National Alliance on Mental Illness
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November 27, 2006

Adult Home Standards

Missouri  fire raises new concern over residential standards for people with mental illnesses

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on an overnight fire at an adult home for elderly and mentally ill persons that killed 10 people and injured 25,based on early information from local authorities.

The fire occurred at the Anderson Guest House, a privately run home south of Joplin, MO. The home had 33 residents and two employees—a ratio of 16 to 1.

Nineteen people were taken to area hospitals. Six were treated at the scene. The cause is still under investigation.

The Anderson Guest House is a residential care center licensed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The facility also has a license from the state Department of Mental Health that allowed mentally ill residents to live at the home and receive treatment elsewhere. The dead range in age from adults in their 20s to elderly persons.

NAMI generally opposes placement of younger adults with mental illnesses in residential facilities with elderly persons.

Tragedies of this nature inevitably raise concerns over safety and treatment standards and their enforcement. In 2003, the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles that exposed horrendous conditions, fraud and victimization of residents in New York’s adult home industry.

Read the full story (opens new browser window to St. Louis Post Dispatch)