Four families of nursing home residents mounted a federal class-action lawsuit last week against Brookdale Senior Living Inc. and its facilities for elder financial abuse, fraud and violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The company is accused of prioritizing profits over care for elders with physical disabilities and dementia. The families filing the lawsuit have family members that are residents in the Santa Rosa and San Ramon locations in California.
Brookdale Senior Living Inc. is the largest assisted living provider for individuals with disabilities and senior citizens in the United States. The Tennessee-based company owns 89 facilities across California that care for 5,000 residents. Monthly fees range between $4,000 and $5,000 per resident.
According to The Press Democrat, the plaintiffs paid hundreds of dollars extra each month for additional services such as medication distribution, laundry, and assistance bathing and using the restroom. The lawsuit states that although those services were paid for, they were not always provided. The family of one of the plaintiffs noted that their family member was frequently neglected and that they were not notified when the resident was taken to the emergency room after a fall.
The plaintiffs contend that the nursing homes are systematically understaffed. The complaint characterizes a failure to train workers and cutting caregiver hours as part of the company’s efforts to increase profitability at the expense of nursing home patients. This understaffing extends to the point that residents are often forced to call 911 for assistance because they do not receive a prompt response from staff when they call for help.
The lawsuit also claims that the nursing home company violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by discriminating against disabled seniors. It cites restricting the number of individuals in wheelchairs who can participate in outings, providing insufficient staff to care for residents with cognitive disabilities, and a failure to address barriers in living quarters as examples of ADA violations.
A spokeswoman for Brookdale denied these allegations.