Thoughtful senior man sitting on bed. Elderly male is looking away. He is in bedroom at home.
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A class action lawsuit tied to alleged “chronic understaffing” at six Illinois skilled nursing facilities should send a “strong message” to senior living and other long-term care providers, according to one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the case.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court by 11 unnamed residents against Alden Group and Alden Management Services, along with the six rehabilitation and post-acute facilities. The complaint alleges that Alden engaged in an “ongoing practice of profiting from systemically and knowingly understaffing” its facilities. The result, according to the lawsuit, was “dangerous, distressing and grossly unsanitary living conditions.”

Alden also provides assisted living, memory care and independent living, although none of those communities is named in the legal action.

The complaint alleges that Alden profits by operating its facilities with inadequate numbers of certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, dietary staff and therapists.

“The goal with this class action is to finally end the chronic understaffing at Alden facilities,” Steven Levin of Levin & Perconti said in a statement. “It will also send a strong message to other nursing homes and assisted living facilities that they, too, will be held accountable for intentional understaffing.”

Levin went on to say that understaffing at the facilities led to residents being injured from falls, acquiring pressure ulcers that worsened without treatment and waiting long periods to receive diagnoses of potentially life-threatening conditions.

The complaint alleges that Alden’s “neglect and use of unfair business practices to conceal the resulting harms” violate the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

In addition to Levin & Perconti, the class is represented by the AARP Foundation, Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., and Equip for Equality. The residents are seeking monetary, declaratory and injunctive relief to correct dangerous conditions that resulted from understaffing practices at the facilities. The complaint also seeks to prevent Alden’s efforts to keep facility residents from holding the facilities accountable through court action.

A representative for Alden told McKnight’s that the company “vigorously denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing set forth by the plaintiffs and their attorneys and is confident the judicial process will vindicate Alden in this action.”

Saying that the company has a policy of not discussing the specifics of any pending litigation “so as to preserve the integrity of the litigation process,” the spokesperson said that “Alden is committed to providing quality care, and the well-being of our residents has been and always will be our top priority.”