The Jewish Home has a 146-year history and tradition of service to the community at large. To the frail, elderly, and underserved; to vulnerable populations; to intergenerational groups, interns, and students. This history of benefiting the community is fundamental to the Jewish Home’s initiatives and philosophy, and informs its membership in “Building a Healthier San Francisco” – a collaboration of San Francisco hospitals, Department of Public Health, United Way, human services’ providers, philanthropic foundations, and numerous community-based organizations.

The San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership (SFHIP) is a relatively recent initiative to improve the health and wellness of all San Franciscans. Now known as the SFHIP Implementation Plan, this cross-sector collaboration is designed to ensure better coordination, accountability and community engagement, with the goal of meeting the diverse health needs and priorities of communities served. The Jewish Home is proud to be a part of this collaboration and, as such, lends its knowledge and expertise to the Community Health Needs Assessment, an ongoing community health improvement process.

The following gives an overview of these community services from July 2016 to June 2017. For a complete account, download our comprehensive Community Benefit Report that covers this time period.


A commitment to excellence in service to others and providing exceptional care to frail vulnerable seniors, including charitable support, is the Jewish Home’s founding focus and remains key to the Home’s mission – to enhance and enrich the quality of life for older adults. In general, the Jewish Home serves the most medically/cognitively frail, as well as financially compromised elders (96 percent of Jewish Home are Medi-Cal recipients or without the ability to pay the full cost of care), with an average age of 88.

To accommodate seniors’ diverse and changing needs, interests and wishes, the Home is now actively in the process of redeveloping its campus so that it will serve a significantly broader range and a much larger number of the Bay Area’s growing older adult population (as well as their families and caregivers) than it does currently – either on its campus or in individuals’ own homes and the community. These initiatives – broadening the continuum of living options for the surging population of seniors, as well as developing senior-oriented services that will address this cohort’s changing and unmet needs – will also revitalize the surrounding neighborhood and populace, thus benefiting San Francisco as a whole, and be financially sustainable, relevant, and viable for generations to come.


Innovations on the Jewish Home’s Alzheimer’s Garden Unit include an enclosed garden accessible only to this living environment and the creation of a more homelike setting in order to better serve these individuals. The careful, selective use of the WanderGuard (a signaling device that alerts when a person wearing one is about to exit the facility) enables the Home to care for many more residents with Alzheimer’s, as they may then safely reside on other living environments located on the campus. This also affords these individuals greater freedom to enjoy a variety of secure areas and outdoor spaces.


The Jewish Home aims to promote and protect the community’s health by advancing and sharing knowledge and understanding of the factors that affect well-being. The following are some of the endeavors undertaken during fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.

As part of the Seniors Quality Leap Initiative (SQLI), the Jewish Home continues to partner with leading United States and Canadian organizations working toward a goal of reaching higher performance levels in quality and safety as they relate to seniors’ quality of life in long-term care facilities. Planning to provide the Jewish Home’s transformed campus as living and learning laboratories for entrepreneurs who are at various stages of creating new products denotes the Jewish Home’s involvement with the Canadian Center for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CCABHI). CCABHI is helping to accelerate the development, validation, commercialization, dissemination, and adoption of innovative products and services that are designed to support brain health and aging. By affiliating with these collaborative consortiums, and sharing staff expertise, organizational knowledge and best practices, the Jewish Home will be well-positioned to provide a better quality of life for Bay Area older adults as they age.

The Jewish Home’s president and CEO co-chairs the Post-Acute Care Collaborative (PACC) – a role that heightens the part the Jewish Home plays in serving the needs of the senior population and that stresses the importance of leveraging partnerships in order to better serve this age cohort. The PACC is a citywide advisory board for health care, representing the post-acute/long-term care sector of healthcare delivery. Convened by the San Francisco Section, this body has been meeting monthly since March 2017 to develop comprehensive and actionable solutions to the city’s urgent post-acute care challenges to high-risk, vulnerable patients. (The purpose of the PACC is defined thusly: To identify solutions to improve the availability and accessibility of post-acute care services for vulnerable populations and Medi-Cal beneficiaries in San Francisco, and to make responsive post-acute care policy, research and operational recommendations to the Health Commission and the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.) Consensus PACC solutions and recommendations are expected in November 2017, and will be presented at a San Francisco Section meeting and to the Health Commission.

In order to increase communication and build relationships between the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the Jewish community, a Jewish Community Advisory Board for the SFPD has been established. The Jewish Home’s chief advancement officer serves on this board, which acts as a community forum to bring forth concerns and questions to the SFPD, as well as an advisory body to the SFPD on issues of interest specific to the Jewish sector.

Community efforts to improve the care of older adults continues to be an area of engagement for the Fishbon professor – as evidenced by her co-chairing of the San Francisco Department of Public Health Palliative Workgroup. Co-convened by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services, the workgroup seeks to improve the care of seriously ill San Franciscans. Relevant areas include identifying San Francisco’s current resources that support people with serious illness and their caregivers, informing an analysis of existing gaps in resources and support services, and creating a community outreach plan.


The Jewish Home recognizes that providing and collaborating in educational opportunities for adults foster personal and professional development, enhance a sense of community, and promote cross-cultural understanding, cooperation, and support. Below are a couple examples of the learning programs and information-sharing made available over the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.

The Accessible Theater Arts program, run under the auspices of the Department of Disabled Students, is now enjoying its third year of collaboration with the Jewish Home and San Francisco City College. For a period of six weeks, with two separate classes per designated day, a complement of 30 to 40 students (including Jewish Home residents) call on their improvisational skills to act, move, use voice, and convey emotion. Armed with props, texts or music, participants increase their self-confidence, explore their imagination, and engage in meaningful fun.

The Jewish Home’s rabbi and director of Jewish Life’s community teachings, his studies, and his work at the Jewish Home enhance and complement one another. For example, Doorways of Hope: Adapting to Alzheimer’s, a chapter he wrote for the book Broken Fragments: Jewish Experiences of Alzheimer’s Disease through Diagnosis, Adaptation, and Moving On (ed. Douglas J. Kohn, 2012) combines his experience at the Home with scholarship on Jewish tradition, dementia, and the literature of pastoral care. The entire volume is useful across the spectrum of Jewish Home staff and volunteers, to residents and family members.


The influx of elderly Russian émigrés to the Bay Area had a significant impact upon San Francisco’s Jewish community. The Jewish Home continues to address this population’s need for residential care, programs, and services. With the assistance of full-time Russian-speaking staff in a range of disciplines and departments, approximately 202 Russian-speaking residents benefit from the robust Russian services program offered by the Home.


The Jewish Home’s director of Admissions & Marketing, associated team members, and colleagues continue to inform, provide community outreach, and establish strategic partnerships with Bay Area professionals and entities with respect to the Home’s on-site short-stay programs, namely STARS and its acute geriatric psychiatry hospital. The following reflect the range of this past year’s undertakings:

Participation in UCSF’s Model 2 Bundled Payment Initiative. This initiative is part of healthcare reform – a direct result of the Affordable Care Act. This bundled payment is the first of such initiatives; the Jewish Home was chosen as one of three post-acute providers.

The Jewish Home continues a data-sharing, dashboard agreement with UCSF, so as to better inform their management team of the outcome of patients admitted to the Home.

Ongoing collaborations with Dignity Health (St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Francis Memorial Hospital), focusing on bundled payment patients and the efficient management of their post-acute needs.

The formal, synergistic relationship the Home enjoys with Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center focuses on reducing readmissions and improving the patient-transfer process. The Home enjoys a similarly integrated relationship with Kaiser.


The Jewish Home partners with local high schools that aim to involve youth in their community by encouraging them to fulfill needs in their respective milieus. Mutual goals include the promotion of civic responsibility and the development of leadership skills. By volunteering at the Home, students gain valuable life experiences and acquire volunteer time required for college admissions. During this past fiscal year, students from Abraham Lincoln High School, Archbishop Riordan High School, Immaculate Conception Academy, June Jordan High School, Lowell High School, Mercy High School, Phillip & Sala Burton High School, Sacred Heart, Saint Ignatius, and University High School completed their community service requirements at the Home.  

Achieve, a year-round, four-year high school scholarship and enrichment program for underserved, low-income minority students, opens a world of possibilities by providing students with access to quality education – including cultural, career, and community service experiences. A total of 33 Achieve students from Archbishop Riordan High School and Mercy High School participated in an academic-year program at the Jewish Home, where they assisted residents of the Home with a variety of activities, ranging from Oneg Shabbat (post-Sabbath) services to acting as companions. Partnerships and interactions such as these result in a deeper understanding and appreciation of both generations’ perspectives, life experiences, and challenges.

The Home frequently participates in joint educational programs with religious and non-religious youth groups, ranging from kindergarteners to those attending middle school. Teachers from synagogues often request visits to the Home when they wish to introduce their students to the wider Jewish community, educate them about the cycle of life, and respect for elders. Their visits are also intended to promote the concept of community service. Of particular note during this reporting period was a four-month long collaboration between The Brandeis School of San Francisco’s middle school and the Home. A sizeable contingent of seventh-grade students chose this 2017 spring semester elective, partnering with residents of the Jewish Home on a weekly basis to engage in a robust calendar of events, activities, discussions, and opportunities for reciprocal learning and fulfilling socialization. This program served to reinforce the mutual rewards of intergenerational relationships. Other engagements during this period included joint efforts with Congregation Beth El, Congregation Emanu-El, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, Lick-Wilmerding High School, and USY on Wheels.


November 2016 saw the San Francisco Jewish Community Center hold its second annual “Embracing the Journey: End-of-Life Resource Fair.” The Jewish Home was honored to once again take part in this event, sharing information about its organization as a whole, and details about programs and services that conflate with the theme of the fair, such as the Home’s nationally recognized and numerous award-winning Kol Haneshama: Jewish End of Life/Hospice Volunteer Program.


The Jewish Home regularly opens its doors to civic causes, professional organizations and community groups, offering them free meeting space, continuing education credits when appropriate, refreshments or more elaborate fare.

Communication between the Jewish Home’s plant security and the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) led to the Home being a community resource when it opened the doors to one of its empty buildings in February 2017 and offered it as a training site to the SFPD’s SWAT team. (Using an actual building provides a real-world training scenario and a more realistic terrain, and is thus more beneficial than a mock-up.) So successful and beneficial was this initial exercise that the SWAT team returned in May 2017 to utilize the Jewish Home’s site for further situational training.

In partnership with Mission Bay Community Church, the Jewish Home once again participated in a support program that provided two neighborhood families with seasonal/holiday gifts, grocery gift cards, and essential items. The two families that benefited from the Home’s generosity and thoughtfulness included a grandmother and her four young grandchildren, and a single mother of two children, who lost most of their belongings in a fire. 



STARS, the Jewish Home’s short-term and rehabilitation services program, is designed for those who require temporary skilled oversight – including medical rehabilitation and management by on-site physicians, nursing care, physical, occupational and speech therapies, and psychosocial services – usually following discharge from an acute hospital or an acute illness, with the goal of returning to the community. In response to the greater need for short-term and rehabilitation services, the Home has significantly expanded the number of beds initially allotted to this type of care.

Of benefit to high-risk patients, family members who are unable to take care of their loved ones, hospitals that are relieved from readmitting patients, and a number of homecare agencies is Peace of Mind – an innovative and multidisciplinary discharge program developed at the Jewish Home. Members of the STARS team partner with a community homecare agency to assist patients as they transition back to their homes. Peace of Mind offers a safe and individualized discharge plan; escorted transportation service from the Jewish Home to the individual’s home; pharmacy pick-up and medication set-up; personal home arrangements (including meal preparation, light housekeeping, and grooming); grocery shopping and errands; and the organizing and/or confirmation of medical appointments.


The Jewish Home is one of the only enterprises in 14 Bay Area counties that ensures the emotional and mental health of seniors through its on-site acute geriatric psychiatry hospital. In fact, it is an imperative service to the greater Bay Area community, as many other similar services are no longer in operation. Licensed by the Department of Public Health, acute short-term stays are available to both voluntary and involuntary patients, thus serving a greater number of elders in their time of psychiatric crisis.

The fact that the hospital regularly has a near-full census solidifies that there is a need for this unique program that addresses older adults’ combined emotional, physical, medical, and medicinal requirements. The older age population is especially underserved in the realm of mental health services. The Home’s psychiatry program provides a valuable community service by addressing the requirements of this population group; treating illness; relieving suffering and excess disability; and reducing the need for institutionalization.


Employment Plus, a nonprofit agency, seeks both paid and voluntary employment for adults with developmental disabilities and provides on-the-job support through job coaching. The long-term goal of the program is to have individuals become fully integrated, participatory, and contributing members of the community in which they work and live. The short-term goal is to maximize each individual’s self-reliance, independence, and productivity. The Home serves as a work site for four adult participants in this program who perform duties in the Home’s Environmental Services department one and a half hours per day, four days a week, accompanied by a job coach.



The Jewish Home is a mid-size employer in the city of San Francisco and provides employment to close to 650 employees each year, ranging from skilled labor to executive-level positions. The average length of tenure is 10.4 years of service.

Promoting health, wellness, and safety

The Home’s Emergency Management Committee is responsible for ensuring that both residents and staff are primed, equipped, and safe during any crisis and, through the holding of regular on-campus drills, making sure that all are educated, as well. This committee also partners with community agencies, attending external meetings with other hospitals to share policies and ideas, and participating in citywide drills such as the Great California ShakeOut. This enables hospitals, skilled nursing homes, and San Francisco’s first responders to practice emergency preparedness in a larger, citywide response mode.

The Jewish Home’s security personnel conduct patrols of the facility’s perimeter and abutting neighborhood area as a regular part of their 24-hours, seven-days-a-week security measures and safety protocols. By working in concert with the local police department, being vigilant about tracking unusual occurrences, and maintaining open lines of communication with the SFPD, the Home’s security team plays a significant role in deterring some neighborhood crime, while continuing to secure the safety of its residents, patients, staff, visitors, and nearby dwellers.

Neighborhood and Local Vicinity Involvement

The Jewish Home successfully partners with local organizations, fostering dialogue, collaborations, and ongoing communications with its neighbors.

Every Saturday morning, a parking lot on the Jewish Home’s campus is transformed into a colorful marketplace. Fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods and other miscellaneous groceries, courtesy of the S.F.-Marin Food Bank, fill tables, and low-income neighbors are invited to receive free foodstuffs. This is the Excelsior Community Food Pantry – a partnership of the Jewish Home of San Francisco and Mission Bay Community Church (MBCC). In 2014, when the pantry’s former space in the area was no longer available, the Home stepped up and became the pantry’s new site. As a result, several hundred Excelsior neighborhood adults and children are continuing to enjoy healthy meals. This partnership reflects the common goal of giving time, resources and beneficence, and is in accordance with one of the tenets of the Jewish faith: we are all responsible to help each other.

Medical social workers, hospital discharge planners, and other geriatric specialists gathered in October 2016 for the Jewish Home’s hosting of the Bay Area Social Workers In Health Care (BASWHC) event. Attendees socialized and networked at the reception and enjoyed a delicious dinner, before going on to participate in a training and question and answer session on honing effective communication skills in the healthcare setting. The relevancy of this educational component of the event was well-received and appreciated by community social workers. Where applicable, attendees earned continuing education credits.



Enriching the quality of life of older adults is the Jewish Home’s mission – and also an accelerated scientific imperative. The Jewish Home-based Harris Fishbon Distinguished Professorship in Clinical Translational Research in Aging is advancing this urgent need for more geriatric research and furthering the Jewish Home’s mission of ensuring that people enjoy quality of life. With one in four older adults living with four or more co-occurring chronic conditions – many of them serious and thus contributing to high illness burden – the Fishbon appointee is leading the development of a research program to improve the care and health of older adults, including very old persons, by translating research findings into clinical benefits and therapies.

In partnership with Jewish Home visiting research scientist and Professor of Medicine in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics, the Fishbon professor is co-leading a workgroup comprised of Jewish Home senior leaders and UCSF researchers who are at the forefront of research into aging. Their significant endeavor is designed to develop a strategic plan for Jewish Home-based research, and the means for better integrating the research scholarship of those at the Home with investigators at UCSF, and vice versa. As part of this effort, the Jewish Home sent a delegation to conduct site-visits to learn about research programs at two long-term care facilities in North America that are advancing research on older adults in residential-care settings. The emerging strategic plan will dovetail with efforts to bring UCSF-based physician fellowship trainees in geriatric medicine to do part of their training at the Jewish Home – thus further enriching the research and educational affiliation enjoyed by the Home and UCSF.

Acute Psychiatry Hospital Training

The Home’s psychiatry hospital began serving as a training site for future geriatric psychiatrists in September 2012. The Jewish Home’s geriatric psychiatry department and the University of California, San Francisco’s department of psychiatry continue their program of training and medical education for geriatric psychiatry physicians.

Learning opportunities are not limited to the field of geriatric psychiatry, however. The expertise and experience of staff of the acute geriatric psychiatry hospital lends itself to the training of students (from multiple community and regional educational institutions) in the areas of social work and recreational therapy as well.

Clinical Training and Internships

A number of schools throughout the Bay Area benefit from rotations at the Jewish Home. These include: licensed vocational nurses from City College of San Francisco, NCP College and Unitek College; registered nurses from Cornerstone International College; BSN students and certified nursing assistants from University of San Francisco; second-year and fourth-year medical students from Samuel Merritt College; and certified nursing assistants from Caraway Health Institute.

During the latter half of 2016, a number of massage therapy students from the National Holistic Institute continued to fulfill their internship and community hour requirements at the Jewish Home by providing massage services to Jewish Home’s staff. In addition to the therapy students being able to complete their course requirements through the provision of this service, it is worth noting that the benefits derived from massage therapy are in concert with the Home’s focus on the well-being of its employees.

Implemented in 2000, the successful partnership between Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Los Angeles) and the Jewish Home with the placement of a rabbinic student intern endures. Under mentorship of the Jewish Home’s rabbi, the 2017 intern focused on spiritual and pastoral care, synagogue worship, and the leading of groups of residents.

Healing Touch

As a complement to traditional medical care, Healing Touch – a therapeutic approach that uses gentle, non-invasive hands-on touch and energy techniques – has proven to be a particularly good tool for decreasing agitation in residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This award-winning program has been enthusiastically embraced by the Home’s culture, by the medical community, and beyond.

End-of-Life and Hospice Care

At the initiative of the Jewish Home’s rabbi and director of Jewish Life, the Home implemented Kol Haneshama: Jewish End-of-Life/Hospice Volunteer Program – a program of volunteer and staff training that the Jewish Home co-sponsors with the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center. The Home and the Healing Center enjoyed an early collaboration with the Zen Hospice Project, a nationally recognized innovator in the training of volunteers for spiritual/end-of-life care. Spiritual care partners (volunteers), which include Jewish Home employees and community members, receive more than 40 hours of initial training in end-of-life care. Instruction runs the gamut from an inward focus on the volunteers’ personal experiences of loss and grief to acquiring concrete tools for spiritual care, such as active listening, Jewish teachings, prayer, music, poetry, and non-verbal communication.

The needs that Kol Haneshama addresses is enhanced by the work of the Home’s Palliative Care Committee and sub-committee, interdisciplinary groups that look beyond symptom management to the psychosocial and spiritual aspects of the end of life, of dying residents, and their families. Recognizing that every resident and their supportive community deserve an open and caring forum to discuss their end-of-life goals of care, the Jewish Home’s palliative care program also includes end-of-life meetings.

Congruent with the Jewish Home’s philosophy that no one who is actively dying should be going through this process alone, the Home collaborates with two Bay Area home care agencies, scheduling sitters (caregivers) for the times that staff may not be available, when family members live at a distance, or in those cases where the resident/patient does not have loved ones.

Young student shakes hands with male Jewish Home resident

Through on-site visits and programs, youth groups from schools and synagogues learn about the wider Jewish community, the cycle of life, and respect for elders.



Website content that still bears the names Jewish Home of San Francisco and Jewish Home reflects material that is in circulation or was published before we became San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living – on which Jewish Home & Rehab Center, our acute geriatric psychiatry hospital, and the new Lynne & Roy M. Frank Residences and Byer Square are located. Wherever possible, new and updated website content will bear our new names.

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