Statement of Zena Naiditch Regarding Lincoln
Following testimony provided to the Disabled Community and the Mental Health and Patient Abuse Committees concerning Lincoln Developmental Center, Equip for Equality--as the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy System for the state of Illinois designated by Governor Thompson in 1985, continues to strongly urge Governor Ryan to close Lincoln.
"Today, family members and AFSCME conceded that there are problems at Lincoln, but suggested that these problems arose only recently and that they are imminently correctable. The fact is that Lincoln has a longstanding, problematic history of more than a decade of abuse and neglect resulting in serious injuries and several deaths. The pattern of several recent incidents of abuse and neglect is especially troubling. In March 2001, a resident with PICA behaviors (consuming inedible objects) swallowed pills taken from an employee's purse, his stomach was pumped & he was stabilized. Four months later the same resident died from a drug overdose after accessing a staff members personal medication. Similarly, in April 2001 another resident with PICA behaviors was hospitalized for ingesting a pen cap which required surgery to remove. Three months later that same resident was hospitalized again for ingesting plastic dominoes and required three surgical procedures to remove the game pieces, experienced severe complications, and was hospitalized for an extended period."
"At the hearing, family members and AFSCME contended that Lincoln is a good facility because it offers social and recreational activities and workshops. Active and appropriate treatment requires more than social activities and workshops. Over the past decade, Lincoln has been cited repeatedly for failing to provide active treatment and programming for its residents. The observations of Equip for Equality during unannounced cite visits are consistent with these findings."
"Active treatment designed to meet residents' needs was noticeably absent in the units during our visits. Television--most often turned in to the terrorist crisis--was the major activity provided, although residents were clearly disinterested. Residents were idle, restless, sleeping in their chairs or engaging in self-injurious and maladaptive behaviors such as disrobing or aggressively striking walls. These observations demonstrate that residents are being warehoused at Lincoln."
"Even while Lincoln remained under intense scrutiny and its population was reduced by a third, it failed to prevent the very kind of incidents which previously resulted in the deaths of residents and severe injuries. Incredibly, even during the Governor's recent visit to Lincoln, the staff failed to prevent dangerous behaviors. While the families of Lincoln residents may perceive Lincoln to be a good place, our direct observations and review of substantial documentation demonstrates that this is an illusion," says Naiditch.
"We recognize and acknowledge the concerns expressed by family members regarding the impact which transition to another setting may have upon the Lincoln residents. Even under the best of circumstances, a change in placement is a traumatic event, especially for people who have been long-term residents of a facility. The impact of such change is one of the reasons we urged closure of Lincoln two months ago, so that a reasonable and careful transition process could occur."
For further information, contact Zena Naiditch at 312-341-0022, 800-537-2632 or TTY 800-610-2779.