Residents of 22 shuttered Arc group homes relocated
BY CHRISTIN NANCE LAZERUS email@example.com October 3, 2013 6:40PM
A U-Haul truck sits in the driveway of 6511 Nebraska Ave. in Hammond as Arc of Northwest Indiana employees moved disabled residents to other facilities Thursday. The state ordered Arc to close its 22 supervised living group homes in Lake and Porter counti
Updated: November 5, 2013 6:33AM
For residents of The Arc of Northwest Indiana group homes, Thursday marked a significant change.
The agency’s 22 supervised living group homes, which housed 90 disabled clients, were forced by the state’s Family and Social Services Administration to close due to numerous health and safety issues. The FSSA made arrangements for all 90 residents to move in with their families, if possible, or other service providers in Northwest Indiana. Opportunity Enterprises has placed nine residents in its homes. But some residents are moving as far away as Fort Wayne or Indianapolis.
Those relocations were completed Thursday. The Arc of Northwest Indiana spokeswoman Sue Crisman said the moving process went smoothly.
“One of the new providers arrived at one of the homes around 7 a.m. as the residents were finishing up breakfast,” Crisman said. “They had everything packed up, but the residents took things with them to tide them over for a few days. They arrived at their new home around lunchtime, where they were able to meet existing residents to ease the transition.”
The residents’ possessions should arrive at their new homes by Friday.
The closures forced the layoff of about 120 Arc of Northwest Indiana employees who worked in the homes. But as of Thursday, The Arc had not filed a layoff notice with the state Department of Workforce Development. Crisman said The Arc’s human resources director is taking care of the paperwork.
Though the move to shutter the homes was sudden, the FSSA and Indiana State Department of Health had recently made moves to improve care at the group homes. A few weeks ago, three homes — two in Merrillville and one in Griffith — were decertified by the Indiana Department of Health, and the FSSA forced The Arc of Northwest Indiana to make personnel changes, while the Arc of Northeast Indiana provided help and oversight. Several residents had to receive acute health care services, and the FSSA realized that the best move would be to relocate the residents elsewhere.
Crisman said there was a difficulty in providing adequate nursing services to residents. Surveys on file with the Indiana State Department of Health indicate that clients in Arc homes didn’t receive adequate care, which sometimes exacerbated their health issues.
A Merrillville group home at 1921 W. 54th Ave. was one the three decertified homes, and it faced a series of investigations from the state when an 83-year-old client died after she slipped out of her bed in January. The client had been hospitalized for cardiovascular disease and general weakness in the weeks before her death. The report said the facility didn’t have an adequate number of staff members to move the client when she fell multiple times and they incorrectly administered her medications.
The other Merrillville home that was decertified, at 6101 Hayes St., was cited for not adequately monitoring a client’s propensity for pressure ulcers and skin breakdown.
At a Hobart home, a report chided the staff for failing to ensure that one client’s diabetes wasn’t neglected and another client’s weight loss wasn’t supervised
“The governing body failed to ensure the facility’s nursing services met the health care needs of clients,” the report from Aug. 16 stated. “The governing body failed to ensure the facility initiated investigations of all allegations of neglect when informed, conducted thorough investigations and/or implemented corrective measures to prevent recurrence of neglect in regard to discharged clients.”