As loved ones age and require more assistance and care, many New York families consider the option of placing them in assisted living facilities. And for many elderly people throughout the country, assisted living homes offer the accommodations and medical care they need. However, there is evidence that many assisted living facilities lack the federal oversight and funding to protect patients from incidents of medical negligence and malpractice.
Unlike many federally subsidized nursing home facilities across the nation, assisted living facilities can range in size and services offered. Supporters and those within the assisted living industry note that private funding and limited federal regulations allow for facilities to suit the unique needs of individual communities and states. Recent investigatory research conducted by Frontline and ProPublica suggests, however, that thousands of assisted living patients may suffer from nursing home negligence and other serious care issues as a result of industry practices.
Because assisted living facilities are generally not subject to federal guidelines, individual states determine inspection and quality standards. The level of care offered at these types of facilities can vary greatly. Therefore, researchers note that the quality of care provided can also depend on many factors. As it is, around 750,000 senior citizens live in assisted living homes, compounding issues like patient overcrowding and unqualified staffing.
Proponents of federal regulation claim that greater oversight could help ensure patient rights, care standards, and industry transparency. Still, though, New York State has yet to implement many standards that were recommended years ago. Other states are dealing with similar issues concerning assisted living facility requirements, as findings suggest budget cuts and relaxed legislation fails to address some industry-related issues.
Current assisted living industry standards and care-related concerns can complicate and hinder personal injury and malpractice claims.
Source: propublica.org, “Elderly, At Risk, and Haphazardly Protected,” A.C. Thompson, Jonathan Jones, Oct. 29, 2013