Nursing home residents and their family members in both California and Washington claim that Aegis misled vulnerable adults about staffing levels at its facilities in violation of consumer protection and elder abuse statutes. The nursing abuse lawsuits allege that Aegis (with more than 38 “communities”) determined staffing based on labor budgets and profit objectives rather than changes in occupancy or resident needs.
Preliminary approval of a $16.25 million settlement, reports Law360 (March 24, 2021), would allot about $950 to 5,600 California class members and $1,550 to 4,500 Washington class members.
Nursing Home Abuse Class Action Lawsuit
A class action lawsuit filed by John Shanahan in 2018 alleged that Aegis misled residents and families at its 14 assisted living facilities in Washington State for years. According to the Bellevue Reporter, Shanahan found his mother “on multiple occasions in linen and adult diapers soiled with urine and feces. Her teeth, hair and nails were often left unclean and she even required hospitalization after doctors discovered she was dehydrated.”
In another lawsuit filed back in 2015, an Aegis staffer testified in a deposition that although Aegis used its resident assessment software to determine care points and fees, “it did not use that software to determine staffing levels or in developing the staffing budget for each facility at the corporate level,” court documents state.
Aegis markets itself by purportedly “setting staffing levels based on the amount of resources reasonably required to perform the care tasks needed by the residents as determined by Aegis Senior Communities' assessment procedures, among other things.” However, Aegis residents and their families argue that Aegis does not use such procedures to set staffing at its facilities. Instead, Shanahan’s lawsuit states that Aegis hires staff based on budgets and profit margins, which means less care to those who need it most. And in at least one incident, hospitalization.
Maxine Shanahan paid a community fee of $8,000 and a daily services fees totaling 6,235 a month. Her contract promised a higher level of care when she experienced a higher level of need and this was based on a point system. Mr. Shanahan’s attorney, Kathryn Stebner said in a news release that “The plaintiff brought this case wanting Aegis to adequately disclose the facts about its resident assessments and staffing practices so residents and families can make informed decisions before entering Aegis’s facilities.”
Aegis Profits over People?
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Aegis runs 32 senior living communities in Washington, California and Nevada. Eight new communities are currently under development, according to the company.