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Newly formed advocacy council helping seniors

Posted at 10:40 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 22:40:57-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — According to the Health Care Association of Michigan, the average resident in a nursing facility in our state is 82 years old, and we know all about the risks associated with COVID-19 in senior facilities.

In Kent County for example, about 60% of the more than 75 death have come in a long term care facility, according to Brian Hartl, Epidemiology Supervisor with the Kent County Health Department.

Despite those sobering statistics, Michigan’s percentage of Covid-19 deaths in nursing facilities is far below the national average, and that could be thanks in part to a new formed council in West Michigan.

The Senior Advocacy Council, West Michigan only formed eight months ago. It’s made up of 17 different organizations offering a broad coalition of senior expertise, which also helps keep seniors safe and engaged.

Brian Hauenstein of Oasis Senior Advisors heads up the organization, “Many of us are members of the Area Agency on Aging, West Michigan Health Care Network, Council on Aging, and we all felt that we needed to get together for some more dialogue across the industry.”

The council also has members from Nurse Next Door, The Village of Heather Hills and SKLD, as well as many others, and it meets usually twice a month, by teleconference these days.

“I think it was born on the premise of ‘how do we help each other in this industry’ because it can get quite crazy sometimes,” said Cheryl Klodzinski of Nurse Next Door.

Margaret Howard of The Village of Heather Hills adds, “We have that relationship where we make things happen very quickly, it’s just a strong group of committed folks.”

To file a complaint against a nursing home call (800) 882-6006, email, or log on to You can also click on the links below to fill out complaint forms.

BCHS Nursing Home Complaint Letter to Residents and Families

BCHS Facility Complaint Form 361-517391-7