Family Files Wrongful Death Against Assisted Living Facility
The family of a Denver woman who died in an assisted living facility has filed a lawsuit against the assisted living facility claiming that their negligence directly resulted in the woman’s death. According to the lawsuit, the woman was left unattended in the shower where she slipped and fell. According to the woman’s care plan, she required someone to watch over her while she was showering to ensure that she didn’t get injured. The lawsuit claims that the facility violated the woman’s care plan, left her alone in the shower, and she died as a result of complications related to her fall. Further allegations involve understaffing and inadequate training.
Understanding the problem
When we think of a nursing home, we think of a medical environment in which patients reside. The truth is that nursing homes are supposed to be for convalescent care and the industry has diversified its services to accommodate different levels of medical attention. Those who need acute care end up in nursing homes and receive medical services. Those who don’t need acute care end up in assisted living situations. While nursing homes are required to abide by the prevailing standard of care for the medical industry, assisted living homes are a generic term that refer to patients who may need acute care or who may just need help with groceries and cleaning.
Nonetheless, assisted living facilities are among the largest growing industries in the country. But because there is no common definition of the services they provide, they exist in a legal gray area that clouds what sorts of liability they may face. One of the major market factors influencing this trend is the diversification of care services.
Assisted living facilities now routinely recruit memory care patients as residents. But are they qualified to give memory care patients the advanced services they need? Further, what obligation to provide medical care services does an assisted living facility have? In fact, many of these facilities offer care that is less substantial than actual nursing homes and may not be entirely qualified to treat memory care patients. In the aforementioned lawsuit, the woman was a memory care patient in an assisted living facility.
Issues with assisted living facilities
Nursing homes are medical facilities, but assisted living apartments are more like hybrid services. They offer residents food, housing, and activities, but they are also required to render a standard of medical care that, at minimum, complies with their care plan. However, because assisted living facilities are in this gray area, it can be difficult for attorneys to establish what standard of care is applicable to their case. Plaintiff’s attorneys will argue for the highest standard of care, but may be forced to file a medical malpractice lawsuit on that basis. Alternatively, a simple negligence lawsuit is often possible in slip and fall cases, but state rules don’t necessarily make it obvious what type of case it should be considered.
Assisted living facilities are a disruptive industry that will require further legislation. They cannot be subject to unclear legal standards and they cannot advertise services that they cannot perform.
Talk to a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney
If your loved one has been injured or killed due to negligent standards in their assisted living facility, contact the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Gillette Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.