A prevalent question for many consumers is “How do I file a complaint against a long-term care facility.
Assisted living and residential care facilities are the fastest growing type of senior housing for older adults. Both fill the space between nursing homes and board and care homes.
Assisted living is tremendously appealing to consumers because it meets the need of older individuals receiving necessary care and services in a home-like environment.
In the event that a loved one comes across a problem while living in a residential care facility, be sure to report the problem to the facility management. It’s imperative that you should also report the problem to the state licensing agencies that oversee assisted living.
For example, if you see evidence of neglect or abuse, contact Adult Protective Services (APS) or the state’s licensing agency and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman in your area immediately. In some states, APS are responsible for investigating complaints.
The long-term care ombudsman is authorized by federal law to “investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of older individuals who are residents of long-term care facilities.”
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Absence of financial management
It’s vital that details of the complaint are recorded. The more information you write down and record, the better chances of getting the grievance handled.
Record details of a grievance:
- What happened?
- To whom did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- Where did it happen?
- Who did the abuse?
- Who was responsible for the neglect?
More information on reporting complaints to the state’s licensing agency.
More Issues of Concern
A growing problem in the assisted living industry: State assisted living laws increasingly allow assisted living facilities to admit or retain residents with significant health care needs.
Some residential care homes and assisted living facilities believe that the facility has the right but not the obligation to accept residents with the specified health care needs. Under the ADA, (Americans with Disabilities Act) it is illegal for a facility to use a specific health care need as an ineligibility for residence, if state law allows for that health care need to be met in an assisted living facility.
The most prominent feature about assisted living discharge laws is the discretion that facility operators are granted. Most states allow involuntary discharge when a facility cannot meet a resident’s needs, and anticipate that the facility has a right to decide whether particular needs can be met
By allowing this discretion to facilities, state law creates two potential problems:
- a resident will be discharged too soon
- or too late
If a resident is discharged too soon, a facility has the right due to a resident’s needs are too expensive or inconvenient. If you loved one should come up against a discharge due to care issues, a resident may receive more protection from the ADA than from state assisted living law.
The too-late discharge is the source of many serious assisted living problems. The most horrific incidents are the result of a facility retaining a resident that a facility is incapable of providing care.
Assisted living regulations differ greatly from state to state and even within a state, with individual assisted living facilities often bearing little resemblance to each other.
Before selecting and moving into an assisted living facility, research your state’s violations and view all complaints made against the home or facility.
Carol Marak is a contributor for the senior living and health care market. She advocates for older adults and family caregivers by writing on tough topics like chronic issues, senior care and housing. Her work is found on AssistedLivingFacilities.org and HomeHealthcareAgencies.com.