WILLIAMSTOWN — A nursing home with a history of abuse of residents and safety violations is scheduled to close in August.
The owners of Sweet Brook of Williamstown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center are forced to close the facility on Aug. 18 since they were unable to find a buyer, the condition of an agreement with federal regulators, according to Rep. John Barrett III, D-North Adams.
Barrett said that he hopes that all the remaining 65 residents will be relocated to other nursing homes within the county. He said that COVID-19 concerns won't be an issue, given the near-universal testing of patients and staff at all the state's facilities.
An official from the state Department of Public Health told Barrett that the company is still under that agreement, "even though it had made most of the corrections there from the report that goes back three years."
That report documented emotional and financial abuse, as well as long-term sexual abuse between patients with dementia that went unchecked despite knowledge by staff. Since 2017, the DPH had received over 100 complaints alleging serious abuse.
But the agency could not order the nursing home closed, due to appeals by the company, and because it had fixed the problems under close watch by regulators, Barrett said.
"It was an absolute disgrace what was going on there," he said. "They should have been closed at that time."
Barrett had also received complaints, but those stopped 10 months ago, he said.
Officials at DPH could not be reached for comment in time for publication.
Heather Bellow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.