The nursing home sweep was conducted by Madigan in conjunction with authorities from the St. Clair Sheriff Department, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Department on Aging and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
As furtherance of Madigan’s “Operation Compliance”, a program designed to improve the safety of nursing home patients in Illinois, the Virgil Calvert operation nabbed 61-year-old Rothford Darden. Darden was wanted on an active Missouri drug warrant.
Since the inception of Operation Compliance in late 2009, the program has identified 61 people with active warrants living freely amongst the general nursing home population. Seventeen of the people with outstanding warrants were arrested on the spot.
Criminals living amongst the elderly?
Many of the criminal nabbed during the raids are able-bodied and/or younger people who live freely amongst the nursing home population. In the case of Mr. Darden, Ms. Madigan seemed to indicate that he stood out from your typical nursing home patient. “He knew he was wanted. He seemed perfectly able-bodied. These nursing homes have been turning out to be the perfect place for hiding out,” added spokeswoman Cara Smith.
Thus far, the raids have been conducted at just 12 out of the more than1,200 long-term care facilities in Illinois. While I’m sure there is good reasoning behind the Attorney General’s selection of these facilities, it is scary to think how many criminals may be living amongst the fragile nursing home population on a state-wide basis.
Nursing homes have a duty to provide a safe environment for their patients. Hopefully, raids such as this, will encourage nursing homes across the state to implement more stringent programs to screen residents– particularly the able-bodied people who are easily capable of harming other disabled patients.