FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONDAY, JUNE 19, 1995

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE SEEKS INJUNCTION AGAINST DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO ASSURE BASIC CARE AT THE DC VILLAGE NURSING HOME Action Would Hasten Relief for Residents WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today asked a federal court to order the District of Columbia to discontinue dangerous and life-threatening practices and ensure basic care for residents of the D.C. Village Nursing Home. The request for an injunction follows last month's Justice Department suit alleging that the District had violated the constitutional rights of the nearly 300 residents by neglecting to provide adequate care. Today's step was taken after new evidence showed that action is needed in order to protect the lives of residents there. D.C. Village is located in Washington, D.C. and houses individuals with special needs, including the elderly, persons with mental illness and persons with developmental disabilities. The Justice Department papers, filed in U.S. District Court in D.C., alleged that the inadequate care has resulted in serious harm, including preventable amputations and the death of residents. "D.C. Village's substandard care is a threat to the very people who entrust their lives to the care the District provides," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. "The District has been faced with these egregious conditions for some time and has continued to drag its heels in taking the necessary remedial measures." The Department asserted that at times the facility fails to provide adequate food for the residents and lacks essential medical supplies, medication and hot water for bathing. It also asserted that bed-ridden residents are left to sit in their urine and feces for hours. The Department further alleged that at least two residents have died this year from treatable conditions and several others recently had limbs amputated after suffering severe bedsores. According to the Justice Department filing, the District's overreliance on "contract nurses" instead of permanent and reliable staff is resulting in the severe deficiencies. Reports show that contract nurses and vendors are not being paid, resulting in shortages of necessary medical supplies. "We tried to rectify the problems at D.C. Village through a cooperative federal and local effort," said Eric H. Holder, Jr., U.S. Attorney in Washington D.C. "We are disappointed that the District did not voluntarily take the steps needed to assure proper care for the residents of D.C. Village." The Justice Department sought the injunction after receiving numerous declarations from multiple sources -- D.C. Village residents, family members, service providers, advocates and

independent experts which described the conditions at the facility. D.C. Village has been under investigation by the Department since August 1990 under the authority of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). # # # 95-346