Distasio Law Firm - April 2020

APR 2020

(813) 259-0022 | www.distasiofirm.com LIFE & THE LAW

The Imperfect System of Assisted Living Requires You to Be an Advocate

especially when they have severe dementia, is extremely difficult. Degenerative brain diseases steal people’s abilities to complete the most basic of tasks for themselves. At that point, how do you know whether to blame the facility or the disease? There’s no right answer. In the case of my father, he can’t get out of bed without assistance or walk without a walker, and he often forgets where he is or who the people around him are. Last time I visited, he had a difficult time remembering who I was. The truth is that my father is not the same person I used to know. But that doesn’t mean I love him any less. I love him tremendously, and I want him to be taken care of in ways that I can’t provide. So, when we learned that his assisted living facility had not only allowed him to fall and hurt himself on multiple occasions, but also failed to report them to my family, we stood firm on one side of that line and made the decision to move my father to a another facility. Those moments of brief clarity don’t happen often in this system, but when they do, you have to remain vigilant afterward. In my father’s new ALF, Faith and I have become his biggest advocate. To prevent falls and reduce injury, Faith made them lower his bed, remove the table from his bedside so he can’t hit his head on it, and place padding on the floor as a precaution. The staff would not have ever

I’ve previously written in this newsletter about my father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. He now lives in an assisted living facility (ALF), and placing him there was a difficult decision to make because I’ve had so many clients come to me to fight on behalf of their loved ones who have been wronged in nursing homes and ALFs with low-quality care. It’s been an eye-opening experience for me to be on the other side of this delicate scenario, and if there’s anything it has confirmed for me, it’s that the relatives are the best people to protect their loved ones. homes. Their care regimens aren’t properly adhered to, their activities are inadequately reported to their family members, and above all, it just seems like some managers at these facilities don’t care about their patients as much as they should. It’s frustrating and worrisome to learn that the care you’re paying for isn’t up to the standards expected and promised. There’s a strangely drawn line that you dance across often when you’re in this situation. Part of you knows this system we have of caring for older folks has a lot of flaws. There are problems with overcrowding, understaffing, insufficient training, and improper reporting. But the other part of you knows that caring for these patients, For years, clients have told me about their loved ones not receiving proper care in nursing

taken these steps on their own, but they did it for my father because we directly requested it. My only hope is that they think to do the same for others. There may never be a cure to the heart- wrenching disease that is dementia. Until there’s headway in medicine, vigilance is the best path forward. If you have loved ones in nursing homes whose care you’re concerned about, be their investigator and advocate. Don’t be afraid to speak up and make demands. Educate yourself on proper interventions, and let nursing home and ALF staff members know what they are. Put the pressure on. Having to take these extra steps may not feel fair, but it’s necessary if you’re adamant about protecting those you love.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP A referral is the greatest compliment you could ever give us. If you know someone in need of our services, we welcome the opportunity to help. Please pass along this newsletter and tell them to give us a call at (813) 259-0022. We greatly appreciate it.



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