Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe

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Negligence in Assisted Living Centres and Hospitals

Moving out of your home and into an assisted living facility or hospital for long-term care can be stressful. If you or a loved one has made the decision to do so, the transition can be made easier by assuring your right to safe-living while residing in either one of these institutions.

Every resident has the legal right to proper care and a life free from negligence. There are designated policies set in place inside every assisted-living facility and hospital for that exact reason. It is important for the resident and their family members to understand what negligence is, and how to spot it, in order to catch any early warning signs-because once you or your family member is admitted, you are put under the facility's care, and therefore out of close supervision by loved ones for extended periods of time.

What is negligence?

Negligence falls under the category of abuse which includes physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. By definition negligence is the withholding of assistance and necessities in regards to: nutrition, hygiene, emotional well-being, and physical care. If any staff member refuses to provide a resident with these services, it is considered abuse and they can be held legally liable. For example, leaving a resident in soiled undergarments or bed linens for an extended period of time is unacceptable. It is a part of the carer's job to routinely check for such things throughout their shift and there is no reasonable excuse for neglect. There is no such thing as a staff-member being "too busy" to provide basic and necessary care and it is important that residents and their families be aware of this.

While this is only a brief outline of negligence, visiting a personal injury law firm that deals with this type of case in advance will give you a better understanding of the legal penalties, as well as the resident's rights if neglect were to occur.

What are some of the warning signs?

Some residents, due to pre-existing disabilities, are unable to ask for help when necessary. A few signs to look out for are:

  • Bed sores and/or rashes
    Poor hygiene, such as: untrimmed finger nails, unkempt facial hair, or distinct odour
    Unusual social behaviours
    Mental health issues, such as: low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression

Many assisted living facilities provide outstanding care to their residents, but it's important to know ahead of time what to look for. The sad fact is that it can sometimes slip through the cracks. Luckily, Canada has many laws set in place in order to prevent abuse before it happens. Personal injury law firms know your rights and will advocate your safety. No case of neglect is too small, and any signs should be immediately reported to the proper authorities.

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