Assisted Living, News

Increased lawsuits against ALFS: How to avoid them

The changing climate of assisted living facilities (ALF) has attracted the attention of potential lawsuits that used to target nursing homes. This shift follows the increase of higher-level services offered by ALFs, laying out a familiar battle ground for attorneys who filed suit against nursing homes. These lawsuits mimic a common theme seen in SNF cases: the facility chooses profit over people.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys find many of their cases in survey reports, where they have access to documented instances of negligence. These public documents are available to them in ALFs’ state or local departments of health. The top ten deficiencies found in these reports involve:

  • Medication administration*
  • Resident care
  • Maintenance and building code
  • Ongoing resident assessment
  • Resident admission requirements
  • Staff training
  • Food service
  • Administrative record-keeping
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Abuse/neglect reporting/investigation
  • *The top deficiency

Additionally, the aspects which set ALFs apart from SNFs are the same aspects plaintiffs’ attorneys are using to file suit: resident choice, dignity, and privacy. Like a double edged sword, these possibilities for resident autonomy leave ALFs vulnerable if they are suspected of being denied.

To avoid becoming a victim of a debilitating lawsuit, take action and boost your facility’s reputation in the community with Customer Service in Assisted Living: Strategies for Building Successful Partnershipsa guide that provides insight into the building of partnerships between residents, families, staff, and the media and helps facilities manage risk and avoid potential litigation.

Authors Kelly Smith Papa, MSN, RN; and Carol Marshall, MA offer a fun, innovative approach to learning with instant access to everything you need to conduct training, including customized PowerPoint presentations, inservices, and templates to meet the unique needs of your organization.