Archive for the ‘Virginia’ 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

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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

Meet Brenda Kelley-Nelum, A Champion for Seniors (and NASGA Legislative Liaison!)

September 30, 2013

Brenda Kelley-Nelum, a loyal AARP volunteer, is a champion for senior citizens. She has been a longtime activist for standing up and protecting seniors from abuse and wrongdoings. A Washington D.C native, Brenda attended public school before they were integrated. In 1954, her 7th grade year, she went from a small six room elementary school to the quite large Eastern High School. The transformation she said is unforgettable. Brenda continued her education and received a BA from Howard University.

Brenda’s career consisted of being a federal auditor for the inspector general and a financial representative for the National Council of Senior Citizens now called Senior Service America.  She worked extensively with the Virginia Leadership Institute getting citizens in the Prince William area involved in the community through becoming members of state and local commissions. For fun, Brenda does different community service projects like planning an event educating people on healthy soul food cooking through the zeta chi omega chapter of her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. With over 100 attendants, some of the guests included the state President of AARP, a state senator, and a city council member. In her spare time Brenda, enjoys using Facebook and Twitter to keep up with friends and family.

Brenda first got involved with AARP to advocate for a new healthcare system. She saw AARP being criticized for supporting the Medicare Part D prescription drug legislation. Watching citizens in Richmond publicly destroying their AARP membership cards pushed Brenda into action; she thought “shouldn’t these people be working with AARP in order to have their concerns fought for?” and with that, she got involved. She felt that AARP was committed to seeing healthcare reform to the very end and she wanted to be a part of that—regardless of the flack she might receive from friends and neighbors.

Brenda mostly works with AARP on healthcare issues but she is a big advocate for doing more to combat elder abuse; a cause AARP is deeply concerned about. Brenda has been very vocal about elders being abused by those in trusted with their guardianship and would like to see the issue have more light shed upon it. Brenda would like to see AARP working on more of a micro level in order to be more responsive to every senior’s needs and concerns.

Source:
Meet Brenda Kelley-Nelum – A Champion for Seniors

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

Every grown-up should get chance to make own decisions

August 21, 2013

Aging baby boomers, look out, because the case I am going to talk about might have an impact on your life one day, too.

This is a case about freedom, personal decisions and whether someone who is deemed less bright than Einstein has the right to make those personal decisions themselves.

All of us who have been parents understand to some degree the lawsuit involving guardianship decided last week by Circuit Court Judge David F. Pugh in Newport News, Va.  We think we know what is best for our children — even when they aren’t children anymore.

Maybe you have even experienced the same dilemma with an aging parent.  You are concerned for their safety, their well-being, and you know what is best for them.

Jenny Hatch is 29.  When she was in a bicycle accident, her friends Jim Talbert and Kelly Morris, who came to know Jenny when they hired her to work in their thrift store,  took her in.  The three formed a sort of family.

But Jenny’s mother and stepfather, Julia and Richard Ross, weren’t happy with the arrangement.  Believing they knew what was best for Jenny, they sought legal guardianship so they could make decisions for her.

If Jenny didn’t have a disability, no court would have taken such an idea seriously.  But she does have a disability — and that made all the difference.

Jenny Hatch has Down syndrome.  She is described as vibrant, loving and, let’s not forget, 29 years old.

Her parents believe she should live in a group home and managed to place her in several of them over the past year while the case was pending.

Each time, she ran away, back to her friends Talbert and Morris, who wanted her to live with them, and with whom she wanted to live.

The case, which took a year to resolve and attracted disability-rights leaders from around the country, brings the issue of guardianship front and center, where we all should be taking a good, hard look.

Having legal guardianship over someone means that you make decisions for them.  You decide where they will live, if and where they can work, what they will eat and with whom they will associate.

These are the decisions we make for children, because we believe they are not yet able to make these decisions for themselves.

Indeed, that was Jenny Hatch’s lament regarding the group homes where the Rosses wanted her to live: She was treated like a child.

Full Article and Source:
Every grown-up should get chance to make own decisions

See Also:
Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

Jenny Hatch’s courtroom battle continues

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner

Jenny Hatch in her new life

August 11, 2013

Jenny Hatch in her new life
Jenny Hatch in her new life

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – WAVY.com brings you an update on Jenny Hatch, a 29-year-old Newport News woman with Down Syndrome, who won a custody battle last week.

For the last year, Jenny’s been engaged in a lengthy court battle against her mother who wants her to live in a group home. Jenny wants to live with her friends Jim Talbert and Kelly Morris, who want to take her in.
On Friday, WAVY.com was there when Newport News Judge Pugh gave Jenny the right to live where she wants to. Morris and Talbert were granted temporary guardianship of Jenny, but after a year, she can make her own decisions.
“It feels awesome,” said Morris at home with Jenny on Wednesday. “Our family is complete.”

WAVY’s Andy Fox caught up with Jenny at home with her friends Wednesday and then shadowed her on her first day back at work at the Villiage Thrift Store after court proceedings ended.

It’s when you ask Jenny about her thrift store family that she gets emotional.

I’m so happy. I am so happy…,” Jenny said Wednesday through emotional sobs. “Thanks for being here…I am finally home.”

Full Article and Source:
Jenny Hatch in her new life

See Also:
Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

Jenny Hatch’s courtroom battle continues

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner

Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

August 8, 2013

The guardianship system in this country raises serious concerns. That’s why the guardianship trial of Jenny Hatch, a vibrant and active 29-year-old in a battle over who controls her life, struck such a chord. Jenny spoke for many other people with disabilities when she said clearly in her trial: “I don’t need guardianship. I don’t want it.”

On Friday a judge in Virginia denied guardianship to the parents of Jenny Hatch. Hatch will instead be able to live with her friends, couple Kelly Morris and Jim Talbert, as she had requested. This is a victory, but it should never have come to this.

If anyone else had been placed in an isolated location, against her will, with her cell phone and computer taken away, and not allowed to leave the building without permission, as Hatch was, she would either be able to lodge a charge of kidnapping, or be a prisoner convicted of a crime.

But, because Hatch is a person with a disability – and only because of that – it is completely legal, even though she has done nothing wrong.

Guardianship can, and often does, deprive a person of the ability to choose where she lives, who she sees, when she gets up in the morning, what she eats for breakfast, whether and where she works and whether she is allowed the right to vote.

Guardianship is typically created under two circumstances:

  • When adults – often seniors – develop a disability, especially one that affects the ability to manage finances or make complex decisions, their spouse or child is often encouraged to become their guardian.
  • And, when a child with developmental disabilities reaches 18, her parents are often encouraged to become the child’s guardian – ostensibly so that they can continue to participate in medical and educational decisions for the child.

In both circumstances, other less restrictive options are available.

Full Article and Source:
Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

See Also:
Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

Jenny Hatch’s courtroom battle continues

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner

Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

August 3, 2013

Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

The custody battle of a 29-year-old woman with Down Syndrome came to an end Friday afternoon.Jenny Hatch has been in and out of court for months, fighting to live with her friends, couple Kelly Morris and Jim Talbert, instead of at a group home. Friday a judge granted that wish and gave the couple custody of Jenny for the next year.

The verdict was revealed in a Newport News courtroom a little before 4 p.m. Full guardianship of Jenny was taken away from her mother, Julia Ross, who wanted Jenny to live in a group home. After a year under the guardianship of Morris and Talbert, Jenny will be able to make her own decisions.

Morris and Talbert have a history of caring for Jenny, and say they will gladly take her in.

“It’s awesome. We’re ecstatic,” said Morris. “At first, I thought it wasn’t going in our favor, but then the judge said ‘however.’ It brought up a glimmer of hope. We’re ecstatic.”

Full Article and Source:
Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

See Also:
Jenny Hatch’s courtroom battle continues

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner

August 3, 2013

Monday, July 29, 4:25 PM
 
The guardianship system in our country raises serious concerns.

The July 21 front-page article “Jenny’s declaration of independence” is a strong illustration of the system’s overreach in action. The story focused on Jenny Hatch, a vibrant 29-year-old in a battle over who controls her life. As Ms. Hatch said clearly: “I don’t need guardianship. I don’t want it.”
 

If anyone else had been required to live somewhere against her will, with limited communication with the outside world, as Ms. Hatch was, she would either be able to lodge a charge of kidnapping or would be a prisoner convicted of a crime. But because Ms. Hatch is a person with a disability, such actions are completely legal, even though she has done nothing wrong.
Guardianship can, and often does, deprive a person of the ability to choose where she lives, whom she sees, when she gets up in the morning, what she eats for breakfast, whether and where she works and whether she can vote.
Less restrictive options are available, including powers of attorney for health care or financial matters, and “supported decision-making.” Both options give people with disabilities greater control of their lives. We should explore these options first, rather than reflexively stripping people of their fundamental right to live with independence, freedom and dignity. Disability is no excuse to deprive someone of her basic civil liberties.

 

Full Article and Source:
Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner