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AARP Foundation Files Lawsuit Alleging Nursing Home Operator Intentionally Understaffed Facilities, Jeopardizing Residents’ Health

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En español | AARP Foundation lawyers this week filed a class action lawsuit against one of the largest nursing home operators in Illinois. Alden Group, whose portfolio includes dozens of facilities that are home to thousands of residents, is alleged to have systematically understaffed its facilities to the detriment of those living there. The for-profit nursing home operator is being sued by residents from six of its facilities. 

“Nursing facilities have a responsibility to meet the individualized needs of every resident. That is not happening at these Alden facilities,” William Alvarado Rivera, senior vice president of litigation at AARP Foundation, said in a statement. “It is imperative that residents and families can hold nursing homes accountable in court through private rights of action for abusive and neglectful practices.”  

The residents allege Alden has made more money in recent years by intentionally understaffing its facilities, leading to insufficient numbers of registered nurses, certified nursing assistants and other workers who provide direct care to residents. The practice has led to neglect, preventable injuries and unsanitary living conditions. States set minimum staffing standards, but Alden is alleged to have lied in reporting their staffing levels, in some cases falsifying documents while requiring residents to sign illegal agreements preventing them from suing when injuries occur because of understaffing. 

“Our goal is to get a court order to get Alden to stop these abusive practices,” Kelly Bagby, vice president of litigation at AARP Foundation, said during a Wednesday news conference. 

AARP Foundation joins two law firms and Equip for Equality, a nonprofit advocacy organization for people with disabilities, in representing the residents. AARP Foundation attorneys have a long history of protecting and representing older adults in court, earlier this year joining a class action lawsuit seeking to recover nearly $90 million in lost employee retirement funds for a group of current and former pastors. 

AARP had urged federal and state lawmakers to improve standards of care in long-term care facilities long before the pandemic, which has led to the deaths of more than 200,000 long-term care residents and staff. Our Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard draws on federal data and has consistently shown staffing shortages across the country since it was launched in 2020. More than 1 in 4 nursing homes reported being short-staffed during the four weeks ending Aug. 21, according to our latest analysis

Read about the suit, and learn more about how AARP Foundation is fighting for older adults.

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