The Dangers of Va. Assisted Living

A Washington Post Investigation

Day One

An 18-month investigation by The Washington Post found a troubled and worsening record of care at Virginia's assisted living facilities, including avoidable injuries and deaths, and a system of state oversight that often failed to identify or correct problems.

  • As Care Declines, Cost Can Be Injury, Death Lapses by Home Operators, State Create Perilous Conditions , May 23, 2004
    When death came to Theresa Buford, she was cold and alone. She was 75, the favorite "Aunt T" whose nieces and nephews had spent their holidays over turkey and sweet potato pies at her Richmond home. A large, robust woman who loved watching soap operas, she had worked for years as a nurse's aide and had volunteered with the Girl Scouts.

  • Owner's Homes Troubled, Yet Aid Continued Va. Granted Licenses, Funding Despite Hundreds of Violations, May 23, 2004
    For much of the 1990s, Richmond psychiatrist Nazir A. Chaudhary thrived in Virginia's assisted living industry, aided by the state. He built up a sizable business of 15 facilities. He was embraced by state leaders, including former governor James S. Gilmore III. But behind the facade of a successful business and caregiving enterprise was a very different reality -- one in which state officials approved new licenses and sent taxpayer dollars to an owner who had serious problems caring for residents at his homes.


  • Day Two

    In assisted living homes, residents attacking their housemates represents another layer of danger.

  • In Va.'s Assisted Living Homes, Violent Preyed on the Vulnerable, May 24, 2004
    At West Point Adult Home in eastern Virginia, 44-year-old Carolyn Sabo attacked her 83-year-old housemate last August, jabbing her behind the ear with a pair of blunt scissors and sending her to the hospital.

  • Sites Woo Patients They Can't Protect Some Ill-Equipped for Dementia Clients, Msy 24, 2004
    Alzheimer's disease had erased 68-year-old Thomas Earl Thomas's memory. He mistook his wife of 39 years for his sister. He watched a blank television screen and complained that it was a rerun. Seeking his dead mother, he sometimes wandered to his childhood home, long since occupied by others.


  • Day Three

    Kensington Gardens in Richmond racked up care violations, but Virginia still kept it open.

  • Assisted Living Facility's Chaos Bred Wide Neglect Home Racked Up Care Violations, but Va. Kept It Open, May 25, 2004
    For three days, Sharon Moore's chair stood empty at meals. Aides at Kensington Gardens, a sprawling assisted living facility in Richmond, recorded her absence in the medication records, in the 24-hour resident report and on the dining room attendance list.


  • Day Four

    As the assisted living demand booms Virginia regulators are struggling to keep pace, especially when compared with other states.

  • Weak Laws Let Deficient Facilities Stay Open Demand for Assisted Living Care Pushes Virginia to Emphasize Improvement, Not Punishment, May 26, 2004
    When Albert Srebnick Sr. plummeted from a window to the ground three stories below, it was a tragedy foretold. Srebnick, a 59-year-old suffering from schizophrenia, fell from Room 318 of Richmond's Madison Home, in August 2002, breaking his back and ribs and puncturing a lung. He survived but was hospitalized for several months and is now in a nursing home.

  • Virginia Rarely Prosecutes Cases of Neglect, Abuse Lack of Expertise, Victims' Disabilities Hamper Investigators, May 26, 2004
    By the time Melvin Hearld was rushed from Grandview Adult Care II to an Abingdon hospital, his heart was racing, his kidneys were failing, infection raged in his body and his right leg was cold and dead. Doctors didn't believe that the 85-year-old man would survive the double amputation he needed. An intake nurse labeled his case "suspected neglect/abuse."


  • More From the Series

  • Upgrades in Va.'s Assisted Living Sought Social Services Chief, Warner Call for Changes in Oversight, Conditions of Homes, May 27, 2004
    Virginia's commissioner of social services said yesterday that he would push to improve conditions and oversight of the state's assisted living facilities, suggesting increased fines for homes that violate regulations and the removal of obstacles that make it difficult to close troubled facilities. He also said he wants to make records on the homes much more accessible to the public by putting them on the Internet.

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