History & Accomplishments | Committees, Coalitions and Organizations | Media History | Leadership


For more than 20 years, the Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (MANHR) was the only statewide consumer group advocating for improvements in the care, dignity and quality of life for Massachusetts nursing home residents. In 2022, as MANHR’s leadership was approaching retirement, MANHR transitioned to become an educational program of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts in order to continue advocacy for MA nursing home residents.


MANHR History

The Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (MANHR) was founded in 2000 by grassroots volunteers, and for more than 20 years, MANHR was the only statewide consumer group advocating for improvements in the care, dignity and quality of life for Massachusetts nursing home residents. The organization’s dedicated leaders and membership (nearly 400 members) persevered and had many accomplishments (Highlights below).

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, MANHR was on the front lines advocating for improvements in the conditions contributing to the catastrophic losses of nursing home residents. MANHR joined forces with advocates fighting to protect those with disabilities and elders in the community, and as a result of these collective efforts, Dignity Alliance Massachusetts (DignityMA) was formed in mid-2020.

Then in 2022, as MANHR’s leadership was approaching retirement, MANHR transitioned to become an educational program of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts in order to continue advocacy for MA nursing home residents.

  • MANHR continues to maintain a comprehensive website to educate the community on long-term care issues: www.manhr.org.

The MANHR Program supports DignityMA advocacy efforts, and in particular, efforts to improve the quality of care, dignity, and quality of life for residents of nursing homes and to support their caregivers.

The MANHR Program:

  1. empowers and educates residents, their supporters, and staff;
  2. promotes public policies that support:
        • quality care & the best attainable quality of life for nursing home residents;
        • sufficient, well-trained, and justly compensated staff;
  3. represents the rights of nursing home residents in amicus briefs/other such filings in litigation related to our purpose, as approved by the DignityMA Coordinating Committee. [An amicus brief is a friend of the court brief and is an opportunity for an organization or individual to share expertise and information on the subject matter of litigation before an appellate court.]
  4. informs members, interested parties, legislators, public policy makers, media, & the general public on MA and national nursing home issues.

MANHR Accomplishments – Highlights

MANHR initially was formed to mentor family-run councils in MA nursing homes:

  •      MANHR supported nearly 30 family-run councils across MA in the first few years of operation.
  •      MANHR authored family-run council rights which became MA law in 2004.
        • MA was the 3rd state in the US to enact family -run council law.

MANHR’s impact grew over the years to advocating for public policies and promoting best care practices to improve the care and lives of MA nursing home residents.

  • MANHR was on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic to advocate for a wide range of protections for nursing home residents and staff.
  • MANHR represented nursing home residents in numerous coalitions, committees, and statewide initiatives [see pages 3-4], including:
        • Department of Public Health stakeholder groups.
        • MA Attorney General meetings.
        • MA State Auditor projects.
  • MANHR championed legislation, budget funding, and regulations to improve the quality of care and quality of life for nursing home residents — Several successful advocacy efforts:
        • Informed written consent (IWC) before the administration of psychotropic drugs to save nursing home residents from the suffering, even death, from the overuse and misuse of these drugs.
        • MA Dementia Special Care Unit law to establish standards for quality dementia care in nursing homes.
        • Public hearing process to give residents, families, and staff a voice in nursing home licensure, ownership and closure transactions to ensure ethical and safe facility operations.
  • MANHR was successful on two priority state budget efforts for more than a decade — Bed Holds and Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) for MA Medicaid nursing home residents:
        • Right to return to same bed, their home, after extended hospitalization or personal leaves.
        • Stable monthly PNA to pay for necessities not covered by Medicaid (clothes, haircuts, etc.).
  • MANHR provided research to state officials and the media [see page 5] on a wide range of issues to promote quality care.
  • MANHR also used its voice on a national level to improve resident protections across the country.
  • MANHR developed educational materials and operated an 800 number hotline to support nursing home residents.
  • MANHR still maintains a comprehensive website to educate the community on long-term care issues: www.manhr.org.

MANHR Co-Founder was honored by prominent organizations:

  • National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care:
      • 2019 Elma Holder Founder’s Award, lifetime achievement.
      • 2017 – 2022: Leadership Council Elected Member.
      • 2013 Janet Tulloch Memorial Advocacy Award, citizen advocate.
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys-MA Chapter:
      • 2016 Arthur Stavisky Award, citizen advocate.

History & Accomplishments | Committees, Coalitions and Organizations | Media History | Leadership