Imagine this:  Your elderly parent is not doing so well.  They’ve tripped and fallen several times, and you need to make sure that they are going to be ok.  Not only are they at risk for falls, but they also have a memory impairment and forget who they are, who you are, and where they are frequently.  Enter Shield, a company who’s very name means to protect.  They take you through a tour of their impressive building, tell you about the eloquent meals that are served, and show you resident’s apartments.  You tell them your needs, and they inform you they are more than happy to accommodate, for a price.

How are they going to care for them?  This information seems proprietary.  But, in a matter of a few days, your father has fallen three times and is now in the Intensive Care unit at a hospital.  Within hours, he dies, and you wonder if this could have been prevented.  You call, and send emails to the Assisted Living facility.  No response comes.  You begin to wonder what precautions were taken to keep your father safe.  Sound like a nightmare?  To one family, this is a reality.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, neglect occurs when:

Neglect is defined as the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder. Neglect may also include failure of a person who has fiduciary responsibilities to provide care for an elder (e.g., pay for necessary home care services) or the failure on the part of an in-home service provider to provide necessary care.

Neglect typically means the refusal or failure to provide an elderly person with such life necessities as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety, and other essentials included in an implied or agreed-upon responsibility to an elder.

  Notice that the definition reaches out to cover “an implied or agreed-upon responsibility to an elder”.  By the company’s decision to take the resident on and provide care for them, knowing that they were at a risk for falls.  If they did not have the ability to potentially offer you father a safe environment, they should have refused services and not allowed your father to move-in, in the first place.  By accepting this client, it was an implied and agreed-upon responsibility to make sure that they were reasonably safe in regards to falls.  After the first instance, it may have meant wearing a protective helmet.  It may have meant being confined to a wheelchair.

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