On May 4, 2009, Bennie Saxon, a veteran suffering from dementia who was a resident at the Alden Wentworth Rehabilitation and Health Care Center fell four stories to his death. The Alden facility is a large 300 bed, predominately black nursing home facility located in Chicago’s South Side.
According to the government’s Medicare website, the facility received only two out of five stars, which is a below average rating, receiving only one out of five stars for health inspections and one out of five stars for nursing home staffing. In the past year, the nursing home had 23 health deficiencies, which is fifteen more than the average number of health deficiencies in Illinois and in the United States. The number of health deficiencies is more than the health deficiencies in the past two years.
Alden Wentworth received only one out of five stars for its nursing home staffing, which is a much below average rating. The nursing home provides less licensed nurse staff hours per resident per day (42 minutes) than both the national average (1 hour 24 minutes) and the Illinois average (1 hour 12 minutes). The facility also provides less resident nurse hours per resident per day (16 minutes) than both the national and Illinois averages (36 minutes). The facility also offers less licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse hours per resident per day (26 minutes) than the national average (48 minutes) and the Illinois average (36 minutes). The number of certified nurse aid hours per resident per day at Alden Wentworth (1 hour 20 minutes) is also less than the national average (2 hours 18 minutes) and the Illinois average (2 hours).
The Chicago Reporter conducted an investigation of the facility following Mr. Saxon’s death, and Chicago Now ran an update about the protests and meeting that occurred in response. The Alden Wentworth facility is owned by Floyd A. Schlossberg, who is one of Illinois’ largest owners of nursing homes, with ownership in twenty-nine homes. The Chicago Reporter reported that the Alden Wentworth facility provides residents with less than half of the time each day with staff than residents at a predominantly white facility in Evanston that is also owned by Mr. Schlossberg.
Following Mr. Saxon’s fall, the Senior Action Network staged two protests at the Alden facility. At the first protest, a Alden Wentworth employee threw a letter requesting a meeting with Mr. Schlossberg in the trash. At the second protest, Senator Jacqueline Collins, Representative Andre Thapedi, and Alderman Freddrenna Lyle were in attendance and also received rude treatment from the facility.
Then, on July 24, 2009, the three elected officials mentioned above and leaders from the Illinois Department of Public Health met with a representative from the Alden facility. The Alden representative reported that changes had been made at the facility: a new administrator had been brought to the facility and staff assignments on the dementia floor were changed. However, the facility did not agree to hire additional staff.
Regarding a separate incident, the Illinois Department of Public Health conducted a complaint investigation of the Alden Wentworth facility on April 2, 2009.
The report revealed that the facility failed to provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest possible physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of its residents. A resident who had a change in their breathing status was not evaluated by a physician in a timely manner, resulting in the resident being admitted to the hospital with Dyspnea (shortness of breath). The resident was suffering from a cold, temperature, and congestion. The doctor was not properly notified of the resident’s condition, which accounted for the delay in proper treatment. The facility’s response reported that nursing staff was alerted as to the proper procedure for what to do if the attending physician does not respond. The resident involved in the incident subsequently died.
For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.
Chicago Now – The Background on Alden Nursing Home Meeting
The Chicago Reporter – Disparate Nursing Home Care
Medicare Website – Alden Wentworth Rehabilitation and Health Care Center
Illinois Department of Public Health – Alden Wentworth Rehab & HCC
Mayo Clinic – Dementia