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2 Alabama Nursing Homes Closing After Inquiry

August 02, 2000|From Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Under pressure from Alabama health officials, two assisted-living homes are closing amid criminal investigations stemming from a death at one and reports of improper sexual activity between residents at the other.

Health officials contend the 13 residents at Shady Oaks in Marshall County and 11 at Golden Oaks in Shelby County--all with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia afflictions--are living at risk and should be moved.

The company that owns both homes, Shady Oaks Inc., plans to help with relocating the residents by Sept. 16, the deadline for the closings.

Eugene Watson of Birmingham, an attorney for Shady Oaks Inc., said the state licenses were "voluntarily surrendered." He said the action will allow the company to deal with potential buyers "with a clean slate."

Jettie Bates, the administrator at Golden Oaks, said Tuesday there is "absolutely nothing wrong with this place."

The voluntary closings are part of a state crackdown on the fast-growing assisted-living industry and its more than 300 homes that are caretakers for thousands of elderly Alabamians.

Two assisted-living residents with Alzheimer's disease who left homes in Alabama without permission have died in accidents this year. State inspectors have reported numerous cases of residents being abused and neglected, in many cases at unlicensed homes.

A July 12 inspection report showed that a resident at the Golden Oaks home became bedridden, suffered from sores on the feet and back, lost 40 pounds over several months and died. The report shows that the resident never received "skilled medical care" that a doctor had recommended.

Gov. Donald Siegelman has requested a criminal investigation of that death as well as an investigation of Shady Oaks, where a June 29 report shows that inspectors discovered "improper sexual behavior between residents who likely are not cognitively capable of consenting to such contact."

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