When a loved one is cognitively or physically disabled, whether due to illness, injury, or old age, you may need to look into long-term care options. While at-home care is feasible for some, others require or desire a different environment or more advanced and consistent aid.
Assisted living facilities can provide a middle ground between at-home care and nursing homes. Such arrangements are similar to retirement homes and can offer a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment. In quality facilities, residents can receive medical supervision and on-site emergency medical response, in addition, to help with the essential activities of daily living, including:
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), in the United States, there were about 22,000 assisted living homes operating. This is about twice the number of nursing homes. Unfortunately, like nursing homes, assisted living facilities are not all created equal. While data on assisted living care is severely lacking in most locales—around the nation and the world—elder abuse is unfortunately a widespread and significant issue that affects millions of residents.
Most care professionals have the residents’ best interests in mind. But accidents happen. This can include incidents ranging from slips and falls to incorrect medication administration. Most of the time, facilities and staff take the appropriate action to address these incidents.
However, some accidents are not really accidents at all. Neglect, abuse, and medical malpractice can also occur in assisted living facilities. Such occurrences can range from:
● Failure to diagnose a medical condition
● Failure to move a patient as necessary (to prevent infection and bedsores)
● Failure to provide toilet and personal hygiene assistance
● Intentional physical or psychological harm
If your loved one suffered from a suspicious accident in a Louisiana assisted living facility, a lawyer may be able to support you. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is dedicated to helping families pursue justice. Call (800) 842-6336 to speak with a staff member and discuss your case.
Residents’ Rights in Assisted Living Facilities
Residents in assisted living facilities have the same fundamental rights as any other citizens. The rights for residents, including “the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion,” are underscored by the Code of Federal Regulations Title 42 §483.12.
Assisted living facilities receiving federal funds (Medicaid or Medicare) are legally bound to abide by federal regulations. Many assisted living facility residents pay for their care through Medicaid.
Although patients in assisted living facilities have a right to report their concerns regarding unsatisfactory conditions, inadequate treatment, abuse, or neglect, many do not do so. They may be unable to communicate their distress due to cognitive difficulties, isolation, or disability (such as inability to independently use a telephone). They may also be embarrassed or fear reporting issues because of the risk of retribution.
Professionals who work with vulnerable people in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, including nurses, doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists, administrators, and peripheral staff such as social services employees, are obligated to report abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice. Unfortunately, they may fail to do so for fear of unjust consequences.
Perpetrators of abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice must be held accountable for their actions. Unchecked, perpetrators may continue to harm multiple patients in their tenure. Reporting irresponsible or malicious behavior is the right thing to do for your loved one and others who may be suffering.
A Louisiana assisted living accident lawyer can assist you in seeking justice. Get in touch with a law firm today to discuss how they can support you.
Warning Signs of Abuse & Neglect
Residents in assisted living facilities are extremely vulnerable and frequently do not have advocates they can speak to. So, it is vital for family members to know the warning signs and take appropriate steps to address potential mistreatment.
First and foremost, loved ones must take their family members’ complaints seriously. If your elderly family member tells you they are being mistreated, report it immediately to the facility administrators and social services. Because many seniors are fearful or ashamed to discuss their situation, even with family members or friends, it is also essential to know the red flags, including:
● Bruises or signs of having been restrained
● Cuts or welts
● Recurring injuries, such as falls
● Difficulty walking or sitting that is not characteristic of their health condition
● Emotional distress, including fearfulness and signs of depression or post-traumatic stress
● Acting agitated, withdrawn, or uncommunicative
● Dehydration or malnutrition
● Untreated health concerns, including infections or bedsores
● Poor personal hygiene, including soiled clothing or dirty hair
● Unexplained bank account withdrawals or funds transfers
● Sudden changes to the Power of Attorney or will
It is also vital to keep an eye out for suspect behaviors and conditions when visiting residents. Red flags include:
● Lack of running water or inadequate heating and cooling
● Unsanitary conditions, such as soiled bed linens or dirty bathroom facilities
● Safety risks, such as blocked fire exits and tripping hazards
● Residents’ uncharacteristic behavior around staff members
● The unwillingness of care providers to allow you to visit privately with your loved one
Get in Touch with a Louisiana Assisted Living Accident Lawyer
After reporting your concerns to facility administration and local authorities, consider getting in touch with a lawyer. They may be able to assist you in seeking a financial award as compensation for your losses. Such an award could cover your loved one’s medical bills, distress and anguish, and relocation costs to a new facility.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to speak with a team member to determine if you have the grounds for a civil suit.