Are Assisted Living Facilities safer than nursing homes? We have provided “safety score” ratings of Assisted Living Facilities in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County. Our analysis reveals that residents are being injured due to falls, fractures due to falling, bed sores, medication errors, dehydration in the elderly, and malnourishment. However, the number of lawsuits occurring at assisted living facilities are of less frequency than Nursing Homes in Florida.
WHAT IS AN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY?
Assisted living has become a popular alternative to nursing homes for Florida residents. Most people believe that an assisted living facility is the same as a nursing home. This is absolutely incorrect in the State of Florida. The idea behind assisted living is to provide the patient with more “independent” living but within a safe environment. Some facilities also offer “memory care units” to those with declining mental health, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
IS ASSISTED LIVING APPROPRIATE?
Most cases we handle involve injured patients who should not have been residing at an assisted living facility. In other words, they should never have been placed there from the beginning or the patient was no longer an appropriate candidate for residency.
Every licensed assisted living facility in Florida has an obligation to determine whether the resident is appropriate for their facility. If they are not, the resident should be placed in a safer living environment to prevent injuries to the resident, such as a nursing home or acute care hospital.
OUR CLIENT’S EXPERIENCE WITH BROOKDALE SENIOR LIVING
Here is a story of a case NextGen Injury Law is handling that deals with this exact issue:
THE ESTATE OF PHYLLIS PITTEL v. BROOKDALE SENIOR LIVING INC.
In late 2013, Phyllis Pittel was residing in Brookdale Senior Living’s facility in Boca Raton, Florida. She started to develop a decline in mental health, which made her more susceptible to falling. Rather than sending her to a skilled nursing home facility, Brookdale elected to move Phyllis to one of their other assisted living facilities further south in Coconut Creek. The family was told that this was a better place for her and that she was still a good candidate for being in an assisted living facility.
BROOKDALE COCONUT CREEK: WHERE IT ALL HAPPENED
However, the Coconut Creek facility was entirely different than her prior surroundings: she was now living in a smaller space with a roommate and she had little to no room to navigate throughout her unit due to her furniture being positioned all over the room. This condition, along with her unfamiliarity with her surroundings, made Phyllis a fall risk. Shortly after moving into Brookdale Senior Living’s Cococnut Creek facility, Phyllis fell. Due to her falls, Phyllis developed bruising throughout her body.
Again, rather than sending Phyllis to a higher care facility, Brookdale’s staff decided to keep her at their facility, where her family was paying Brookdale over $4,000 per month for care.
Tragically, in January 2014, Phyllis sustained another fall event which led to her death as she sustained a massive brain bleed due to the fall. This event should never have happened, and a result, the Pittel family was unable to properly say goodbye to their beloved mother.
Shockingly, when NextGen Injury Law’s attorneys requested records from Brookdale as to what happened, the facility provided Phyllis’s records EXCEPT for the notes about her tragic fall event. This type of cover-up and the wrongful death of Phyllis Pittel described above are part of an on-going case that NextGen Injury Law is currently handling in Broward County, Florida.
If you would like more information about Phyllis’s case, please contact us and please share this story to others to prevent this tragedy from occurring again in our communities.