Living in an assisted living facility can be a wonderful experience for those who need help with their daily needs. Unfortunately, accidents can still happen in assisted living facilities, even with trained staff available around the clock. Sometimes these accidents are due to the negligence or mistake of a third party.
If you or someone you love was the victim of an accident and another party could be partially to blame, you could be able to take legal action. In some cases, victims of assisted living facility accidents can recover compensation. A Phoenix assisted living accident lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help. If you would like to learn more about your legal options, call us today to speak with a team member and learn more about what you can do next.
Living in Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities offer round-the-clock care, trained staff, social opportunities for residents, and stimulating recreational activities. It is easy to see why so many among the growing elderly population choose to live in this environment.
The Nursing Home Reform Act
Assisted living facilities are subject to the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. This federal law requires assisted living facilities to provide a high standard of care to the best of their ability. While most facilities strive to create a safe, pleasant, and healthy environment, mistakes still happen. These mistakes can lead to accidents that unfortunately jeopardize the health and well-being of residents.
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Common Accidents in Assisted Living Facilities
If your loved one is living in an assisted living facility, there is always the potential for an accident. Understanding common accidents and their causes can help keep your loved one safe. Some of the more common types of accidents, mistakes, and injuries that can occur in an assisted living facility are:
- Errors in medication administration: These errors include giving the wrong dosage to a patient, administering a medication at the wrong time, neglecting the side effects or potentially dangerous mixtures of medication, improperly printed medicine labels, giving the wrong medication, or even prescribing the wrong medication.
- Falls: Falling is one of the most common types of accidents for elderly adults, and it can also be one of the most dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 3 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms annually, with approximately 800,000 requiring hospitalization. Falls can lead to bruising, broken bones, and other injuries that can even be life-threatening in severe cases.
- Choking: Because many elderly adults like those residing in assisted living facilities need help eating, they can be particularly prone to accidents. If a caregiver does not cut food into appropriately sized pieces, for example, this creates a choking hazard. Some elderly people also have dentures or could be suffering from a muscular disorder or oral disease that makes eating difficult. Every caregiver should be diligent during meals to properly prepare and supervise the process.
- Malnutrition: Malnutrition can occur when an individual is not receiving adequate nutrients or enough water and fluids to stay hydrated. Assisted living facilities are required by law to provide nutritional meals for residents, and failure to do so could be grounds for legal action. Additionally, many elderly adults need to strictly follow a specific diet for health reasons, making it crucial that those responsible for their nutrition are effectively managing any special needs.
- Bedsores: Bedsores can occur when a certain area of the skin is exposed to friction or pressure over time. This can happen if you do not change position in a bed, chair, or other surfaces frequently enough. For people with special needs or limited mobility, it is important that caregivers help them move periodically to avoid this troublesome condition.
- Infections: Infections of many kinds are also prevalent in assisted living facilities. This can be due to many people living in proximity, as well as a deteriorating immune system that can accompany age. Assisted living facilities should implement and practice strict hygiene protocols to minimize the risk of infection.
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Potential Health Effects of Accidents
Many elderly adults, like those living in assisted living facilities, are more prone to injury than the average individual. Their physical and mental health could be deteriorating, which can increase the chance of injury and prolong recovery time. A simple fall, for example, that may not hurt a younger person could be severely detrimental to those of a certain age.
Accidents are dangerous for those involved and can lead to a stressful time for the families of victims. Sadly, many accidents are preventable. If your loved one suffered physically, emotionally, financially, or in any other way and a third party is responsible, it is important to understand what you can do next to get help.
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How a Phoenix Assisted Living Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one was the victim of an accident while living in an assisted living facility, there are ways to get help. The first thing you should do is seek medical attention for any immediate needs. Nothing is more important than your health.
In the aftermath of an accident, you could be stuck with expensive medical bills, ongoing treatment, and other financial obligations related to the accident. This can cause a tremendous amount of stress and suffering during an already difficult time. If you think another party could have been responsible for the accident, you may want to consider your legal options. Sometimes victims of assisted living accidents are eligible for financial compensation.
While no two cases are the same, some victims can recover reimbursement for medical expenses, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and more. A team member at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help explain the legal process to you and determine the types of compensation potentially available. Call to learn more about how a Phoenix assisted living accident lawyer may help.