Are there enough regulations to keep assisted living homes safe?

As our loved ones age the topic of what to do about their care inevitably comes up in conversation. In-home care can be incredibly expensive and isn’t something many families can afford, while nursing homes consistently crop up in news reports telling of the unsafe conditions many facilities across the United States provide.

If a family is unable to care for their loved one themselves, this leaves assisted living homes as their only choice. But as some investigators are discovering, these facilities may not be as safe as people might think due to minimal state and federal regulations. And in a multimillion dollar industry that will only get bigger as more Baby Boomers age, this could mean an increase in wrongful deaths across the nation.

Some of our readers here in South Carolina may have heard about some of the problems facing assisted living homes. Like nursing homes, these facilities also have staff on hand to help residents with everything from preparing meals to taking baths. But just like in nursing homes across the nation, including here in South Carolina, staff have failed to provide care to residents on occasion and have even been negligent in their duties, which has resulted in several accidental deaths.

Unlike nursing homes though, assisted living facilities in the state of South Carolina are not required to have regular inspections so we hardly are aware of a problem until it’s too late. Even an accidental death though can be heartbreaking for the family of a loved one, especially if negligence or abuse was a factor. This can leave them searching for legal counsel on the matter and wondering if federal and state lawmakers are doing enough to ensure the protection of residents living in these types of facilities.

Source: The Pacific Standard, “The Horrible Condition of Assisted Living Facilities Across America,” A.C. Thompson and Jonathan Jones, Nov. 20, 2013

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