Assisted living facilities are for people who can no longer live independently. They differ from nursing homes in that people in assisted living facilities do not need 24-hour nursing care. They may need help with daily living, though, such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation. Assisted living facilities can be in anything from large, high-rise buildings to single-family homes. Whatever type you or your loved one is in, know that assisted facilities are state-regulated and monitored facilities, according to the Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL). You can file a complaint against assisted living homes if you need to.
Contact your state licensing agency. Assisted living facilities fall under state, not federal laws. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, every state, except for Delaware and New Hampshire, has its own web site or posts links to their licensing regulations and statutes. You can file complaints directly with the state licensing agency for the assisted living facility.
Include relevant information in your complaint. Include the facility’s name, address and phone number, the name of the person affected, and any witnesses, if known. Detail the nature of your complaint and when it happened. Let the reporting agency know if you think this is an isolated or recurring problem, if the facility has taken any steps to improve the situation, and if you have contacted anyone else about the problem.
Contact a long-term care ombudsman. In 1965, Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) to aid in providing social services for older persons. One program to come from this legislation is the ombudsman program, according to CCAL. An ombudsman acts as an advocate for residents in long-term residential care. The program is run through individual states, and there are local ombudsmen throughout the state as well. To contact an ombudsman to advocate for you or a loved one in a residential home, call (800) 677-1116.
Use the services of a geriatric care manager. You can find a qualified geriatric care manager through the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM). If the manager sees that abuse or neglect is occurring to the older person, he must report it to the appropriate authority in accordance with national and state laws.
File a complaint with the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance. This national organization promotes the safety and rights of people in assisted living facilities. It works with consumers and health care professionals to make sure assisted living facilities are following good policies.
- You can also file a complaint if you believe a resident has been unfairly discharged. While states have discretion on discharges, according to ElderLawAnswers.com, assisted living facilities must follow the rules of the state in which they do business.
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