Dealing With Negligence in Assisted Living Facilities

An assisted living facility is a sort of "halfway house," often an intermediate step from a retirement community to a full-fledged nursing home, and which is geared to serving the needs of the elderly and others who are severely disabled. Unfortunately, they can also be places where residents experience negligence and even outright abuse. Solomon & Relihan is a law firm that has for more than 40 years worked to protect the rights of such victims.

The Need for Assisted Living Facilities

Those who are unable to live independently but still have some personal mobility can benefit from the assisted facility concept. In addition to offering some personal freedom, these facilities can provide for their residents in such areas as bathing, dressing and, of course, serving their nutritional needs. Although the facilities may not provide the extensive supervision and support found in nursing homes, they are responsible giving their residents the care that is needed.

The Legal Responsibilities of Assisted Living Facilities

These responsibilities may vary according to state requirements and the nature of the contract made with residents and their families. However, every facility is expected to provide its residents with regular meals and other personal needs, and also ensure that they receive proper medical attention. Additionally, the facility should provide residents with an environment that enables socializing with others.

What is Assisted Living Negligence?

The failure of a facility to exercise reasonable care when it comes to its legal obligations constitutes negligence. Additionally, a facility can be deemed negligent if it violates the contract with the residents or violates any provision of the the state laws pertaining to assisted living services. In cases of negligence that result in legal action, the facility or a member of its staff would have done something beyond the actions of a "reasonable" person.

Specific Examples of Negligence

A facility could be deemed as negligent for failing to keep its property clear of snow, water or other obstacles, or for not keeping the living quarters free of slippery surfaces or anything that could result in a fall. It may not be legally negligent if a resident falls while cleaning his or her own living quarters, unless the facility was required to provide assistance with such tasks. However, it could be held responsible through indirect action, such an improper supervision that results in infections or cases of dehydration or malnutrition. These would be examples of standard negligence.

The Differences Between Standard Negligence and Medical Malpractice

Cases of medical malpractice that occur in a facility would normally be related to the actions of a health care provider, such as the administration by a nurse of the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medicine. Additionally, a case of medical malpractice that results in legal action would be expected to involve an examination of the facts by an expert in the field.

Dealing With Negligence

Assisted living facilities typically employ methods of private payment rather than reimbursement by Medicare or Medicaid. However, this can serve as an incentive for the facility to keep the resident after the person's health has deteriorated. Additionally, these facilities usually do not offer the level of professional care provided at nursing homes. Fortunately, the legal team at Solomon & Relihan knows how to hold negligent facilities responsible for their actions. If you or someone close to you has experienced such negligence, schedule a free consultation and let us help you explore your legal options.

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