A Minnesota assisted-living facility has been cited by the Minnesota Health Department for neglect involving of one of its residents who injured her head as a result of a fall for which the assisted-living facility failed to timely seek medical attention. The resident was not hospitalized for three days after her fall and head injury; she died the following month as a result of her injuries. The investigative report issued two weeks ago indicated that the assisted-living facility did not have a registered nurse available to respond to after-hours calls from unlicensed staff at the facility when residents of the assisted-living facility experienced changes in their conditions.
The resident had a history of falls while attempting to get out of bed at the assisted-living facility. Sometime during November, 2011, the woman evidently fell and injured herself. On November 18, 2011, the woman was not complaining of any pain but bumps on her head were observed by the staff. The next day, the woman was in the bathroom when she called for assistance, complaining that her nose hurt. One of the staff noticed bruising on the back of the woman’s head later that night.
The following day, the woman refused to open her eyes or to respond to the staff; she remained in bed later than was usual for her. Later that morning, the assisted-living facility’s registered nurse was advised for the first time regarding the woman’s condition. The woman was sent to the hospital later that day.
The woman died in the hospital on December 5, 2011. The cause of death stated in her death certificate were the injuries she sustained as a result of falling.
The Minnesota Health Department cited the assisted-living facility for its failure to report changes in the woman’s condition to the contracted registered nurse and its failure to provide timely medical attention for the woman following her fall in November, 2011.
The executive director of the assisted-living facility acknowledged the facility’s short-comings, stating that the assisted-living facility’s own “top-to-bottom assessment of this tragic situation … reached the same conclusions as the Department of Health.” In response to the investigation and findings, the assisted-living facility ceased its use of the contracted registered nurse and has agreed to have a nurse available every day, all day long, and to retrain its staff and to monitor its staff for compliance.
What Is The Difference Between An Assisted-Living Facility And A Nursing Home?
The two main differences between nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are the level of necessary care provided to residents and the level of independence (or level of restrictions) of residents. Nursing homes provide constant medical supervision of residents who are incapable of living independently and are in need of substantial or full assistance with activities of daily living. Residents of assisted-living facilities generally need less care and supervision and are capable of dressing themselves, taking care of their personal hygiene needs, and preparing and consuming their own meals without much supervision or assistance (residents of assisted-living facilities may need some assistance with bathing, medication management, etc.) and are typically free to come and go from the facility as they please (many may even continue to drive). Most assisted-living facilities are private-pay whereas most nursing home residents are covered, in whole or in part, by Medicare or Medicaid.
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of the failure of a nursing home or an assisted-living facility to provide necessary care or services, you or your loved one may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and losses sustained as a result of nursing home neglect, nursing home abuse, nursing home negligence, assisted living neglect, assisted living abuse, or assisted living negligence.
In order to protect your legal rights, you should promptly consult with a local nursing home claim attorney or a local assisted living claim attorney to learn about your rights and responsibilities in seeking justice.
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