Most of the names in these stories have been changed to protect privacy.
Simon Riveroll, a senior citizen with disabilities, was admitted to a skilled nursing facility in Oakland. He had been in a hospital and needed rehabilitation. When it came time to discharge him, the nursing facility staff said it was not safe for Riveroll to live on his own because he might forget to turn off his stove.
Options were not good
The nursing facility wanted to send Riveroll to a board and care home. As an alternative to board and care, the nursing facility tried to convince Riveroll to move to San Diego to live with his 80-year-old sister.
Home was in Oakland for 30 years
Riveroll was horrified. He did not want to go to a board and care home. He did not want to leave Oakland, where he has lived for more than 30 years. He wanted to go back to his own apartment, in his old familiar neighborhood. Desperate to return home, Riveroll called PAI (now Disability Rights California) for help.
Staff advocates for discharge rights
Elizabeth Zirker, a Borchard Fellow in our Oakland office, and Crystal Padilla, an advocate in the same office, went to work. They advocated for Riveroll's discharge rights, which nursing facility staff were ignoring. They explained to the facility that:
- The county was required to do an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) assessment at the facility; and
- The nursing facility had the responsibility to make sure that Riveroll got an IHSS assessment at the facility.
Eligible for many community services
Riveroll was eligible for numerous community services. Zirker and Padilla urged the nursing facility to refer Riveroll to every appropriate service. They confirmed with the nursing facility and with Riveroll's apartment building manager that his rent was being paid while he was in the facility.
Enrolled in PACE program
Ultimately, Riveroll decided to enroll in Oakland's PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), through the Center for Elders Independence (CEI). After he enrolled in PACE, Riveroll was discharged to his own home with appropriate services.
Glad to be home
Riveroll says he is delighted to be back in his own apartment, where his services include:
- Two visits a week from CEI home health staff;
- One visit a week to CEI, or more if needed;
- Paratransit services;
- Meals on Wheels services.