Archive for the ‘Assisted Living’ Category

Lawsuit Cites a DSS Report Criticizing Providence Place of DePaul ALF

November 10, 2013

The state ordered an assisted living center near DePaul Medical Center to make changes last year after an investigation found the facility failed to protect patients from an aggressive resident.

A Virginia Department of Social Services report from November 2012 was filed with a lawsuit alleging that Province Place of DePaul did not protect a woman who was attacked. The lawsuit also alleges officials tried to cover up the incident.

The alleged attack occurred June 9, 2012. Emily Steele, 81, a patient with dementia, lived in the special care unit near a man known to be aggressive toward residents he believed had entered his room, according to the suit.

Staff knew that Steele often walked by the man’s room, which “presented a real and foreseeable scenario for harm to occur,” according to the lawsuit filed in September by Steele’s daughter, Nancy Stillman.

The lawsuit says staff alerted Stillman to her mother’s injury. She arrived 20 minutes later and found Emily Steele sitting, alone, her face swollen and bleeding, in an activity room. Stillman and her sister took their mother to the emergency room where she was treated for scratches and bruises.

According to the DSS report, Province Place of DePaul made a “self report” on July 30, 2012, and sent DSS an anonymous letter alleging problems at the facility. The lawsuit says the letter was discovered near a copy machine in the assisted living center and appears to have been written by a staffer.

The lawsuit also alleges that according to nurses’ notes, the family was never notified of a December 2011 incident in which the man hit Steele on the head.

A DSS inspector concluded staff “did not protect the residents from known aggressive behavior” of the man.

Full Article and Source:
Lawsuit cites report criticizing assisted living center

Elderly at Risk and Haphazardly Protected

October 31, 2013

Workers found 82-year-old Vincenzina Pontoni submerged in a deep whirlpool bathtub. She had drowned. Pontoni, a resident of an assisted living facility near Cleveland, wasn’t supposed to be left alone; her care chart stated that facility workers were to stand by while she was bathing “for safety.” But records show she had been unsupervised for at least an hour that day in 2010, with deadly consequences.

State law in Ohio does not require assisted living facilities to alert regulators at the Ohio Department of Health when a resident dies under questionable circumstances, so administrators at Pontoni’s facility never did. While law enforcement did an investigation – ruling the death an accident – the people actually charged with safeguarding seniors in assisted living never so much as visited the facility in response to Pontoni’s death. Indeed, the Department of Health was unaware of how Pontoni died until notified by a reporter investigating assisted living for ProPublica and “Frontline.”

When asked about Pontoni’s death, and whether the Department of Health feared other care issues had been overlooked, Tessie Pollock, a department spokeswoman, said it did not appear that any regulation had been violated by the Cleveland facility. She encouraged the families of residents in the state’s assisted living facilities to be vigilant on behalf of their loved ones.

Ohio’s hands-off approach to regulating assisted living is hardly an aberration.

Over the past two decades, assisted living has undergone a profound transformation. What began as a grassroots movement aimed at creating a humane and innovative alternative to nursing homes has become a multibillion-dollar industry that houses some 750,000 American seniors. Assisted living facilities, at least initially, were meant to provide housing, meals and help to elderly people who could no longer live on their own.

But studies show that increasing numbers of assisted living residents are seriously ill and that many suffer from dementia. The workers entrusted with their care must manage complex medication regimens, safeguard those for whom even walking to the bathroom can be dangerous, and handle people so incapacitated they can be a threat to themselves or others.

Yet an examination by ProPublica and “Frontline” found that, in many states, regulations for assisted living lag far behind this reality.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly at Risk and Haphazardly Protected

See Also:
Life and Death in Assisted Living

State-by-State Key Rules and Regulations Governing Assisted Living Facilities (ALF’s)

October 31, 2013
ProPublica set out to compile the key rules and regulations governing assisted living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This information was gathered from state regulatory agencies, an examination of state codes and other records, and a 2013 review prepared by the National Center for Assisted Living, an industry trade group.

Review State-by-State Key Rules and Regulations Governing Assisted Living

Ashwood Assisted Living has license revoked; facility closed

October 3, 2013

Ashwood Assisted Living facility in Hampton has closed its doors. On Sept. 25, the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services issued a final ruling revoking its license to operate.

Its license expired more than a year ago in August 2012. Since then owner Scott Schuett had been following the lengthy appeals process to keep it in operation despite continued inspections showing numerous violations. Of six facilities he once operated in the region, only Chesapeake Home in Chesapeake remains open.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, the facility was empty, its doors locked. All of its residents, who receive SSDI and auxiliary housing grants, have been relocated.

Full Article and Source:
Ashwood Assisted Living has license revoked; facility closed

See Also:
State Closes Hampton Assisted Living

Hampton’s Ashwood raises questions about licensing process

Virginia: Scott Schuett, Operator of 5 ALF’s, License Revoked!

Scott Schuett: Operator of Peninsula Assisted Living Homes Fights for License

Newport News Assisted Living Facility Closes

Woman arrested for malicious wounding in Newport News retirement home incident

Man Charged in Assulting Woman, 92, in Suffolk

Injury Leads to More Scrutiny for Suffolk Home

Assisted Living Concerns: Facility Resident Tried to Enter Home

Board Alleges Improper Care at Adultcare Homes

State Suspends Assisted-Living Facility Administrator’s Licenses

Check the License Status of Any Facility Through the Virginia Department of Social Services Website

Petition: Mandatory Liability Insurance for California’s Assisted Living Facilities

September 23, 2013

The State of California does not require an assisted living facility (also known as a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE) to carry liability insurance, either at the time the facility is licensed or any time during the life of the business. Whether a licensee (RCFE owner) carries liability insurance is entirely at the discretion of the licensee.

YET, California allows RCFEs to care for increasing numbers of hospice, bedridden, and other medically needy residents, but does not require any skilled medical professionals to be employed by the facilities. Simply put – this is a recipe for neglect and abuse. And worse, there is no reasonable mechanism for residents and their families to obtain meaningful accountability from these facilities when the resident is injured, made sick or dies at the hand of the licensee.

A judgment against an uninsured facility sued for wrongful death due to the neglect or abuse of a resident, is useless if the facility does not carry liability insurance. The facility receives a monetary judgment, but because there is no liability insurance to pay the judgment to the aggrieved family, the facility owner unable to pay the judgment – files bankruptcy. Few civil litigators will take a contingency case against an RCFE if the RCFE is uninsured. In either case, the family is left holding an empty bag.

CARR’s findings are that 87% of facilities in its database do not carry liability insurance at the time they are licensed. The odds are high that most residents in California live in facilities that do not carry liability insurance at all.

California must do a better job of protecting the frail, elderly, and medically needy residents living in assisted living. The decision to protect the elderly and their families can no longer be left to the licensee.

Mandatory Liability Insurance for RCFEs is both NECESSARY and OVERDUE! for three reasons: Moral Imperative, Accountability and Fairness.
• Moral Imperative: Elders and their families are at the mercy of uninsured RCFEs when the elder is injured, made ill, or suffers death at the hand of the licensee.
• Accountability: Current state regulations afford limited avenues for the family to hold the licensee accountable for harm suffered.
• Fairness: Why are frail elders not protected against ‘defective’ care delivered by RCFE owners?

Every licensed driver in California must carry liability insurance. Yet, over 8,000 assisted living facilities in California, carrying for 200,000 frail and medically needy residents, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without benefit of skilled medical professionals being on the staff of these facilities are exempt from carrying liability insurance.

CARR says, ENOUGH. The time for accountability is now.

For the older adult in each of us, please join CARR in demanding this common sense consumer protection for all: Require that all California residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) carry mandatory liability insurance.


This Man’s Shocking Story of Elder Financial Abuse Will Make You Hug Your Grandparents

September 20, 2013

“I should preface this by saying that my brother has always been a sociopath,” Brian Litwak told me. “But I had no other choice than to trust him because the doctor had told him, but not me, that I was supposed to die in six months.”

A former teacher, he tells his tale in a nonchalant, matter-of-fact voice. At 78 he’s wrinkled and pale, but his eyes still twinkle and his memory seems precise. I hear flickers of anger as he sits, cane in hand, in an armchair across from me.
He has reason to be upset. 
Brian is a victim of the financial side of elder abuse. His younger brother, he tells me, stole thousands of dollars from him when Brian moved into an assisted living home in Tucson in 2003..

He came to Tucson from California with about $250,000 and ended up with $12,000. The money, which Brian earned over 33 years as a teacher, started to disappear after his brother was granted a [pwer of attorney to take care of his health issues and finances.

Although his brother thought he didn’t have much time left, Brian soldiered on. In 2008, he visited his technologically savvy son in San Francisco, who finally uncovered that Brian’s brother had lied to him about how much his California condominium had sold for (he thought it went for $139,000, he says it actually sold for $295,000).

“Feeling there was something wrong” when he returned to Tucson, Brian unsuccessfully tried to broach the subject with his brother. Things took a turn for the worse when he got a letter from Medicare that said that because he hadn’t paid his fees for five months and was suspended from the program. His brother, he said, had been neglecting these payments.

“That’s very scary for an old person, not to have medical coverage,”he said.

Brian is not alone. More than 500,000 adults will be abused or neglected annually, and that number is probably an underestimate because many people are likely too scared or otherwise unable to seek help.

This is especially concerning when you take into account that the elder population is rapidly increasing. By 2050, 20 percent of the population will be made up of people who are 65 and older, and the fastest growing portion of the population is people 85 and up.

Thankfully, Handmaker — the assisted living home where Brian lives — has a policy where if you’ve been living at their facility for at least three years and your money runs out, they don’t kick you out. Handmaker also doesn’t look like your typical assisted living home. With long, wide hallways, tall ceilings and a plethora of windows, it almost has a university feel to it.

Full Article and Source:
This Man’s Shocking Story of Elder Financial Abuse Will Make You Hug Your Grandparents

Hampton facility one step closer to losing license

September 17, 2013

Hearing officer is ‘haunted by the tragic images of residents … This is a sad place to live … its doors must close.’


Ashwood Assisted Living in Hampton has moved one step closer to losing its license to operate. Eighty one residents with various physical and psychological impairments, all dependent on state auxiliary grants, live in conditions that the state has reported as putting them “at risk for their health, safety and welfare” for more than two years.

Three months after a May 30 hearing, closed at the request of owner Scott Schuett, hearing officer Sarah Smith Freeman sent her recommendation supporting revocation to the commissioner of the Department of Social Services for a final ruling. The 10-day period allowing for objections from both sides — the DSS and Schuett — ended Friday with no input from either, according to Freeman.

“This Hearing Officer is haunted by the tragic images of the residents who were questioned or observed during the inspections — the terminally ill resident, locked in a Geri chair and left to die over his eating tray, the female resident whose fingernails were worn and dirty with her own waste and the man who did not know he deserved to wear shoes even if his feet were quite wide. … This is a sad place to live. … The facility has come to its logical end and its doors must close,” Freeman wrote in her 46-page recommendation.

Commissioner Margaret Ross Schultze, who answered questions via email, but was unavailable for comment in person, has 30 days to respond. According to Joron Moore, agency spokesperson, there’s a possible extension of another 30 days. However, Freeman assured, “This one is going to generate a timely response.”

The Department of Social Services, which oversees assisted living facilities in the state, first issued a notice of its intent to revoke Ashwood’s license in June 2012. The home’s temporary license expired more than a year ago, in August 2012. During the extended appeals process, it has remained open as inspection reports by the DSS have continued to enumerate violations that range from medication mismanagement to bed bug infestations to unsafe conditions.

Until recently, Schuett, who was stripped of his administrator’s license in December 2012, operated six assisted living facilities in the region. All but Ashwood and Chesapeake Home in Chesapeake have now closed.

Full Article and Source:
Hampton facility one step closer to losing license

Hampton’s Ashwood raises questions about licensing process

September 9, 2013

Months into a waiting game on the future of Ashwood Assisted Living in Hampton, owner Scott Schuett has voluntarily closed two additional homes, Oakwood in Suffolk in June and, last month, Colonial Home in Chesapeake. Of the six homes, housing 400 residents, which he operated just a couple of years ago, only Ashwood and Chesapeake Home in Chesapeake remain open. Neither has a current license.

Conditions at Ashwood have failed to meet state standards on countless occasions over the past few years. Multiple inspections have revealed hundreds of violations, including medication mismanagement, bedbugs and insufficient food for residents. Its license expired a year ago, on Aug. 25, 2012, but it continues to operate while its revocation is under appeal. Chesapeake Home’s provisional license expired on June 30.

The latest step in the Ashwood appeal took place at a closed hearing in Newport News at the end of May. At that time the hearing officer said a decision would be made within 90 days. But, according to Patricia “Trish” Meyer, regional licensing administrator for the Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS), the need for additional information extended the hearing process into mid-July, which pushed back the 90-day window. Once the hearing officer’s recommendation is received, the DSS Commissioner then has an additional 30 days to make a case decision.

“I would love for this to be resolved as soon as possible,” said Lynne Williams, director of the Division of Licensing Programs for DSS which regulates the state’s 539 assisted living facilities or ALFs. “I believe providers have rights and should have appeal rights. It can take a very long time to get through the appeals process. It can be quite frustrating.”

According to Williams, there are two means of closing a facility, the current process being pursued by DSS with regard to Ashwood, and summary suspension. With the latter, the DSS commissioner can order a facility to close immediately, but it has to go before a judge within three days. “I doubt if we’ve done it at all this year. There’s a heavy burden of proof on us,” said Williams, citing an instance where a judge dismissed a case against a facility because “it hadn’t killed anyone recently.”

When Schuett took over Ashwood in 2009, it was his first foray into working with residents receiving state auxiliary grants. Used with Social Security income, they provide homes with about $1,100 a month for each resident. In a December 2012 interview, Schuett claimed to be the largest provider of auxiliary grant beds in the state. (The program serves about 6,000 people statewide.) Since then, he has declined to give interviews to the newspaper. An administrator who answered the phone at Ashwood this week declined to comment on the facility’s status.

“Our goal is always to keep facilities open and get them within compliance,” said Williams, citing license revocation as a last resort.

Full Article and Source:
Hampton’s Ashwood raises questions about licensing process

See Also:
Virginia: Scott Schuett, Operator of 5 ALF’s, License Revoked!

Scott Schuett: Operator of Peninsula Assisted Living Homes Fights for License

Newport News Assisted Living Facility Closes

Woman arrested for malicious wounding in Newport News retirement home incident

Man Charged in Assulting Woman, 92, in Suffolk

Injury Leads to More Scrutiny for Suffolk Home

Assisted Living Concerns: Facility Resident Tried to Enter Home

Board Alleges Improper Care at Adultcare Homes

State Suspends Assisted-Living Facility Administrator’s Licenses

Check the License Status of Any Facility Through the Virginia Department of Social Services Website

Former assisted living center director sentenced in financial exploitation

August 20, 2013
Elaine Marie Elcyzyn

JAY – The former director of a Grand Lake assisted living center accused of using a patient’s debit card at several casinos received a 15-year suspended sentence and order to pay restitution, a prosecutor said Monday.

Elaine Marie Elcyzyn, 38, of Grove, pleaded no contest in Delaware County District Court on Thursday to financial exploitation by caretaker.

She was also ordered to pay $4,680.30 in addition to a $1,000 fine and court costs, said Nick Lelecas, assistant district attorney.

Elcyzyn, the former director of Grand Wood Assisted Living, was charged after bank statements of a dementia patient showed numerous ATM withdraws amounting to over $2,743 were withdrawn at the Grand Lake Casino in Grove, Turtle Stop Casino in Wyandotte and Cherokee Casino in Watts, according to an arrest affidavit.   

Full Article and Source:
Former assisted living center director sentenced in financial exploitation

Life and Death in Assisted Living: "Close the Back Door"

August 1, 2013

On Sept. 30, 2008, an employee at the Emerald Hills assisted living facility in Auburn, Calif., made an entry in a company computer log: “pressure ulcer/wound.”

Joan, who had spent just 19 days in the facility, had developed the wound on her foot. The fall eight days earlier had hospitalized her and left her with bruises and an abrasion on her right temple. This, though, could be much, much worse.

Pressure ulcers — also known as bed sores — can form when a person loses the ability to move about freely. Lying in bed or sitting in a chair for long stretches of time diminishes the blood flow to the skin, causing it to break down and die. A hole grows. If bacteria creep into the wound, the bugs can devour flesh or invade the blood and bones. Pressure ulcers can turn fatal, particularly in older people.

Because of the lethal potential of pressure ulcers, the federal government monitors them closely in the nursing home business. In the eyes of experts, the sores are often an indicator of poor care. Attentive caregivers can prevent many pressure sores by making sure that people don’t spend too much time in the same position.

“We know that most bed sores are avoidable,” said Kathryn Locatell, a forensic geriatrician who investigates allegations of elder abuse for California Department of Justice. “That is the consensus of experts in the field.”

Emerald Hills was supposed to contact Joan’s doctor when she developed the ulcer. But nobody from Emerald Hills called a doctor. No nurse came to salve Joan’s wound. And nobody told Joan’s relatives — her husband, Myron, who lived in the same facility, or her son who lived nearby — about the development.

Joan’s short, painful stay at Emerald Hills seemed to be accelerating her decline.

Full Article and Source:
Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “Close the Back Door
See Also:
Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “A Sinking Ship”

Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “They’re Not Treating Mom Well”

Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “The Emerald City”