Sunday, June 28, 2020
On a cold afternoon in April, Los Angeles police found an old and disoriented man crumpled on a Koreatown sidewalk. RC Kendrick, an 88-year-old with dementia, was living at Lakeview Terrace, a nursing home with a history of regulatory problems. His family had placed him there to make sure he got round-the-clock care after his condition deteriorated and he began disappearing for days at a time.
However, on April 6, the nursing home placed Kendrick at an unregulated boarding house, without informing his family. Less than 24 hours later, Kendrick was wandering the streets alone.
More than any other institution in America, nursing homes have come to symbolize the deadly destruction of the coronavirus crisis. More than 51,000 residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities have died, representing more than 40 percent of the total death toll in the United States.
A Lakeview official said the company’s evictions were appropriate and weren’t an attempt to free space for Covid-19 patients. Yet, similar things are happening at nursing homes across the country. They are just dumping old and disabled residents, who are among the most vulnerable to the virus, in homeless shelters, rundown motels, unregulated boarding houses, and even the streets.
Many of the evictions, known as involuntary discharges, appear to violate federal rules that require nursing homes to place residents in safe locations and to provide them with at least 30 days’ notice before forcing them to leave.
The pandemic has intensified the situation.
With nursing homes not allowing visitors, there is less outside scrutiny of their practices. Fifteen state-funded ombudsmen said in interviews that some homes appear to be taking advantage of that void to evict vulnerable residents.
Many nursing homes are struggling financially as post-surgery rehab has withered away due to the non-essential restrictions placed on facilities. Therefore, treating COVID-19 patients quickly has become a popular way to fill that void.
Keep an eye on your loved ones!
See Jessica Silver-Greenberg & Amy Julia Harris, ‘They Just Dumped Him Like Trash’: Nursing Homes Evict Vulnerable Residents, N.Y. Times, June 23, 2020.
Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.