SPEEDWAY, Ind. – The office of the Indiana Attorney General says their job is to protect people, especially vulnerable populations.
That’s why they say they’re going after a woman accused of putting health, safety and even lives at risk by violating the rules of her license.
Attorney General Curtis Hill’s office alleges Cynthia Jones’ actions led to years of significant health and safety issues at Roland Retirement Club, an assisted living facility in Speedway.
“Every day or every other day we’d see an ambulance and a fire truck over there and everything, constantly,” said Zelda Armstrong, who lives across the street from the facility.
She saw problems there long before it shut down last November. There were 29 residents in the facility when it abruptly closed.
“Even these people with scooters and wheelchairs out here at dark, riding in the street and everything they were,” said Armstrong. “They were not watching or taking care of them.”
Armstrong says she saw neglect up close when her cousin and a friend lived there.
State health department inspection reports shows years of records substantiating her claims. Violations ranged from unsecured hand rails inside shower stalls, to having no employees with first aid certification and mouse droppings on tables where cooks prepared and stored food.
“We were very concerned about the conditions that were noted there and is why we investigated this,” said Deputy Attorney General Aaron Negangard.
Their investigation led them to file a complaint against the license of Cynthia Jones, the supposed health facility administrator for Roland.
According to the AG’s complaint, Jones was hardly ever here as early as 2015, but continued to let the owner use her license.
“You can’t do that for reasons like this because now we have a situation where the people who were using the license weren’t really doing a good job and left some pretty deplorable conditions,” said Negangard.
One of the final straws, officials say, was a dead resident’s body being found covered in cockroaches.
While the AG’s office says this should never happen, they acknowledge this isn’t the only facility not up to snuff. They recommend people do their homework before choosing a place.
“You know, you’re finding a home for them,” said Negangard. “You don’t want to go to the first or cheapest place that may be available.”
Here are the Attorney Negangard’s tips for finding a facility for your loved one:
- Check the Indiana State Department of Health’s search tool for annual reports on the condition of the care facility and investigations into any complaints to see whether they have an abundance of substantiated claims against them.
- Ask the facility for their business license and the license information for the health facility administrator. Then search the Professional Licensing Agency’s tool to see if the licenses are up-to-date.
- If you have trouble finding the license or ensuring it’s active, contact the Attorney General’s Office. They can help ascertain the status of a license.
- Talk to friends of loved ones who have used long-term care facilities to learn which are the best and which to stay away from.
- If your family member is going straight from the hospital to a residence, ask hospital employees, especially social workers for recommendations. They will know which places are affordable and nice and which have significant, ongoing issues.