Staff Ignores Requests From Residents; Dead Body is Found Five Days Later

Residents of the assisted-living center say that staff there ignored requests to check on an elderly woman who was found dead in her apartment this week. The resident, is believed to have died in her apartment at the assisted living facility, sometime after Oct. 26. Her body was discovered Monday, November 2, in the evening after a resident told the staff that some of the residents clothes had been sitting in the laundry room for at least five days. A police report indicates the resident may have died of cardiac arrest.

Other residents at the facility said that before the body was found, they had complained for days that someone needed to check on her. Signs that there may have been a problem included the fact that woman hadn't been seen by her friends, her car was in the facility's parking lot, she wasn't responding to phone calls, her apartment door had been left unlocked and a foul odor emanated from her room.

The services available to the woman at the facility included a button to push to summon on-site assistance in an emergency. One official for the company which owns the facility said she may have been dead for only two days before she was found. "But frankly, whether she was dead for five days or one day is not the issue," he said. "There was no expectation that she was to be checked daily. That's not part of the rules we are governed under."

Like many assisted-living centers, the facility is owned not by a health care company, but by a real estate developer. These types of centers are more loosely regulated than nursing homes and generally provide less actual care.

Despite several residents claims that they had asked staff to check on the woman, the staff say they received only one request to check on her, and that was Monday when her body was found. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.


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