Nursing Home Ordered by Judge to Stop Distributing Misleading Information to Residents

A federal judge has issued a stinging rebuke after a for-profit nursing home was using scare tactics to persuade psychiatric patients to stay in their facilities instead of moving into supportive community housing. The ruling, made public Wednesday, is related to a landmark proposed court settlement in which authorities pledged to offer supportive community-based housing and treatment specifically designed to mentally diseased residents. This would affect around 4,500 psychiatric patients currently living in large nursing homes.

The nursing home got into trouble when operators recently distributed "information sheets" to their psychiatric residents and their families asserting that the proposed settlement lacks clarity and could strip away protections for individuals who leave the nursing facilities, implying that some may be left hungry, homeless and without care. The ACLU and other advocates for the mentally ill objected to the information sheets and the fact that facility operators urged the patients to object to the settlement.

In the opinion of  U.S. District Judge William Hart the facilities are attempting to appeal to residents' and family members' fears. He ordered the facilities to stop handing out the information sheets, which he also called "misleading." In his ruling, Hart did not buy into the facilities excuse that they mat lose all of their business to community based housing for the mentally ill. The new community housing is voluntary and patients would have to pass assessments before they could even qualify for the new housing arrangements. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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