Activists Deliver Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Are local seniors safe at Atria Senior Living? That's what members of the Campaign to Improve Assisted Living and SEIU Healthcare were asking after learning that Atria's Marland Place facility at 15 Stevens Street in Andover was found in violation of state law requiring carbon monoxide detectors that would warn residents and staff of the presence of this odorless, colorless gas. To help protect seniors, and raise the alarm over these safety problems, members of the Campaign delivered carbon monoxide detectors to the facility today.
Carbon monoxide detectors can cost as little as $16 each. Atria Senior Living, one of the nation's largest assisted living corporations, should be able to pay for this important safety equipment.
Referred to as the "silent killer," carbon monoxide poisoning is particularly dangerous for the elderly as the symptoms can be easily confused with other ailments such as the flu or fatigue. According to a new study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first month of the year is the worst for carbon monoxide poisoning. At least two people die each day from carbon-monoxide poisoning in January -- three times the fatality rate recorded in August and July. Unintentional carbon monoxide exposure accounted for 15,000 emergency room visits annually between 1999 and 2004, with an average of 439 people dying each year.
"Nicole's Law," passed in November 2005, requires all Massachusetts buildings used at least in part for residential purposes to have carbon monoxide detectors. This includes nursing homes and assisted living facilities such as Atria Marland Place.
Unfortunately, Atria Senior Living has a history of failing to properly care for residents, particularly in emergencies. In addition to failing to protect residents from possible carbon monoxide poisoning in Andover, other Atria facilities have been cited numerous times for placing residents in situations that make their safe evacuation difficult, and for housing residents who are not able to evacuate on their own in an emergency.