I recently wrote an article for the New Jersey Law Journal discussing the shortfalls of some Assisted Living Facilities. These same problems were discussed in depth in a recent Frontline documentary “Life and Death in Assisted Living.”
The movie focused on the largest Assisted Living Corporation Emeritus, a very profitable publicly traded corporation. It chronicled how when one facility was bought by Emeritus, care dropped. Another ex-employee stated how the company wants to keep residents as long as possible to keep the beds full – keeping residents that should go into a nursing home.
One serious problem with Assisted Living is that there are no overriding Federal Regulations as in nursing homes. In New Jersey, an Assisted Living Facility by regulation can keep anyone, regardless of how sick or cognitively impaired they are, including residents that require “nursing home level of care.”
Companies take advantage of these regulatory loopholes. Assisted Living facilities are not staffed like nursing homes, do not have fall and wound preventions like nursing homes, and the staff do not have the same training. They are cheaper to run and the company can charge almost as much as they want. In many cases that we handle, the catastrophic results are fatal.
These problems are not going away. Assisted Living is a very lucrative business, and the elderly population is growing. Many corporations that own these facilities are not healthcare companies. In fact, one facility we litigated with was owned by a real estate corporation with the entire board of directors for the facility being marketers, financiers and attorneys. Not one of them had a healthcare background.
If you are considering Assisted Living, this video is very important for you to watch. You can watch here.