Common Assisted Living Community Violations
Chuck Bongiovanni, MSW, MBA, CSA
Residents at assisted living facilities expect to receive world-class care from staff members. In some cases, however, organizations are not as reliable as they should be. While some of the shortcomings are minor, others can induce psychological trauma that may take years to heal. Here are the most common violations associated with assisted living communities.
1) Administration of Medication
One of the more frequent violations is a failure to get rid of medications that have expired. In some other cases, administrative staff may also fail to order prescription refills at the right time. Dispensing the wrong kind of medication to patients, on the other hand, is much less common. Expired medicine can be particularly troublesome for residents who suffer from chronic illnesses.
2) Daily Care
Violations might also occur within the general daily routine. In nearly all cases, staff members are assigned to help residents bathe, brush their teeth, and complete a number of other hygienic tasks. In some instances, staff members might also be charged with changing the bedding regularly. A lapse in basic hygiene can lead to discomfort, infection, and other maladies.
3) Food Quality
As with most other businesses that serve meals, assisted living centers can also be cited for a failure to store and serve food at the proper temperatures. Some residents must also adhere to specific diets. Diabetic men and women, for example, must be served food that keeps their blood sugar at the proper level. Any deviation from the approved menu items will be a serious violation.
4) Employee Health
In a community where many of the residents are suffering from weakened immune systems, employees can also be cited for failing to get inoculated against certain diseases. Tuberculosis can be especially problematic, which is why vaccinations are so important. In most facilities, staff members will also be required to get flu shots each year to protect the residents they are caring for. Lax oversight in this regard can get the facility in trouble with the higher authorities.
5) Emergency Plans
Lackluster emergency plans will also lead to citations. Because fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters can all crop up without warning, management teams need to have a viable evacuation plan in place. A failure to conduct readiness drills is generally frowned upon by state watchdog agencies. Facilities that have received even one citation will be expected to bring their operations up to code within the mandated timeframe.