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Pioneer Network

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 long-term care CEOs and administrators, consumers and family caregivers, doctors and nurses, direct care providers, and others who care about, and care for, the aging.

Pioneer Network is a center for all stakeholders in the field of aging and long term care whose focus is on providing home and community for elders. We believe that the quality of life and living for America's elders is rooted in a supportive community and cemented by relationships that respect each of us as individuals regardless of age, medical condition or limitations. 

Pioneer Network advocates for elders across the spectrum of living options (which are often dictated by differing levels of the medical care required); and is working towards a culture of aging that supports the care of elders in settings where individual voices are heard and individual choices are respected — whether it is in nursing homes, transitional care settings or wherever home and community may be.  Cultivating and maintaining a community of relationships is important at every phase of life, but especially critical for elders and the aging, many of whom may need a network of partners to live life to its fullest.

Learn more about Pioneer Network's current and past initiatives.

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Pioneer Network, a 501c (3) not-for-profit organization based in Rochester, NY, is dedicated to making fundamental changes in values and practices to create a culture of aging that is life-affirming, satisfying, humane and meaningful.

Over the past sixteen years -Pioneer Network has earned a reputation as the national convener for essential dialogue in the culture change movement. Through insightful research, collaborative partnerships with other like-minded national organizations, a well-attended national annual conference focused solely on culture change, webinars, tools for providers and consumers and publications, Pioneer Network stands at the forefront of culture change. Its impact can be felt in hundreds of organizations that have collaborated with and benefitted from its devotion to creating humane environments for older Americans to live, interact and flourish.

Pioneer Network has achieved the following major milestones:

  • Partnered with 5 culture change coalitions and 4 corporations to study, plan and implement a national learning collaborative over 2 1/2 years, including conducting learning sessions and follow up activities with 52 nursing homes in 9 states to implement the foundational practices of Consistent Assignment, Huddles, QI Closest to the Resident, and Involving CNAs in Care Conferences.

  • Products of the above project include a Starter Toolkit for Engaging Staff in Individualizing Care that is free and downloadable from the Pioneer Network website, a 12 webinar DVD set for Engaging Staff in Individualizing Care and a how to Handbook for Engaging Staff in Individualizing Care.

  • Produced monthly Hot Topics: Culture Change in Action webinars

  • Launched "On the Road with Pioneer Network" educational sessions in partnership with culture change coalitions

  • Coalesced support from individuals and care providers nationwide to change the culture of aging, embrace the values of the "culture change" movement, and to take affirmative steps to put these values into practice.

  • Taken the lead nationally in creating, coordinating, and sharing information and templates as a resource for organizations and individuals who are interested in promoting a new culture of aging and elder care.

  • Provided leading-edge quality care and quality of life information to policy makers and key actors at the national, state, and local level.

  • Presented a sound business case, based on scientific research among "early adopter" homes, which demonstrates that the implementation of culture change principles and practices has the potential to improve resident outcomes without inflicting detrimental costs on providers.

  • Built a national support network of over 65 culture change coalitions dedicated to advancing culture change in their respective communities and states.

  • Worked with The American Medical Directors Association to help physicians incorporate principles of resident-centered care into their medical practice in nursing homes by leading the development of explicit core competencies for resident-centered long-term care.

  • Convened Task Forces to develop proposals to submit to the National Fire Protection Association and International Code Council to support nursing home environments that are more like home than institutions. To date, proposals for the 2012 edition of the NFPA101 Life Safety Code were approved and incorporated into the Code.

  • Convened Task Forces to develop new dining practice standards which were approved by 12 professional standard setting organizations and to develop a dining practice standards toolkit for nursing homes to use to implement these practices.

  • Developed a consumer education program focused on person-centered care and culture change.

  • Created strategic partnerships with leading organizations including The Retirement Research Foundation, Commonwealth Fund, Hulda B. and Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Advancing Excellence in Long-term Care Collaborative and the national stakeholder organizations that comprise its Board of Directors to advance the goals of Pioneer Network and embed its values and principles into practice.

  • Host an annual national conference that is a showcase for innovative thought and transformative practices in the long-term care culture change movement – as well as an opportunity to facilitate communication among people interested in propelling this important work. The conference attracts participants from across the nation as well as from Canada and other countries.

Pioneer Network advocates for culture change in all models of elder care and services from long-term nursing home care to short-term transitional care and community-based care. The goal is to create homes that are consumer-driven and resident-directed.

To advance these goals, Pioneer Network supports public policy changes; supports research; collects and shares adaptable practices and procedures that put person before task; creates communication, networking and learning opportunities; coordinates with state coalitions; and hosts a national conference.

Pioneer Network embraces a social entrepreneurial philosophy, generating revenue from conferences, publications, and honoraria to cover operating expenses. Pioneer Network seeks foundation and corporate support for new ventures and specific projects. 

Board and Staff

Mission, Vision and Values

Major Funded Initiatives