The background on Alden Nursing Home Meeting

 

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This May protest contributed to a July 24 meeting between elected officials, public health leaders and a representative from Alden Management Services. Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune.

You don't always get to see concrete results from your work in journalism, so it's rewarding when that happens.

This story began in early May when 84-year-old Bennie Saxon, a much-loved veteran with dementia, fell four stories to his death at Alden Wentworth Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.

Floyd A. Schlossberg owns that and all the other homes in the Alden network.

We looked and found that each of his predominantly black homes, including Alden Wentworth, received the lowest possible rating from Nursing Home Compare, a federal database to evaluate nursing homes.

We also discovered major staffing disparities between Schlossberg's majority-black homes and several of his majority-white homes.

We ran the story.

Two protests led by the Senior Action Network, which is connected to another division of the Community Renewal Society to which we belong, took place at Alden Wentworth.

At the first one, Joyce Moore presented an employee with a letter requesting to meet with Mr. Schlossberg.

It was put in the garbage.

Senator Jacqueline Collins, Rep. Andre Thapedi, and Ald. Freddrenna Lyle attended the second protest.

They entered the home and reported that they received similarly rude treatment.

Last Friday, these three elected officials and leaders from the Illinois Department of Public Health met with a representative from Alden Management Services.

The representative said he has made changes. A new administrator has been brought into Alden Wentworth. Staffing assignments on the dementia floor have changed.

He also said capital improvements are planned for the Alden Wentworth and nearby Alden Princeton Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.

But he did not agree to hire additional staff.

A meeting where promises are made may not seem like much, but it is a start.

We'll continue to watch and report on what happens to some of our city's most vulnerable citizens.

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