Mission Statement

My documentary project, Last Stop, is about the many for whom a nursing home is, indeed, their last stop.   The completion of our life’s journey can and should be one of meaning and dignity, not isolation and loneliness, warehoused and cut off from the world.

In traditional society, elders held unique authority. In modern society, our elders are viewed as expendable: ill, disoriented, and incapable. Institutional “nursing care” is the nightmare world where all of this plays out, often at its worst.

Documentaries are a tool for institutional reform, creating consciousness, disseminating information, eliciting reflection and action.   Just as other documentaries have ushered in reform, I propose to shine a light on an area that has been ignored for far too long.

The Last Stop documentary project was conceived after my mother was paralyzed from the chest down from medical malpractice and nursing home neglect.  Her indomitable will and amazing spirit helped her prevail for three additional years.

In those years I was witness to many of the realities of institutional “care.” I met many family members, advocates, nursing home patients, and also some commendable nurses and aides. Their frustration and outrage, as well as their commitment – along with potential solutions, will be illuminated by this documentary, with interviews eliciting these perspectives, along with my mother’s story.

With baby boomers and their parents either in retirement or rapidly advancing toward retirement, the time has come for meaningful change and genuine care for our elders and those who are disabled. My mother’s story opened my eyes.   We need to reawaken the humanity of our society, and press decision-makers, institutional administrators, politicians, and media to stop tolerating the intolerable.

I could have “moved on” with my life when my mother died.  However, my mother believed in justice and this documentary is a tribute to her convictions: that truth and integrity are necessary and that, with persistence, they will prevail. When terrible things happen to good people, one must use the experience to work for change.

There is an undercurrent for reform, which will hopefully become a groundswell, where disability and old age are not the Last Stop for significance and worth. Making this documentary is my effort to fuel this groundswell.

Your support for this project – financial, moral, and in action – is critical to its success and is so appreciated. Please join me in this vital process of awakening consciousness and spurring action. Thank you and welcome to my web site.

–Laurie Kash



The Last Stop video, found on this website, is for a documentary in progress that I am creating. It illustrates my mother’s heroic journey as a disabled survivor of institutional neglect.

I seek an audience – essential to expose rampant nursing home neglect and abuse – to call for bona fide reform and to implement solutions. Such was my mother’s story, a story of terrible institutional neglect that could have been prevented. This is how and why I became committed to nursing home reform.

What Happened to My Mother

My mother experienced an acute delirium from a head injury, at the age of 86, and entered the Jewish Home of Rochester, NY (JHR) to stabilize.  She rapidly improved, and was about to return to her home to resume her active, independent life.

However, three weeks into her rehabilitation, an evening nurse failed to conduct a required catheterization and my mother was discovered hours later on the floor, on her back, in a pool of urine.  Over the next two weeks, she progressively lost all mobility.  The evidence of a resulting catastrophic spinal injury was overwhelming, and self-evident to a layperson; my mother was neglected at every level of care.  Our family pled for an emergency room visit, but our repeated pleas were dismissed by the facility.  Instead of receiving necessary and critical medical treatment, which would have prevented her paralysis, my mother was referred to a psychiatrist.

A brief neurological examination by my brother-in-law, a heart surgeon, determined that, following two weeks of neglect when medical action was still possible and necessary, my mother had become paralyzed from the chest down.  The emergency room visit finally happened.  By then, her injury was no longer reversible. My mother spent the remaining three years of her life confined to the nursing home, in a wheelchair, without autonomy or independence.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) investigated. Their findings trivialized the institutional neglect that caused my mother’s paralysis.

Ninety percent (90%) of deficiencies cited by Departments of Health against nursing homes across the country result in findings of “no harm.” Such was the astonishing outcome in the “investigation” of my mother’s catastrophic injury.

Depositions taken of nursing home staff and records produced in our family’s court action demonstrated that orders had not been followed causing the fall and that no one monitored our mother for neurological deterioration over the two weeks after the fall. Instead her complaints of severe pain were ignored or written off as exaggerated.

As a consequence of our attorney’s and my family’s legal action, the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, granted much enlarged access to the courts to petition for damage claims in legal actions against nursing home facilities.  The New York State legislature shortly followed with passage of 2801-d, codifying the appellate court’s ruling into settled law.

The Need for Accountability

Our family’s herculean story shows the potential for concerted action to expose neglect and implement change. My mother’s catastrophe did not happen in a vacuum. She is a flesh and blood example of systems that are in total failure and must be held accountable.

Currently, there is no Greenpeace, PETA, or NAACP for the elderly and the disabled. Individual justice, while key, is no substitute for the long overdue transformation of systems of care and of the agencies that are supposed to oversee them. Humane care and accountability must become a matter of right.

What our family was able to accomplish on an individual level, proving and demonstrating terrible harm, needs to be communicated to the society at large. The goal is to have basic standards in place at minimum, to ensure enforced proper oversight – necessary when harm does occur, and to create a society in which such harm becomes rare to the vanishing point.

We need vehicles of change for those most vulnerable in our society, now so often forgotten and victimized. Truth Commissions are one remedy to tell the stories of grave injustices and to create real and lasting reform.