What are assisted living facilities?
Assisted living facilities emerged in the early 1990s as a housing alternative for senior citizens who require some assistance with their daily activities and help coordinating healthcare services. These individuals are still generally capable of living on their own and don’t require around the clock nursing. These facilities provide residents with private living quarters but monitor residents needs and provide them support services as necessary.
Assisted living facilities are regulated at the state level; oversight is often inadequate.
Assisted living facilities are regulated at the state level with no federal oversight. State regulations governing how assisted living facilities are run vary from state to state. However, regulations surrounding the operation of assisted living facilities are often minimal. In addition, inspections and enforcement are not conducted with regularity.
Recent documentary reports negligent care at assisted living facilities.
A recent “Frontline” documentary entitled, “Life and Death in Assisted Living” reveals that residents of assisted living facilities may be suffering as a result of states’ failure to establish and enforce adequate regulations. The documentary explores living conditions and the standard of care at Emeritus, the largest assisted living chain in the United States. Emeritus has facilities throughout the country, including locations in Georgia, Florida, and California.
Based on the investigation, assisted living facilities often fail to hire enough sufficiently trained staff to deal with the needs of their residents. For example, many assisted living facilities do not have a full time nurse on staff. In addition, assisted living facilities will often take on residents who require greater medical attention than they are capable of providing so they can remain profitable. The average resident at an assisted living facility is in their 80s and suffers from multiple health issues. Cognitive loss is frequently an issue among residents of assisted living facilities.
The documentary profiles several residents of assisted living facilities who have fallen victim to these circumstances. These individuals include a man at a Georgia assisted living facility who died after ingesting industrial strength dishwashing liquid which he found in an unlocked cabinet on the premises. The fine imposed on the assisted living facility by the state of Georgia for this incident was $601. Another assisted living facility resident, a woman from Mississippi who suffered from dementia, fell to her death after prying open the window to her second floor apartment. There is also the story of a California woman who also suffered from dementia and whose pressure ulcers went unattended until her family members sued the assisted living facility. The family was ultimately awarded over $22 million in damages.
If you or a loved one have suffered from poor conditions at an assisted living facility, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and determine whether the assisted living facility or other party is liable for your injuries or loss. If so, an attorney will be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve.