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Assisted living quick-response devices useless without response

Assisted-living facilities are a kind of transitional housing option for elderly citizens that can't live on their own anymore but may not need the absolute around-the-clock care of a complete nursing home. We may move our loved ones into a facility of this type or they may choose to do this on their own accord. Either way, these facilities are often better equipped with the knowledge and resources to keep our loved ones as healthy and safe as possible.

Sadly, there are some facilities that break our trust by providing negligent or even abusive care. CBS 2 investigators found that some Chicago-area assisted-living facilities are not only providing substandard care, but are actually in violation of state regulations.

Let's look at an example of substandard care mentioned by the investigators.

Some assisted-living facilities provide residents with quick-response pagers that they can wear around their necks, much like the popular LifeAlert devices shown on television. At these facilities, the devices can be used for residents that may need assistance with things like walking to the bathroom -- as one Illinois resident did. They are great little devices, but without an actual quick response from a staff member, they lose their effectiveness.

In fact, in the case mentioned above, it caused some very real harm for the elderly woman. When the staff members failed to respond in time, this resident was faced with the option of risking walking on her own or soiling herself. Anyone would understand the choice, but when this woman was forced to walk unassisted, she often fell. Being in the home as a result of multiple sclerosis and a broken hip, the 14 reported falls were certainly more than hazardous.

Failures such as these, when they result in injury to the patient, can become the basis of personal injury lawsuits. Those that fear their loved one has suffered harm in an incident such as a nursing home fall should consult with an attorney that can help.

Source: CBS Chicago, "2 Investigators: Assisted-Living Facilities Neglected Resident, Suit Says," Pam Zekman, Feb. 24, 2014

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