Chicago-based Senior Lifestyle Corp. will take over operations of 10 assisted living communities currently operated by CRL Senior Living Communities, according to the Northwestern, following CRL’s regulatory struggles.
Staffing issues at several of CRL’s 14 communities in Illinois and Wisconsin have landed the operator, also Chicago-based, in regulatory hot water, the Northwestern reported on Sunday. Now, Senior Lifestyle will assume control of nine Wisconsin communities and one Illinois community.
“We’re working with CRL and the (building) owner to make sure there’s no effect on residents or lapse in care or coverage, so it’s seamless to residents at the property,” Stephen Levy, executive vice president and general counsel for Senior Lifestyle, told the newspaper.
Wisconsin officials have previously said license revocation could be coming soon for several CRL communities where state investigators have found systemic problems, many of which are related to a lack of adequate staff training, according to the article.
A number of serious issues have been documented at CRL communities, including multiple deaths, resident neglect, and medication mix-ups.
Many of the serious care violations happened at CRL’s eight high-needs homes that specialize in memory care, and in total, seven deaths have occurred at assisted living communities owned by CRL in the past two years.
At Lakeshore Manor, an assisted living community in Oshkosh, Wisc., an 85-year-old resident with Alzheimer’s died after what the Northwestern calls a “two-week run of care failures and inadequate treatment,” including three falls, a compression fracture, constant diarrhea, and dehydration.
Caregivers reportedly mixed up the woman’s medications “repeatedly,” didn’t notify her doctor or family members about her worsening health condition, and waited for around an hour before calling 911 after finding her unresponsive in bed, a state investigation found.
“We didn’t get the training for these situations,” a caregiver told investigators, according to the police incident report.
At another community, care plans for four residents weren’t updated despite an escalation in falls.
“The state temporarily barred new admissions [at Bella Vista Manor in Oshkosh] after the two-month investigation found the facility housed mentally ill residents without the proper licenses or trained caregivers,” reports the Northwestern. “Staff also failed to properly assess newcomers, maintain and update service plan and update daily operations.”
A CRL-owned Menomonee Falls community was cited for six violations related to criminal background checks for employees, dispensing medications, and inadequate resident care, while another community in Oshkosh was fined for not training its staff on how to properly care for residents with mental illnesses.
Between 2011 and 2012, CRL was fined about $97,000 for 120 different violations, according to state documents obtained by the Northwestern. During those two years, the company received 17% of all the total fines given to Wisconsin’s 3,348 assisted living communities.
The state received 68 complaints about CRL communities in 2011 and 2012, according to records cited by the article, and the frequency of those complaints prompted the state ombudsmen services supervisor to reach out to CRL management.
“They always listen to us, and we do see positive changes sometimes, but we also see some facilities eventually go back to the original complaints,” Kim Marheine, the head of the state’s ombudsmen program, told the Northwestern. “I don’t know if facilities really take the time to [seriously examine systemic problems] until the department of quality assurance says we’re going to put you on no admissions or revoke your license.”
Not all of CRL’s communities have regulatory issues, the article notes, and the company’s management has affirmed its willingness to work through its issues with regulators.
“At the end of the day, I believe that every company is doing the best they can,” Ari Weinberger, CRL president, told the Northwestern. “There’s always room to grow and do more, but I think we’ll be able to demonstrate in that meeting that we have taken the steps and we’ve addressed most of those issues.”
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Written by Alyssa Gerace