BLUE STATE BLUES: California Nursing Homes Are Becoming ‘De Facto Mental Health Centers.’

“It’s a sanitarium,” said Travell Jackson, a nurse with two decades of experience who worked at the facility in 2022. On any given day, she said, there were “patients running around, screaming, yelling, disrobing, defecating in the hallways, on themselves.”

Last year, 7 in 10 residents at Hyde Park had a serious mental illness — defined as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or psychotic disorder — according to an investigation by LAist, APM Research Lab and The California Newsroom.

Our investigation found that in 2022, hundreds of nursing homes across California — facilities that typically help people rehabilitate after surgery or provide round-the-clock care for the elderly or physically disabled — admitted and housed thousands of people with serious mental illness, often for a year or longer.

The consequences — documented in state records — have been horrific. Without proper supervision, residents with serious mental illness have slipped out of nursing homes and gone missing for weeks, and been released with little regard for their needs.

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