Monday, August 18, 2008

Deplorable conditions plague worst-run adult homes

That's the title of this article about a Times Herald-Record investigation that has found a disturbing piciture of neglect, abuse and indifference to residents in many of the Hudson Valley's adult care facilities. Despite reforms over the past few years, state oversight has been ineffective in regulating these homes, whose population comprises the elderly, infirm and mentally ill. The article begins:

The morning of Feb. 11, 2007, Karen Preston walked away from the Roscoe Manor Adult Home, headed north on Rockland Road. She stumbled into the woods about a mile away.

She fell repeatedly. She walked in circles. She curled up under a pine tree.

And that's where police found her frozen body two days later - her socks next to her body, no shoes on her feet. A medical examiner ruled that she died of hypothermia.

Karen Preston was 54 years old and suffered from severe schizophrenia. She had lived in Roscoe Manor because she needed help with daily activities and self-care that an adult home is supposed to provide.

Preston's death, while an extreme, underscores the deplorable conditions at some of the Hudson Valley's worst adult homes, a Times Herald-Record investigation found. In too many homes, the Record found, residents are routinely subjected to neglect, filth and indifference.

Inspections at 22 licensed adult homes in Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties from 2001-07 turned up 846 violations deemed to directly affect the safety or well-being of residents - with two-thirds of those citations recorded at the seven adult homes operated in Sullivan County.

A year after Preston disappeared, another Roscoe Manor resident, Ella Maye, walked away from the home.

Maye, 78, had dementia and heart disease. State police believe she suffered a fatal heart arrhythmia while walking on Rockland Road early on Feb. 23.

They believe she was trying to crawl back to Roscoe Manor when she collapsed on a neighbor's front lawn and died.

The adult home was supposed to do hourly bed checks, but Roscoe Manor owner Charles Benson said at the time that an employee had failed to do so.

No one noticed Ella Maye was missing.

more here ....