Assisted living centers in the state of Oklahoma provide different levels of care than nursing homes. In most cases, nursing homes remain equipped to provide substantial levels of medical care and provide intensive therapy or treatments. Additionally, registered nurses are on staff at nursing homes twenty-four hours a day. Assisted living centers operate differently in the sense that they still provide care and supervision for elderly residents, however, do so in a much more comfortable and home-like setting. Unfortunately, in both nursing homes and assisted living centers accidents can occur resulting in serious injuries or death. While many elderly residents develop medical conditions and are inherently more frail than younger adults, some accidents in assisted living centers are completely preventable and are the result of negligence. If your elderly loved one suffered an accident that you believe resulted directly from negligence of the assisted living facility’s staff or management, consider how a Tulsa assisted living accident lawyer at Pintas & Mullins can help you understand your legal rights.
Causes for Accidents in Assisted Living Centers
One of the most common overall reasons for accidents in assisted living centers is the direct result of some form of negligence in the operation or management of the facility. Some types of severe, but preventable, accidents result from the following causes.
Failure to Provide Adequate Safety Measures
Basic safety systems are necessary to ensure that elderly residents of Assisted Living centers remain safe. Examples of basic safety systems include warning alarms if residents attempt to leave the facility unsupervised, the failure to provide proper lighting throughout the facility, the failure to remove hazardous materials from walkways or obstacles from common areas, the failure to provide bed rails or handrails in bathrooms, the failure to secure carpeting or rugs, the failure to replace missing or cracked tiles, or the simple failure to provide adequate security such as video cameras and photo identification of visitors. Any of these scenarios can easily result in an elderly resident of an assisted living center tripping and falling, leading to severe injuries and a possible decline in overall health. The National Institutes of Health reports that 30% of all falls resulting in injuries are the direct result of negligence.
Failure to Prevent Elopement
Elopement, or leaving an assisted living facility unsupervised, is one of the most dangerous events an elderly resident faces. In some cases, elderly residents may begin the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which may make them easily confused. In their confusion, they may attempt to leave the facility to return home, visit a relative who passed away years ago, or believe that they need to return to the workplace. If an assisted living center does not have appropriate safety mechanisms in place to ensure that residents remain at the facility supervised, serious accidents or death can occur for these residents that elope.
Because assisted living centers offer more opportunities for their residents to socialize and actually leave the facility for entertainment purposes, there are also more chances for accidents to occur involving the transportation of these seniors to different events. Whether the assisted living center transports these residents in their own vehicle, or if they hire a third-party to transport their elderly residents to a recreational facility that is off-site, the assisted living center will remain responsible for any accidents that occurred directly from the negligence of a driver.
Assisted Living Center Regulations
Every individual state establishes the rules and regulations under which assisted living facilities have to operate. It is important to note that assisted living facilities are different than nursing homes, which remain regulated under federal law as well as state law. The United States Department of Health and Human Services provides a complete Compendium of Residential Care and Assisted Living Regulations and Policy which articulates every state’s requirements and regulations for assisted living facilities.
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Oklahoma Assisted Living Center Laws and Regulations
The state of Oklahoma has very specific guidelines regarding the operation of assisted living facilities in the state. Some of the requirements under these as required by Oklahoma law include the following:
- Medication preparation and administration
- Food service and dietary provisions
- Background checks of employees
- Inspection and monitoring
- Provisions for serving those residents with dementia
- Training requirements of employees
- Staffing requirements
If any of these provisions are not met appropriately, an elderly resident may suffer an unnecessary and completely preventable accident. If you believe that your elderly loved one suffered any kind of accident as a result of the assisted living center failing to adhere to the laws and regulations of the state of Oklahoma, consider how a Tulsa assisted living accident lawyer at Pintas & Mullins can help you determine how you may have the legal right to file a case for elder neglect or abuse.
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Determining if an Accident Is a Result of Negligence
In many cases, it may be difficult to determine if your elderly loved one suffered injuries from an accident that was a result of negligence or abuse from the staff or management of the assisted living center. If you feel that your loved one suffered injuries that remain unexplainable, or you remain suspicious regarding the explanation provided by the assisted living center, you have the legal right to visit with the management regarding the incident. If you do not feel that’s the management provides appropriate answers to your concerns, you have the legal right to contact the police or Adult Protective Services in your area. Additionally, you should always have your elderly loved one seek immediate medical attention in order to receive proper medical evaluation and treatment. If you fear for the safety of your elderly loved one, you should take some time to make the difficult decision if you need to remove them from the assisted living center that may have directly caused their injuries through their negligence.
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Consider How a Tulsa Assisted Living Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If your elderly loved one suffered an accident in an assisted living facility that you believe may involve negligence on the part of the facility, consider how a California assisted living accident lawyer can help you receive compensation and justice on behalf of your elderly loved one. Contact our legal team for a free consultation and to discuss the accident at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
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