Assisted living facilities (ALF’s) are intended to provide a semi-structured environment to (primarily) elderly group. Meals are prepared and staff are intended to provide residents with daily living activities. Unlike nursing homes, ALF’s are not intended to provide skilled nursing care.
In the case of Alzheimer’s patients, many ALF’s accept these people despite the fact that many offer no specialized care for them. Is this a case of corporate greed putting its quest for profits ahead of providing necessary care to its residents?
In the case of Ruby Larson (an Alzheimer’s patient), I think the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. On July 23, 2007 Larson wandered from Pheasant Pointe Retirement and Assisted Living Residence — never to be heard from again. Last year a judge declared Larson to be legally dead as the search for her was fruitless.
Ms. Larson, 75, was admitted to Pheasant Pointe in May, 2007 suffering from dementia, memory loss, and disorientation. During the three months Larson was a patient at Pheasant Pointe, she wandered from the facility three separate times.
Larson’s family filed a lawsuit against Pheasant Point and its parent company, Spectrum Retirement Communities of Oregon claiming the staff failed to properly supervise Larson and that the companies should have known that Ms. Larson required care only a specialized Alzheimer’s care unit could provide.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s patients may encounter many problems while living in an assisted living environment. Of course, depending on the individual facility, the levels of care may be different. But most ALF’s are horribly ill-equipped to care for Alzheimer’s patient who typically require great care with meals, getting about, re-direction, medication as well as maximum assistance with daily living.
If a facility is unable to provide the level of care required, the facility should advise the family. Too often, ALF’s never mention to the family that their loved one may be better off in a nursing home or alternative facility that specialized in Alzheimer’s care.
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