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Pioneer Network Announces Small House Online Networking Initiative

Made Possible By Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


(ROCHESTER, NY, October 31, 2008 --)  Pioneer Network, the nation's leading resource for the long-term care culture change movement, announced a new initiative to enhance communication and shared learning among those interested in the financing and delivery of person-directed long term care through small houses as an alternative to institutional nursing homes.  The project will include a new online meeting place where key stakeholders in the field of aging, as well as others in related health and social service areas, can share their expertise and learn more about the issues related to transforming the long term care system. It will also provide a forum for providers currently creating home through small house and household initiatives to talk with each other and share information on what works.

With the support of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pioneer Network's Small House Online Networking Initiative will bring together key stakeholders to explore the needs—e.g., policy, reimbursement, financing, environmental, clinical, regulatory, and community relations—to create, sustain, and evaluate community-based "small houses" for frail older adults. The project will include a webinar series in Winter/Spring 2009 to explore topics around the development, implementation and sustainability of small houses; a web site to manage the flow and collection of information from the online sessions; and a report providing recommendations for further activities.  The webinars will be open to all stakeholders in the field of aging as well as those in other related health and social service areas that embrace small houses as a model for long-term care.

"The idea that small groups of people can live together and thrive in the least restrictive setting, with appropriate care, is not a new concept. It has been successful in a wide range of settings including group homes for adults with disabilities, adult family homes and congregate settings, and mental health initiatives. The application of the small-home concept, however, is a more recent addition in the field of aging, and one that needs consensus support from stakeholders and evidence-based support of its efficacy and cost-benefits in the care of frail older adults,"  said Bonnie Kantor, Executive Director of Pioneer Network.

"Pioneer Network has developed without bias, cross-disciplinary partnerships, collaborations, and networks. As such, the Pioneer Network has been a successful virtual meeting place for all stakeholders in the field of aging and long-term care whose focus is on providing person-centered and consumer-directed care.  They are perfectly positioned to lead this project," said Jane Isaacs Lowe, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Pioneer Network was formed in 1997 by a small group of prominent professionals in long-term care to advocate for person-directed care. This group called for a radical change in the culture of aging so that when our grandparents, parents — and ultimately ourselves — go to a nursing home or other community-based setting it is to thrive, not to decline. This movement, away from institutional provider-driven models to more humane consumer-driven models that embrace flexibility and self-determination, has come to be known as the long-term care culture change movement. Our partners and audience are primarily engaged in some aspect of long-term care including CEOs and administrators, consumers and family caregivers, doctors and nurses, direct care providers, government officials, regulators and policy makers, and others who care about, and care for, the aging.                                                 

The following individuals will serve as members of the National Advisory Committee:

      Len Fishman, President and CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife

      Megan Hannan, Action Pact, Inc.; Pioneer Network Board Representative

      Robert Jenkens, Director, THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, NBC Capital Impact

      Cathy Lieblich, Coalitions Coordinator, Pioneer Network

      Karen Schoeneman, Acting Deputy Director for the Division of Nursing Homes,

      Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

      Audrey Weiner, President and CEO, Jewish Home and Hospital LifeCare System;

Nora Gibson, Executive Director of ElderHealth Northwest, will serve as the chair of this advisory group, and as project director. Bonnie Kantor, Executive Director of Pioneer Network, will serve as project co-director. 

"Like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pioneer Network is committed to working toward a culture of aging that supports the care of frail older adults in settings, like small houses, where individual voices are heard and individual choices are respected. Also like the Foundation, the Pioneer Network wants to ensure that the kinds of care delivered in these settings are both responsive and cost-effective, and, above all, person-directed.  We appreciate the encouragement and support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation so many more can connect, learn and work together towards a culture of aging that is life-affirming, satisfying, meaningful and humane," Kantor concluded.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.  For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit


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