three years while reimbursement rates have remained stagnant. Nonetheless, she’s bullish about the work, her employees and the care they provide.
“People work here because they believe in our mission. You have to have it in your heart to do this work,” Ferrante said. “Nursing homes have a critical role and they’re not going away.”
Eli Sherman is an investigative and in-depth reporter at Wicked Local and GateHouse Media. Email him at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @Eli_Sherman.
2019 Annual Meet the Need Dinner Honors the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club
Oct 1, 2019 | press-release
The Elizabeth Seton Residence of Wellesley Hills is pleased to announce they will be holding their Annual Meet the Need Dinner on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at the Wellesley Country Club. This year they are honoring the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club — a long-time supporter of the Elizabeth Seton Residence.
Lori Ferrante, Administrator at the Elizabeth Seton Residence, tells us, “We chose to honor the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club not only for their tireless commitment to volunteerism here but also for their continued generous grant support. Their time and effort make a significant difference in the lives of all our residents and we are extremely grateful for all they do.” In addition, the Elizabeth Seton Residence welcomes the opportunity to honor the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club for their outstanding service to the community and for making a difference to so many not for profit organizations. Adds Ferrante, “We are fortunate that so many volunteers from our local community share their joyful spirit of kindness, compassion and respect — helping to make life better for seniors who appreciate a gentle touch or a smile to make their day.”
Local real estate professional and former television personality Teri Adler will emcee the event with entertainment provided by the popular Bo Winiker Jazz Trio. The program for the evening will include a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner, raffle prizes and more. The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased on the Elizabeth Seton Residence website — www.elizabethseton.org — or by contacting Judith Coogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-997-1351.
Tokyo University of Social Welfare Summer Program Students visit the Elizabeth Seton Residence
Aug 9, 2019 | press-release
Students from the Tokyo University of Social Welfare returned to the Elizabeth Seton Residence this month for their annual educational visit. The Elizabeth Seton Residence has hosted an educational visit for Japanese students from this University for over fifteen years. The program, run in conjunction with Harvard University, brings students to New York and Boston to see for themselves how facilities in the United States provide senior care for our frail elders. Most of the students are studying to be Social Workers. They visited accompanied by chaperones and interpreters, to ensure a successful experience.
The Elizabeth Seton Residence has been specifically selected to host these students over the years because it is a state-of-the-art skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility that provides outstanding and unique programs for their Residents. The group of around 15 – 20 students attend lectures at both Harvard and Brandeis University in the mornings and visit carefully selected senior care venues covering multiple aspects of American health and social welfare programs in the afternoons. Lori Ferrante, Administrator at the Elizabeth Seton Residence tells us, “We enjoy welcoming the students each year, as we learn about both the similarities and differences in Japanese and American health care support systems for seniors. Students from this international educational program have been visiting the Elizabeth Seton Residence for a number of years to see how our Catholic, mission-driven, skilled nursing care facility benefits our elder residents. They enjoy learning how our unique programming contributes to the overall health and well-being of all our residents.”
After touring Elizabeth Seton Residence to see resident rooms and learn about the type of care seniors receive at a skilled nursing facility, the students had an opportunity to ask questions of our Social Worker, Nurses, and Activities Director.
One of the programs they heard about is how the residents at the Elizabeth Seton Residence enjoy and benefit from ballroom dancing. Ballroom dancing is not just a social event. Studies have shown that dancing can improve strength, balance and fall-reduction, while enhancing socialization and promoting a culture of inclusion that improves their quality of life. The students also enjoyed learning about our “Meaningful Moments” program initiative, developed and implemented in collaboration with our Fusion Rehabilitation team specifically for residents with dementia. This program identifies and provides activities that match a resident’s cognitive capability, optimizing opportunities for residents with dementia to experience meaningful engagement, fun and success.
The afternoon concluded with a fun multi-generational international gathering when a group of our residents joined the students for a lesson in Origami. The smiles and laughter broke the communication barrier as students worked side by side with residents to fold intricate paper designs. Residents enjoyed the enthusiasm, good humor, and gentle caring that these future social workers shared.
In spending time with our residents, and learning about programs such as those offered by facilities like the Elizabeth Seton Residence, the students from the Tokyo University of Social Welfare return to Japan with a fuller understanding of the variety of programs and services utilized to support frail elders in the United States.
Boston Red Sox 2018 World Championship Trophy visits Elizabeth Seton Residence
May 10, 2019 | press-release
Residents, families, staff and friends were thrilled to have the opportunity to not only view, but have their photograph taken with, the Boston Red Sox 2018 World Championship Trophy. The Elizabeth Seton Residence skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Wellesley Hills was honored to be part of the trophy’s tour, displaying not only the historical trophy, but also a 2018 World Series Championship ring.
Elizabeth Seton Residence staff and residents gathered in a packed living room awaiting the arrival of the trophy. When the protective Tiffany cover was removed, unveiling the trophy, there was a resounding cheer followed by a spirited rendition of “Sweet Caroline”!
Red Sox employee, analyst Greg Rybarczyk, whose wife Tanya works at Elizabeth Seton Residence, brought his championship ring to the celebration and spoke with the guests about his Red Sox experience.
According to Lori Ferrante, Administrator of the Elizabeth Seton Residence, “We were delighted to be chosen as a visit site for the Trophy. We are grateful to president and CEO Sam Kennedy and the Red Sox Organization for making this possible. We have many long-time Sox fans residing at our skilled nursing facility and the impact of this visit was huge!”
After an extensive round of viewing and photos at Elizabeth Seton Residence, the trophy was moved across the campus to the neighboring Marillac Residence, the Sisters of Charity – Halifax residential care home for over 70 sisters. A second celebration ensued with Sisters, friends, families and community members enjoying an “up close” look at the Trophy, ring, and photo opportunities.
Highlights included a good-natured Sister from New York donning a Red Sox t-shirt along with her NY Yankees hat for a memorable photo, and 103-year-old Ellie P. posing with the trophy as the only person in the room who was alive for the 1918 World Series win.
“We enjoy all our Boston teams, but there is something about baseball that resonates with all of us, no matter the age or frailty,” said Ferrante. “We love our Red Sox!”
For more information about the Elizabeth Seton Residence, please visit our website at elizabethseton.org or call Lori Ferrante, Administrator at 781-997-1130.
admission by calling 781-997-1102.
Elizabeth Seton Residence
125 Oakland Street
Wellesley Hills, MA 02481-5338