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The Evanston Police Department received 113 nonemergency and 911 calls over a recent 10-week period from Albany Care, an Evanston mental health facility that treats individuals with mental illnesses. Most of the calls regarded missing persons, battery and theft, reflecting concerns voiced by neighbors of the facility, located at 901 Maple Ave. 

Three Albany Care residents interviewed by the RoundTable complained of inadequate staff levels. At a Fourth Ward meeting Dec. 8, Megan Marker, a social worker who works for S.I.R. Management, said the facility meets state staffing standards. (Photo provided)

The facility, which currently houses 300 residents but can house up to 417, is regulated and licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Albany Care’s website promises “an environment conducive to recovery.” However, individuals living at Albany Care complain of a culture of neglect, disorganization and unprofessionalism. They say the facility is understaffed and doesn’t provide sufficient care to all its residents.

Located near Grey Park in the 4th Ward, Albany Care has recently gained the attention of its neighbors, who say they worry that the facility is connected to an uptick in aggressive and antisocial behavior in the area.

While neighbors worry about safety outside the facility, data from the Evanston Police Department indicates that these concerns are felt within the facility as well. 

Frequent police calls

According to data the RoundTable recently acquired, the police received 113 nonemergency and 911 calls from within the facility between Sept. 19 and Nov. 30, an average of 1½ times a day.

In recent years, this volume of calls is not unusual for the facility. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 19, the police received 281 calls from Albany Care. In 2020, the police received 506 calls, and in 2019, it received 334. This is significantly higher than the number of calls received in 2018 and 2017, which totaled 124 and 100, consecutively. 

Looking at the 113 calls made recently, 40 were classified as missing person calls. According to the Illinois Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities Code, Albany Care must file a report every time a resident is missing for more than 24 hours, and this involves a call to the police. 

Of the other calls, the police classified 12 as battery, six as theft or robbery, six as involuntary committal and four as well-being checks. One call involved a sex-offense investigation and another was for indecent exposure. 

Fourth Ward City Council member Jonathan Nieuwsma said he wants to work with Albany Care to help improve the quality of life inside and outside the facility. He is active on a Grey Park Community Facebook page and has been hosting community meetings, at which he provides updates.

In October, Albany Care responded to the concerns raised by Nieuwsma and the community with a plan of engagement, which outlined commitments the facility said it will make to its residents and the neighborhood. One of the commitments involved the hiring of a new executive director, Stacy Seals, who started Oct. 25.

Seals responded to the RoundTable’s inquiries about staffing levels and whether the needs of the residents are met. “We at Albany Care meet the needs of our residents and have adequate medical, psychiatric and support staff,” she said in a statement. 

The RoundTable interviewed three residents at Albany Care. Each of them disagreed with Seals’ statement and complained of inadequate staff levels, mistreatment of residents and inconsistent administration of medications.

Getting ‘worse and worse and worse’

Peter Basquin has lived in Albany Care for more than 2½ years and said the facility has changed drastically since his arrival.

“It’s gotten worse,” said Basquin. “Every day it gets worse and worse and worse.” He said when he first arrived, he enjoyed spending time in Grey Park, and he felt respected by the administrators. Now, Basquin avoids the park due to frequent drug use there, and he doesn’t feel safe inside the facility. Basquin, who is Asian, said there are staff members who have harassed and racially profiled the residents, himself included.

Basquin said he believes a change occurred within the facility shortly before the pandemic when it started accepting individuals on probation or parole.

Some residents say the showers are filthy, this image shows a message residents scraped in the grime to get staff to clean up. (Photo provided)

One case manager, who requested anonymity, represents individuals in mental health facilities including Albany Care and also works with several such facilities in Illinois. She said that many such places treat their residents poorly. According to clients she has served at Albany Care, the facility’s administrators are “very unresponsive and dismissive.”

S.I.R. Management, Albany Care’s consultant organization, provides services for many Illinois mental health facilities, including Greenwood Care,1406 Chicago Ave.

In a statement to the RoundTable responding to this claim, S.I.R. Management Senior Vice President Megan Marker wrote, “Each facility that we consult for is individually owned and responsible for the care that they provide.”

S.I.R. Management stands by the healthcare decisions made by the individual facilities, Marker wrote. Though some clients face difficult challenges during their recovery, S.I.R. Management hears success stories on a daily basis about residents who have returned to normal lives after leaving a mental health facility, she added. 

“The care and wellbeing of the residents at every facility that we consult for is our highest priority,” Marker wrote. 

The case manager said Albany Care stands out from the other S.I.R. Management facilities because it is so much bigger. It is important that the facility’s residents have a place to live, and for that reason, Albany Care plays a crucial role, the case manager said. Without the facility, these individuals might be homeless, she added. However, the facility needs to do its job properly and provide its residents with appropriate care, she said. 

“The staff needs to be better trained,” said the case manager. “And they need to be more actively engaged with each resident.”

Another advocate for individuals in long-term care facilities, who also requested anonymity, was particularly concerned with the administration of medicine at Albany Care. A geriatric care manager, she primarily works with nursing homes, though one of her longtime clients is a resident who has lived at Albany Park for 23 years.

Some residents and care managers say the administration of medicine at Albany Care has been inconsistent. (Photo provided)

Since mid-October, the administering of medicine has been inconsistent at times, said the geriatric care manager. She said she believes this is due to a nursing shortage after some nurses quit that month. In addition, there is currently no Director of Nursing, although the facility has identified an individual who will assume that position at an unknown date.

Basquin also said he thinks there aren’t enough nurses in the facility, and that’s why residents sometimes are given their medication at odd times.

Marker, the S.I.R. Management social worker, spoke about staffing levels at a Dec. 8 4th Ward meeting. She said the facility meets the staffing standards set by the Illinois Department of Public Health, which are determined using a formula involving the number of residents, and the care they need. The formula is detailed in the Illinois SMHRF Code, which outlines the standards facilities must follow.

Marker added despite meeting state health standards, the facility has been trying to fill vacancies for the past year and a half, and salary rates have been raised twice within the last six months.

A statement written by the city of Evanston’s Community Services Manager Audrey Thompson and shared with the RoundTable on Nov. 28 stated that the Evanston Health and Human Services Department was unable to confirm how many nurses are in the building. “However, we question whether staffing levels are adequate to really meet the needs of the consumers [residents],” the statement read.

Basquin said he is afraid to speak up about Albany Care for fear of staff retaliation. This may include marking a resident’s file with information that isn’t true or placing the person on unfair restrictions, he said. 

For some time, resident Christopher Neubauer said he was restricted from leaving the building except to attend appointments. Neubauer said the restriction was lifted this week after he had spent weeks urging staff members to provide him with more information.

Neubauer is recovering from alcoholism and suspects that staff and administrators placed him on the restriction to keep him from going to the liquor store. He said he is motivated to stay sober and thought the restriction was unnecessary.

He added if he had really wanted alcohol, he could easily have found it inside the facility. Residents have no problem sneaking alcohol into Albany Care, where they store it under their beds, he said.

According to Seals, alcohol is not allowed within the facility. Albany Care has policies to address individuals found with illicit substances, she wrote in her statement. 

Neubauer said his mental well-being has declined significantly since he arrived at the facility in February 2021, and was particularly bad when he couldn’t go outside. “A lot of people here see [Albany Care] as a death sentence, or like they’re in jail,” he said. 

“Amanda,” a pseudonym for another resident who prefers to remain unidentified, said the facility offers no support for trauma victims. She said she feels neglected and stripped of her rights in Albany Care, though she thinks the facility’s failings are indicative of the larger mental health system. 

Inconsistent administration of medicine

Basquin said one of his primary concerns is the sporadic administration of medicine. On a morning in mid-November, residents on Basquin’s floor were awakened at 4 a.m. to receive their morning medication, which is usually taken at 8:30 a.m, he said. A couple of days later they received no afternoon medication, he added, and for a couple of days, they didn’t receive their medication at all. 

Residents at Albany Care suffer from serious mental and physical illnesses and require medicine for conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, schizophrenia, epilepsy and bipolar disorder. “This is a life or death situation,” said Basquin.

The geriatric care manager, whose client has also noted the inconsistent administration of medicine, said some antipsychotic medications only last for 12 hours, so when residents miss their regular medication, their mental health and behavior are affected. 

The second case manager said she also had a client at Albany Care who didn’t receive his medication in a timely manner. He moved into the facility about three months ago and left after two weeks. During that time, he never met with a psychiatrist and did not receive his medication, she said.

The statement shared by the Evanston Health and Human Services Department on Nov. 28 states that complaints about the inconsistency of medication administration were also made to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, a City of Evanston program that protects those who live in longterm care facilities by working with the facility’s staff and responding to residents’ complaints.

However, without being present during medication administration, the Health Department is unable to confirm whether this is true, the statement read. 

Seals, the new executive director, denies that medication delivery to residents is irregular. “All residents at Albany Care are given the correct medication at intervals set by their psychiatrist or doctor,” she wrote in her statement. “The proper delivery of medication to our residents is very important and is highly regulated by Illinois law.”

Both the geriatric care manager and Basquin said they filed a complaint with Illinois Department of Public Health regarding the administration of medicine. Basquin said he and several other residents met with someone from IDPH who told them the Department will keep a close eye on the situation. 

The geriatric care manager said the department followed up with her in a letter, saying it was working on the situation. Since Thanksgiving, she said, things have gotten a little better for her client, who has since received her daily medication. 

‘There’s nothing to do in the building

A resident photographed moldy fruit that was served at Albany Care. (Photo provided)

Both the geriatric care manager and the case manager say there is also a lack of programming at the facility. 

“There’s nothing to do in the building,” said the geriatric care manager. “You’ve got all these pent-up folks, they’re not medically managed, you’re going to have more behavioral issues.”

Residents at a facility like Albany Care should be supported and spend their time productively, said the case manager. She said she didn’t think the facility offered enough activities and case managers were encouraging residents to participate in a structured day.

“Hanging out of the park all day is not an acceptable way to spend your day when you’re in recovery,” said the case manager. Residents should be in a combination of therapeutic groups and psycho-social groups, to help them build healthy relationships and improve their quality of life.

Staff members need to check in with residents daily and actively engage with them, the case manager added. This should be a requirement, she added. 

Albany Care offered many classes and activities before the pandemic that her client regularly attended, said the geriatric care manager, but the facility halted those classes as a COVID-19 prevention measure and hasn’t re-started them. 

In her statement, Seals wrote: “Albany Care is a community. As such, there are many programs and activities that residents participate [in].” She added that some events and activities have been suspended due to the pandemic, but the available activities include Bingo, holiday parties and classes covering aggression management, financial skills, body awareness, community re-integration, social skills, creative self-expression, relaxation and meditation, strategic thinking, problem-solving, self-care practices and life skills.

When asked about these activities, Neubauer said if they’re really happening, they aren’t well promoted. The locations for activities also change without notice, so it’s hard to find out where they take place, he said. He added that there are very few activities that actually communicate to residents that administrators care about their well-being and that the facility doesn’t set goals for him.

Albany Care: ‘Everyone deserves the opportunity to heal’

In her statement, Seals confirmed that Albany Care accepts individuals with a criminal background and added the facility doesn’t discriminate against anyone on the basis of their prior interactions with law enforcement. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to heal and become functioning members of society,” she wrote. 

Basquin said he thinks some of the new residents with criminal backgrounds aren’t trying very hard to get better. He said he wonders whether it’s conducive to have them living alongside people with mental illnesses who are looking to get help.

The geriatric care manager said her client feels less safe now than she did before, and she is grateful that her bedroom door has a lock. There’s a younger population now at Albany Care who don’t seem to have anything to do, and have more addiction issues, she said.

The other case manager said most of the facilities she works with do not accept individuals with criminal records. “People with criminal records that are mentally ill do need a place to live, it just needs to be a stronger facility, not a weaker facility,” she said.  

Resident reports increased drug use

Since the new residents arrived, Basquin said drug use has increased, especially in Grey Park. He said drugs and alcohol are also used inside the facility, particularly marijuana, which is legal in Illinois but illegal in facilities like Albany Care.

“Drug and alcohol use is not permitted inside Albany Care,” Seals wrote in her statement. However, some residents have substance use disorders, and when the disorder becomes problematic, the individual is referred to an outside substance abuse treatment facility, her statement read.

According to Seals, the facility hosts Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, for residents. However, treatment is optional and staff cannot force anyone into treatment.

Neubauer said many residents smoke marijuana. Crack and cocaine are also popular within the facility. Basquin said he recently returned to his room to find his roommate smoking crack.

In addition to drug and alcohol use, some residents steal from the local shops, break windows, stalk neighbors and inappropriately expose themselves, said Basquin. 

At a 4th Ward meeting on Dec. 8, Evanston police Officer Mike Jones spoke about an Albany Care resident who was reportedly masturbating in front of Main Street businesses on several occasions. The investigation is ongoing, Jones said.

Neighbors attending the 4th Ward meeting also described aggressive panhandling near Grey Park. The family-care advocate said she also noticed the panhandling. The residents’ time should be spent in such a way that they don’t have the option to spend time panhandling, she said. 

The case manager said she had a client living in housing provided by Impact Behavioral Health Partners, a nonprofit organization in Evanston that provides housing and support to adults with mental illness. Her client befriended some Albany Care residents but ended up getting robbed by his new friends, she said. 

The case manager said she filed a complaint with S.I.R. Management and even sent a video of Albany Care residents standing outside the building holding her client’s possessions, but nothing ever happened, she said.

‘There are absolutely no consequences

Residents who severely injured their peers often face few consequences, said Basquin. A little over a year ago, one of his roommates threw him against a bathroom door handle, slashing the skin over his eye, he said. Basquin said he went to the hospital to get stitches, and when he returned five hours later, his roommate was still in the room. The following day his roommate was moved to a different room on the same floor, Basquin said.

“Why would you let someone that has physically hurt another peer come back into the facility?” said Basquin. 

Individuals at Albany Care have been badly harmed by other residents, Basquin said, but according to data provided by the Evanston Police Department, there have been only seven battery arrests in the last five years.

Basquin said he also knows of one resident who burned his girlfriend’s arm with a cigarette, and when she returned from the hospital, he was still there. She discharged herself because she was afraid of him, he said. “There are absolutely no consequences,” he added. 

Any severe physical altercations must be reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health within 24 hours, and then thoroughly investigated, Seals said in her statement. Residents deemed to be a threat to staff or other residents are transferred to a different facility, she wrote. If a resident commits a crime, that crime is reported to the police, she added. 

“If a resident must be removed from Albany Care, we follow a mandated state process,” Seals wrote. “We are unable to remove any individual without going through the required state process which also provides the opportunity for the resident in question to appeal their discharge.”

The Evanston Health and Human Service Department explained this process in more detail in its Nov. 28 statement to the RoundTable: there are only a few reasons a resident would be discharged from a facility like Albany Care, including nonpayment, not meeting the facility’s criteria, posing a threat to others or if the facility ceases operation without appropriate notice. 

Even with one of these reasons, residents must be provided with an involuntary discharge notice or a 30-day notice to leave, the Department explained. The resident also has the option to request a hearing to review the circumstances surrounding the discharge, and an administrative law judge through the state health department then decides whether the resident stays or goes, the statement read.

Basquin said seeing a resident who has physically harmed another walk the hallways as if nothing happened is intimidating, and makes him fear for his own safety. 

Some residents report discrimination, harassment

Basquin said there is a staff member who works at the facility’s front desk who repeatedly threatens him and uses offensive Asian slurs. Basquin said he filed a complaint with the state health department in early October and has since received a letter saying the state is investigating the incident but that this investigation could take months.

The complaint was intended to be anonymous, but Basquin said a staff member discovered he had filed it. Basquin said the staff member told him days later to “go back to his country.” The staff member also threatened Basquin, saying if they ever met outside the facility, he would “beat the living shit” out of him, according to Basquin.

Basquin said the staff member still makes derogatory comments to him.

“Harassment of any kind is not tolerated,” Seals wrote in her statement. “There are no corroborated complaints made against any of our staff.” She added that anyone can file a grievance and all grievances made directly to the facility are thoroughly investigated.

The city’s Health and Human Services Department wrote that different residents have different definitions of the word harassment, and what a resident is experiencing may not fit the legal definition of the word. The city’s Ombudsman program receives complaints about staff from all facilities at some point or another, the statement read. 

The goal is not to focus on the term harassment, but rather to make sure the resident doesn’t feel mistreated, the Health and Human Services Department said.

In addition to harassment, Neubauer said there are men within the facility who prostitute female residents in order to buy drugs. Amanda said she has seen women in the facility turn to prostitution for money. She also knows of a woman who reported rape to Albany Care staff. Amanda said she doesn’t know of any investigation that occurred after the woman made her report, and she heard later that the rapist assaulted another woman. “Sexual harassment is the norm, especially among the younger females,” she said.

Data shared by the Evanston Police Department show that on Oct. 26, a call regarding a sex offense investigation was made to the police from within Albany Care.

Moving out is challenging

Neubauer has applied to several sober living homes and plans to move if a spot opens up. He hopes to leave Albany Care within the next few weeks if conditions don’t improve.

Basquin is also motivated to leave the facility and is looking for his own apartment through Albany Care’s Moving On program, which helps residents find an apartment and pays for the first three months of rent. However, Basquin is ineligible for the program until he receives Social Security and disability benefits. 

Amanda dreams of relocating to a facility in Colorado that she said is healing-oriented and provides more recreational opportunities and therapeutic programs for residents.

Many of the residents in Albany Care have experiences that reflect those of Amanda, Neubauer and Basquin, they said. Basquin said he is advocating on behalf of these residents, who just want a safe place to live and heal. He hopes things will get better soon. “It can’t get any worse,” he added.

Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...

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  1. I wanted to update the situation at Albany Care. The nursing staff and medication distribution has been rectified. They are still short staffed. The drug issues have significantly increased. They seem to not care about the safety of other Consumers when it comes to safety. As far as I know; no consumer has been repremanded on drug use, distribution and posetion. I’ve asked staff why they continue to Allow Marijuana and Crack to continue to be used in this environment. Their response is that Marijuana is legal in the state. They continue to admit residents with a Criminal Background. Violent Consumers are still allowed to reside in the facility. They are making improvements to the interior of the facility. In my humble opinion anyone caught or acting under the influence must take a drug test and also receive a 30 day notice. If they implement this; drug activity should decrease. I haven’t had a counselor for over two months. They are required to have two per floor by State Regulations. I will update in a few weeks regarding the unprofessional lack here.

  2. So the Executive Director at Albany Care is gone. Get your Shit together Albany, before you kill another Resident! What is it a race to see who shuts down first? You or Sister home Greenwood Care! Pathetic

  3. I moved here two months ago. I’m not getting my medication on time. I ended up in the hospital. The staff are extremely rude and yell at me. I’ve asked to move to a different facility. I have received absolutely no help. I feel trapped. My roommates drink and smoke in the room. Staff doesn’t do anything. I’m only 20 years old and have never felt this type of anxiety. Why or how does a facility like this get away with this unprofessional and inexcusable way they “run” the facility. There’s always turmoil going on. I asked to move to a different room. They told me that they are full and no bed available.. I know that they are lying to me. How do I get help? Is this Round Table assist in anyway to get my respect as a resident? My father and mother were killed in a car accident and now I am here. Absolutely no Empathy. I have no siblings or family to go to. My Psychiatrist has mentioned to staff about the medication. Since then I have not had Medication for morning and evening at times. Not all the time but more often. I hope that you can help me.

  4. I thought that I should post
    this information regarding Albany Care. I’ve lived here for almost three years. I still haven’t had a Care Plan. That’s supposed to be updated every three months. They do hire MHPS/Care Managers. None of them stay very long. At the present there’s only two MHPS on staff. That doesn’t even come close to what IDPH and the State requires. The Nursing Staff has improved since my last comment. But, people are still receiving their Medication not on time or not at all. The MHP is also responsible for helping me get my benefits. I have asked multiple times to help me with my Benefits. I have yet had any response nor any assistance with benefits. I am not the only person not receiving their benefits; due to the utter lack of professionalism and employees. I hope that things get better here. Albany Care Continues to allow convicts to Reside here. In fact, it appears that the majority of the New admits have a Criminal Record. Yes everyone deserves a second chance.. But the majority of the unruly Consumers are residents on Probation and Parole. This makes the Consumers who have lived here over ten years feel unsafe. In addition to I know of two different instances over the past month; a Consumer physically hurt another Consumer and continues to be allowed to remain here. This type of environment does affect Consumers peace of mind.
    Yes, a few things have gotten better in regards to medication management. They still need to Hire more Nurses. Some nurses are still working double shift. Then come in the next day and work another shift. I was given wrong Medication multiple times. I always check what pills they give me. Good news is that the Consumers haven’t done any vandalism lately.

  5. I am a current resident at Albany Care. Over the past year; the facility is seriously lacking support for me and my friends. I have yet to receive a Consumer Handbook. I was supposed to receive one within 24 hours after admission. I have already been here for a year and a few months. I have also not had a Care Plan. By State Law and IDPH, I am supposed to have one every 90 days. I feel extremely neglected and mistreated. I’m not planning to Reside here for a long time. Some Consumers tell me that the reason why they don’t help me; is because they want to fill the facility to it’s Maximum Capacity. I have asked staff for assistance with attaining my benefits. SSI and SSDI. They tell me to hire an attorney who specializes in benefits…I just don’t understand why this Continues. Over the past year.. Albany Care allows more “criminals” to Reside here. A majority of the New admits are on Parole or Probation. I approached the Administration and they stated..”We will and continue to allow Criminals to Reside here. I’ve spoken to many Consumers how they feel about living with criminals. Most stated that over the past year; they are concerned about their “well being and safety” Usually when the Police are called is because a Convict has made a disturbance at the facility. Since I have lived here I have only witnessed an arrest.
    I will continue to Reside here. I just think that the staffing issues and support and safety here are way “behind the eighth ball. Hopefully this will improve.. This facility should make sure that the residents feel safe and cared about. Thanks for posting this. It should be “Public” knowledge what’s going on behind closed doors at Albany Care.

  6. I’m extremely concerned about what is going on with Albany Care and it’s Residents. I have a close friend who has lived there for about a year. She used to have an MHP also known as a Case Worker. There’s been five different Case Workers that have been assigned to her. She has been trying to get her benefits. She’s concerned that Albany Care doesn’t want Residents to receive their benefits. The reason why she is there is because she’s involved with the ” Moving On Program” which has a protocol for benefits. She’s has anxiety and is also Bipolar. Absolutely nothing has been done in regards to her benefits. She’s been at sometimes feels Neglected. Even some of her friends also are having the same problem getting their benefits. Also, Albany Care is extremely short staffed. They don’t even have enough staff to meet the State of Illinois requirements. IDPH, Illinois Department of Public Health has had multiple Complaints from the Residents. My friend told me that currently there’s no Case Manager assigned to her. This makes her extremely neglected. In addition to the so called MHPS shortage.. She’s has been sporadically received her medication. This is happening because of nursing staff shortage. A few days since the past month; she didn’t receive any medication for two days. I’ve spoken to Staff at Albany Care and they deny the shortage of Nurses. She also has diabetes.. There’s been times that she couldn’t even do a blood sugar test. Yesterday, she called me and asked if she could move to a better facility. We are trying to with the Administration Staff to provide Adequate Support and Housing. Some of the people I spoke to ” Albany Care” Continues to say.. We are Working on it. Since they changed the Administration Staff.. It’s obviously has made it more difficult to receive the proper care and support. If it’s called ALBANY CARE.. WHERE IS MY FRIEND GETTING ANY CARE!!

  7. I’m not sure what to comment on regarding Albany Care. My son has had multiple issues at Albany regarding his Religion. My son is Jewish. Residents harass him about his Religion.
    Staff doesn’t intervene or tells him “it’s freedom of speech”; why does this be allowed at Albany Care? My wife and I decided to send him to Albany Care from the good reviews online. The website gave us incentive to send him to Albany Care. Absolutely Nothing is correct on the Intro “Film” for Albany Care online. This Intro is definitely outdated. There’s no workout facility, no computer lab, no library, no proper food for him; regarding his Religion. How does ALBANY CARE get away with this? My son “suffers” from bipolar and acute Anxiety. He’s talked to me about ending his life.. I called Albany Care multiple times and they HANG UP ON ME. Luckily they finally sent him to the hospital. This would not have occurred if staff would have intervene. He recently was readmitted. He attempted to talk to his Case Worker. While he was in the hospital; his Case Worker no longer works there. There’s no Case Worker on his floor. I’ve tried multiple times to talk to the DON (Director of Nursing).
    She tells me to talk to his Case Worker. There’s absolutely no Professionalism and Empathy towards my son. We are working on having him transferred to another facility. The staff has not been helping us decide on a new facility. He was told that they will be more receptive to his basic needs. Especially free of verbal Abuse. Only time will tell. My wife and I are planning on attending the next Round Table Meeting. The Administration Staff at Albany Care needs to be more receptive towards the residents.

  8. I moved to this facility.. Albany Care from a different Nursing Home. I made an extremely bad choice. The staff are unprofessional and rude. The front desk”yells” at us and the visitors. My Cousin came to visit me and was yelled at. I ask for help/ assistance and in the majority of the issues regarding my mental health is over looked. Nurse’s are constantly being overwhelmed. Administration won’t change anything. I recently ordered a pizza from Little Caesars and the delivery driver was told not to enter the building. My roommate has not to my knowledge has taken a shower in over a month! This is totally unhealthy for me. Staff wouldn’t intervene. Also, they open my mail. My family mailed me an Obituary for a friend of mine. The staff opened my mail.. Isn’t this against the law? There’s absolutely no “structure” here. The elevators are constantly not in service. There’s way to much drug activity here. I was told by many friends that Administration Staff doesn’t care about illegal activity. At least I can visit my family during the day. They have asked multiple times to Staff to provide Adequate Support and Housing.. They constantly have an EXCUSE. “We are working on it..” I think that the State of Illinois needs to get involved with some serious issues. I don’t feel safe.. To Many flights Daily inside the facility. My opinion is that it’s mainly staff issue and Responsibility to make this facility a safe and positive place to live. The new administration has yet to “,prove” to me and my family that they are following the Laws.

  9. I’m writing this to hopefully Albany Care will be taken care of some issues. I have a family member who has moved about a year ago to Albany Care. She was originally from Greenwood Care in Evanston IL. She was told that Albany Care has a better resident to staff ratio. This is definitely not the truth. Inside the facility; there is bed bugs, lice, and cockroaches. She also told me that it seems that elevators are not working properly most of the time. She can’t climb the stairs. The front desk usually tells her to take the stairs with help from the Nurses. Why can’t the front desk help her? She’s also afraid of some younger residents that who are verbally abusive to her and the elderly. She’s asked multiple times to fix these Issues. She’s had multiple case workers aka MHPs. She calls me CRYING. She feels neglected and mistreated. There’s Absolutely no positive communication between her and staff. She suffers from acute depression. I’ve called multiple times and always get the run around… I’m trying to have her transfer to another facility. Staff wouldn’t even help her with this. I am not sure what if anything the Round Table can do for her. Somone stole some property from her. Staff wouldn’t help her with this. There’s video cameras all over the facility. Are they utilizing them. Also, she stated that at Greenwood Care there’s more Structure. Helpful groups. Currently she tells me that the only group is morning stretch and current events. There’s bingo often.. She didn’t come to Albany Care for bingo. She’s been trying to get benefits. She feels neglected and mistreated. I hope that things will change for the better. This facility should resolve these concerns. My family member also tells me that she’s not the only elderly resident who feels being mistreated and neglected.

  10. Absolutely Nothing has been done! I’ve filed multiple Complaints about a front desk/ park security employee at ALBANY CARE. Other Consumers have filed Complaint Forms regarding the same employee. This ultimately has been affecting the “Moral” of the Consumers.

    Today I overheard him telling an elderly woman that he won’t get her a second “helping”. This is inexcusable. Albany Care needs to implement a better way to provide Adequate Support and Empathy towards the Consumer.

    I personally talked to her. I got her a second tray. Imagine if this happend to you or a loved one? She is afraid of Retaliation and Safety from the employee.

    Would you contact Administration? Neglect happens multiple times a day.

    I asked him politely to be more proffessional towards the Consumer. He stated that I shouldn’t get into other people business.

    I would mention his name, but since ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE REGARDING THESE ISSUES. Administration has “proven” and many other Consumers that filling out grievance forms are futile.

    I also understand that Evanston Round Table is working with Albany Care to improve ALL ASPECTS OF THE NEGLECT, PATIENTS RIGHTS, VANDALISM, KEEPING PHYSICALLY HARMFUL CONSUMERS TO ALLOW TO RESIDE AT THE FACILITY, …

    This ultimately will affect the safety of the neighborhood and Business. Crime will always be in an SMRH But, Albany Care is “FAILING”.

    In my humble opinion. ALBANY CARE IS ABOUT KEEPING ALL THE BEDS “FULL”.

    YES they have hired more MHPS and Staff.

    Let’s see what happens when the next Round Table Meeting is held.

    In addition to the Complaints..

    1. Maintenance Employees
    2. House Keeping Employees
    3. Food Services Employees
    4. Front Desk Employees

    Are doing well!! Just keeping an Employee that Continues to be extremely unprofessional can and total lack of communication to Staff and especially Consumers leads to bad reviews on the Internet.

    Multiple times the same employee has yelled at me stating “GO TO YOUR ROOM!!!!’ Treating me like a “Child” Other Consumers are told the same thing.

    He could ask politely.. Instead he CONTINUES TO NEGLECT THE CONSUMERS.

    Again it’s not my intention to put the Blame on any specific Staff.

    I “run” past the front desk to avoid his Racial Comments and Verbal Threats. I’m terrified of him.. This WILL NOT affect my peace of mind.

    Thank you Evanston Round Table for getting involved in making Albany Care a better place to live and alleviate some concerns for the neighborhood.

  11. At Albany Care there seems that there’s absolutely no consequences when a crime is committed “inside the building”.

    I recently just found out that a Consumer was Assulted and Battery. The Consumer who commited Assult and Battery is STILL a Resident.

    Assult and Battery are”two” different acts of crime.

    Assult doesn’t end in bodily harm. Battery is a physical harm.

    Again Albany Care is not “protecting” the Consumers.

    In my humble opinion, it appears that Albany Care has no forethought: for the safety and security of the Consumers.

    Going in the other direction. If a Consumer does battery to a Staff Member: immediately discharged.

    That’s not an Involuntary discharge.. Albany Care MUST protect the Consumers.

    I also have ” heard” that a female was “raped” at Albany Care. As of today: 1/23/22… Nothing was done yet.

    What If .. These the battery becomes an agravated Battery? That could be a serious problem.

    What would you do if a Loved one or family member was a Consumer at Albany Care??

    The Nursing Staff is getting better. We now have a Director of Nursing. DON.

    This should alleviate the missed dosage for the Consumers.

    There’s still way too few “Groups” Consumers have to much time on their hands.

    WHY does ALBANY CARE continue to allow Consumers who are a threat to Staff and Consumers; Reside at Albany Care.

    Albany Care should find a better place for these ” Violent” people.

    I’ve witnessed Police arrive and absolutely nothing is done. I would “assume”that the victim is afraid of Retaliation ( from Staff).

    I Care about the Consumers who Reside at Albany Care. So, Albany Care needs to ” step up” and start applying more consequences.

    There used to be these Groups which “helped” Consumers.

    1. Anger Management

    2. Stress Management

    3. MISA

    4. Medication Management

    5. Creative Writing

    6. Physical and Nutrition

    8. Working with Your Care Plan

    9. Outside Activities

    These meetings/groups definitely helped and “guided” the Consumers who attended the groups.

    There’s an incentive to attend groups. The Consumer has the group leader sign and date the attendance.

    Everytime a Consumer goes to a group they get their sheet signed. Every TWO weeks.. The Consumer takes the sheet to the Token Store to get snacks; ECT.

    These groups are NOT MANDATORY.

    A plethora of Consumers want and NEED TO HAVE THESE GROUPS START IMMEDIATELY.

    Nothing changes if NOTHING CHANGES.

  12. The staff either quit or they are uninformed, or don’t have time to help. I need more structure. The Residents ask me questions and I wish I could help.

  13. I am writing another review for the Unprofessional Staff at Albany Care.

    On Saturday, January 15th.. There was no MHP in the facility all day and night.

    This is against State Laws for an SMRH. The Administration must have a minimum of 15 hours a week to support the Consumers. Currently, there’s only two MHPS working here.

    Their Consumer Handbook is outdated. Consumers continually are neglected, mistreated, and mentally put down in several occasions.

    The Salary for MHPS start at $20 an hour.. Since I have been here I’ve lost count of how many MHPS I have been assigned to.

    The main reason why I “put up” with the NEGLECT and Verbally Abuse; I’m still waiting for my SSI Benefits. Once I get approved; I can work with the Moving On Program. This helps to find an apartment and support outside of Albany Care.
    I will continue to ADVOCATE for my fellow PEERS. They are extremely afraid to put in a Complaint- these are filled out and hand delivered to Administration. They are afraid of Retaliation from Staff.

    There’s continually a shortage of Nurses. Three days ago; one floor didn’t receive their evening Medication..

    I’m staying positive about the situation. It’s even worse than a week before.

    Staff wouldn’t let me visit my family. This is totally Unacceptable. This was on Saturday.

    The only person that can approve this: is from a MHP.

    Well, since they had no MHP on Saturday.. I couldn’t visit with my Brother, Niece and Nephews.

    This is in my humble opinion.. Is NEGLECT.

  14. Over the weekend the Nurse didn’t give me my afternoon and evening Meds. (Saturday)

    I went to visit my family. All I asked was for her to give me my afternoon and evening Meds.

    She told me to ask my MHP. There was no MHPS all Saturday. I explained this to her. She neglected ME. She didn’t even know that the MHP on the fourth floor had quit. That shows an utter lack of communication.

    Further more; she documented that I refused my medication.
    That’s a blatent lie. All she needed to do was give me my Medication.

    Basically she didn’t do her job. It would have been the same as not having a Nurse on Staff.

    I understand if a Consumer ask for an Overnight pass; the MHPS; will tell the nurse to give the Consumers their Medication.

    That’s Not the case for me
    I didn’t stay the night. I was back before the curfew.

    And last time I went to the Hospital is because, I didn’t get
    my medication for Over 72 hours. I have several Witnesses to confirm this.

    In my humble opinion… Next time I leave to visit my family, I will give the New MHP a 24 hour notice. That way there should be absolutely no EXCUSE for me to receive my Medication.

    I’m releasing this information.
    If any staff ever discloses my medical records; ECT. It’s a breach of HIPPA Laws.

    I and other Consumers deserve to have a more structured schedule. The postings on all floors state several groups.

    The information on the”flier” even lists MHP who will “run”
    the group. This “flier” even shows MHPS who doesn’t even work at Albany Care.. Also,
    it never states what floor and room to be held.

    Finally, I received a Resident Handbook. It’s also outdated. I was supposed to get one within 24 hour’s after my admission.

    I have also NEVER given a Care Plan. That’s part of the Responsibility for Staff.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Mr. Peter Basquin

  15. Albany Care has gotten a bit better. I will continue to ADVOCATE for Consumers.

    Yesterday, I was introduced to the new MHP ( Mental Health Professional) for the fourth floor.

    I was also introduced to the new (Public Relation) Employee.

    Albany Care Continues to allow Racial Comments to Consumers. Also, some are talking about being “neglected”. Without proper care…. i.e. MHP staffing and Nurse shortage. In addition to very few groups that will definitely help and assist the Consumers.

    I will continue to Reside at Albany Care. I’m with the Moving on Program. I’m waiting for the paperwork for this process.

    Let’s all work together. I understand why certain Employees quit. I won’t disclose any names.

    I appreciate the Round Table regarding Albany Care.

    I have Empathy for the local residents and businesses in the fourth Ward.

    I’ll write another update on this Website, when I think it would be helpful to the Consumers/Evanston Residents
    Evanston Business/Albany Care Employees.

  16. As a 4 year resident at Albany, I have witnessed a pronouned culture of neglect, where the most vulnerable people are not only systematically deprived of essential psychiatric services but are than blamed for the very consequences of this neglect. The new director prioritizes the maximization of profit over nursing home needs, such as timely administered medication, ethically and competently trained nurses, and proper staff/ resident ratios. The new administration retaliates against just grievance procedures. There is no administrative accountability, daily violations of HIPPA law, and an utter lack of transparency. Residents are suffering and are not free from want, fear, oppression, and violence. Although Albany is just a microcosm of a broken and moribund mental health system, I appeal to reason in the name of holding accountable those who are the purveyors of injustice and empowering me and like minded residents to have our voices heard, which are not just voices in the wilderness.

  17. Residents are not being properly taken care of. There is a man who is still begging from cars at the intersection of Ridge and Main, almost every day, for hours at a time including after dark when he runs the risk of being hit by a car. He is clearly ill, usually talking to himself. I just watched him walk back into Albany Care. This is not nimbyism. People who are low income and mentally ill should be properly taken care of, and there is nothing at all to say that this shouldn’t happen in an otherwise prosperous, middle class neighborhood, even if some people just don’t want to see them and would prefer that it happened out of their sight somewhere. But they should be cared for, as human beings. Clearly, that is not happening.

  18. Many thanks to the residents who are speaking out, to my fellow Evanstonians for the comments here, but especially to Adina Keeling for covering this story more than once and in such depth. The new Albany Plan may need more time, but I agree that hearing new staff claim all is fine, to code, or at least adequate is discouraging when the facility residents and homeowners in the area feel that is far from true.

  19. It is very frustrating…the whole conversation around Albany Care has been dictated by a small number of Social Justice Warriors who don’t live on the same street as Albany Care and are not impacted by their facility, yet they are the loudest voice always defending keeping Albany Care open because they think they are advocates for the homeless and mentally ill, all while the owners of Albany cash in their profits thanks to these “advocates”. Meanwhile, the MAJORITY of residents and business owners, who ARE very negatively impacted by Albany Care, want it shut down. People show up to ward and city meetings asking for this place to be shut down or for some legal action to be taken, and the same few SJW’s (even the alderman sometimes) tell everyone that’s not gonna happen, say they want to keep Albany Care open for reasons that are not properly explained to anybody. Obviously the Albany residents are suffering too…so what exactly are you defending?

    Someone in the comments here perfectly described Albany Care as “warehousing of defenseless people for profit.” This is soooo spot on. The fact that the SJW’s ignore this reality is so unfortunate. If they truly want to advocate for the homeless and mentally ill, they too would be standing up and fighting with the rest of us to shut this place down permanently. Their rhetoric has done nothing but continue to damage our community.

  20. This facility needs to be shut down. There are two schools, a park, homes with people raising children, and businesses, all within steps of Albany’s building. I don’t understand why the alderman and the city of Evanston want to keep finding solutions to keep it here. It is absolutely mind boggling to any objective person. No change or “improvement” from the management team is going to make this situation better. As far as I can tell everything they are doing is within the law. The issue is the LOCATION. This facility is NOT suited to exist here. Albany Care residents deserve care for severe mental health and addiction issues while freely coming and going as they please, but this shouldn’t be happening right next to schools and family homes. It needs to be in a more commercial/urban area. Evanston is urban in some parts, but it is primarily suburban, especially on that part of Maple Ave. I wish the city of Evanston advocated for shutting it down rather than constantly defending it. There needs to be an investigation into Evanston government to see who is benefiting from this situation financially, because someone clearly is. While both Albany residents and Evanston neighbors suffer every day.

    1. Exactly, I see so many weird people from that facility when I am going to school. I even got harassed verbally by one of them. If the facility is shut down, the neighborhood would become so much better and it just feels dangerous right now.

  21. I live at the Main and Ridge intersection, and we have been seeing people panhandling from the cars regularly over the last months. Being low income isn’t a crime, and nor is panhandling, but it is a symptom of how little the Albany Care Home residents are cared for. Sometimes there are people who are clearly suffering from poorly controlled mental health conditions, pacing around, shouting, talking to themselves, and, a few times in the summer, wandering out into traffic or sitting on the sidewalk with their legs in the road. This is the warehousing of defenseless people for profit at its worst.

  22. Check out there Sister Home Greenwood Care too. I lived there fore 33 years! I just moved out of there. It’s gone to hell it’s not safe understaffed no supervision and Incompetent Administrator who doesn’t give a Shit! Violent and dangerous

  23. I’m still being Verbally Abused at Albany Care. Still no response from Staff. Not only did I call IDPH to file a grievance but have submitted many in-house Grievances and nothing has been done. A few weeks ago; still short staffed. I received my morning Medication. The NURSE fatigued due to She had to work two floors for the proper Medication on a timely manner.

    The NURSE gave me the improper Medication. Fortunately I didn’t get Serious Side Effects.

    And recently I was unable to get my Medication for two days straight. Add fuel to the following, I ended up being admitted to the Hospital. Absolutely no Administration Staff apologize.

    There used to be over five groups to attend Daily. Everyday of the week.

    This facility should start implementing more Groups. There’s absolutely no excuse for them not be doing this
    It would benefit the residents who deserve More Structure.

    Attending to the groups are NOT MANDATORY. But, a lot of my friends who resided here before me stated that they enjoyed the Groups because it helped them..

    I hope that Albany Care start “stepping up” and do their jobs
    proffesionly.

    Everyone have a wonderful week.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Mr. Peter Basquin

  24. Wow. This article was absolutely heartbreaking to read, but not at all surprising. I wrote a comment to a similar article re Albany House some months ago, and it appears that the situation is not improving.
    It is my firm belief that housing such large numbers of seriously mentally ill folks under one roof is not a good idea, period. There are bound to be problems that will be more difficult to adequately handle when mental health issues in our society are still undervalued, programs are chronically short staffed even when there isn’t a pandemic, and workers are underpaid and poorly trained.
    I believe the city of Evanston should start working on figuring out how to close Albany House for good. Smaller, more intimate settings for housing the chronically mentally ill have a much better track record, generally.
    My husband was the CEO of Kenneth Young Centers for many years and it was his dream to help build such smaller buildings. He was able to get funding to do so and spearheaded a handful of smaller housing settings for the mentally ill in the northwest suburbs that have been very successful.
    Residents need supportive and active case management, regular medication management (absolutely essential), and a variety of constructive, meaningful activities to fill their days and help them function at their best.
    I believe there many be funds available through some of the Covid rescue packages and possibly the BuildBackBetter Act, if it gets passed, to help support better funding for programs/housing for the mentally ill.
    Large facilities like Albany House are doomed to failure and this particular one has proven to be a disaster for its residents and the community. The city of Evanston must take a stronger stand re working towards transitioning Albany House to a different purpose and use, period.

  25. Anyone who is familiar with the operation of a large facility like Albany, serving people with mental illness, knows that Ms. Seals denial of problems with both daily care and patient management are bureaucratic nonsense. Acknowledging problems is the first step toward solving them; denial just makes a difficult situation worse.

  26. We have to get the state regulators involved to bring the facility back up to the quality care it used to provide. Albany is a valuable resource for the community. Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare in Roger’s Park is a great model of client care and housing. I am on their Board and was president of Mental Health America of the North Shore in Evanston in the early 2000s. Please keep us informed of Albany ‘s progress on upgrading and improving care. Evanston RoundTable does a great job on informing the public on community needs. Thank you.

    1. But Albany Care is not a community resource. It houses people from all over the US who are placed here, apparently against their will in some cases. They are not Evanston residents, nor does Albany serve Evanston residents. While some of the residents housed here may be benefiting from a roof over their head, it really should be their home state finding them appropriate living options. Sending them to our little corner of Maple and Main, and then expecting us residents to take care of them when they leave the facility, is not beneficial or valuable to anyone.