An investigation by ABC News has revealed that conditions in for-profit assisted living facilities are far worse than many Illinois residents might imagine. With low-paid workers, understaffing and loose regulations, many elderly residents are not receiving a reasonable standard of care. As multibillion-dollar assisted living businesses put profit ahead of service, regular abuse and neglect is becoming commonplace.
The death of former Chicago Bears running back George McAfee was a reminder that even high-profile residents can experience nursing home neglect. In 2009, the erstwhile pro-football Hall of Famer, who reportedly suffered from dementia, was unsupervised when he managed to make his way into a cleaning supplies room in the Atlanta-area facility he was living at. After drinking a bottle of detergent, he died of internal burns.
The assisted living facility company Emeritus Corporation, who owned the Georgia facility, was forced to acknowledge their mistake when they settled out of court with McAfee’s family. With no staff to supervise him for over 30 minutes, according to an investigation, coupled with an unlocked cleaning supplies cabinet, the man’s death was deemed a clear-cut case of neglect. Despite an attempt to clean up its reputation, Emeritus Corporation has since had to settle out of court in other wrongful death lawsuits.
Because elderly and disabled residents require continuous care, assisted living facilities must provide a sufficient number of staff members. In cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, inadequate staffing is a common cause. If an elderly person has been injured or died as a result of nursing home neglect, family members can seek the assistance of a lawyer to sue for compensation. By demonstrating to the court that the injury or death resulted from a poor standard of care, the lawyer can help the family seek compensation.
Source: ABC News, “Dad Dies After Drinking Poison in Assisted Living“, Susan Donaldson James, July 30, 2013