Like many elderly couples, a decision to move into a long-term care facility may mean that such a decision is a ‘joint effort’ and where one spouse goes– so goes the other. In theory, moving a couple into a long-term care facility provides continuity and support in a new environment.
But what happens when the care at the facility is just plain bad?
Well… unfortunately, the decision may result in harm to both spouses as evidenced by a lawsuit filed on behalf of a husband and wife who sought the services of a residential care facility for the elderly in California.
The daughter of Patricia and Robert Blakeslee has filed an elder abuse lawsuit against the owners of Woodlake Senior Care following poor care at the facility that allegedly resulted in the death of her father and loss of her mother’s leg.
The lawsuit claims that the senior care facilities poor care and unsanitary living conditions resulted in a rapid deterioration of her parents. The facility was further negligent in the manner they handled the development of the apparent injuries due to their delay in seeking medical care for the couple while they suffered from visible conditions such as advanced pressure sores on her legs and buttocks.
While this matter may proceed to trial, there is a possibility that this matter will be resolved prior to the swearing in of a jury.
Certainly, situations where husband and wife choose to remain in each others company as long as feasible, it is incumbent upon facilities to properly assess each partner individually to determine if the facility is indeed capable of caring for both partners. By accepting the couple together, their is an implicit understanding that the facility can care for both people as if each were on their own.
Particularly, in the case of alternative care facilities such as: group homes, residential care facilities for the elderly or assisted living facilities, it is crucial that the facility explain exactly what type of care they can— and can not provide.
All too frequently, I see long-term care facilities eagerly accept an elderly couple where one partner has significantly more needs than the other— to appease the couple and to obtain maximum occupancy. Nonetheless, when the care provided is insufficient or neglectful, as evidenced by this case, we can see the troubles that follow.
As we follow the civil portion of this elder abuse lawsuit, the owners of this residential care facility have been already been stripped of their license by the California Department of Social Services with respect to Woodlake Terrace as well as any other facility like it.
Woodlake senior’s death leads to suit, by Reggie Ellis, The foothills Sun-Gazette, 5/25/11