It is with deep sadness that I write this letter regarding the Farren Care Center and its possible move out of Turners Falls.
I had the opportunity to work there as a social worker and Director of Admissions for almost twenty years. It was a wonderful opportunity for me as I was working in a place that truly lived its mission and values under the Sisters of Providence. Most patients come to Farren because other facilities are unable to meet their medical or mental health needs.
In my roles I had the opportunity to talk to many people throughout Massachusetts and out of state as Farren’s unique program was well known for their willingness to care for people where others were unwilling and unable to provide a high standard of care. That care cannot be replicated in a new facility with new staff—it is the cultural system, which is based on the mission of the Sisters, that has been in place since it opened. I learned quickly that the staff treated residents as people, not their diagnosis.
I appreciate the work many local legislators did in trying to secure money to rehabilitate the building. That approach still seems the most responsible thing to do. Moving residents and staff during a pandemic appears to me to deleterious to their health and well-being. The Department of Mental Health and Department of Public Health worked hard with the Sisters to create this specialized facility over 25 year ago, to meet an unmet need which has been accomplished.
I hope they can use their expertise, knowledge and resources to save Farren.
Judi Fonsh, LICSW, Leverett