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Alzheimer’s Home Fined Over $20,000 and Sued for Unsafe Staffing

By Paul da Costa on June 30, 2015


If you have a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, you would want to find them the best care you could, right?  You would want them to be comfortable and feel at home.  Perhaps most importantly, you would want them to be well cared for and safe.

Memory Care Living, a chain of group homes for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, operates 13 suburban-style homes in New Jersey.  Each home has 15 or 16 private bedrooms, with aides who provide personal care, as opposed to medical care.  The company is facing more than $20,000 in fines for violating staffing regulations that were enacted in 2013 for safety purposes, according to NorthJersey.com

As Memory Care Living was allowed to admit more residents with mobility issues, it was required to hire more aides.  Residents with limited mobility need more assistance.  In the event of an emergency, those residents would be unable to evacuate the home by themselves and would need the help of an aide.  In one example of the company’s failure to follow regulations, the Woodcliff Lake facility was fined $5,000 by state inspectors in January for having only two aides working per shift for ten limited-mobility residents.  The regulations required five aides for that number of residents. 

Memory Care Living markets its homes as designed for “safe wandering” by its residents.  Since 2003, though, the company has had problems with residents exiting the building unsupervised and unnoticed.  As a result, it is facing lawsuits from the families of former residents of the home for failing to provide sufficient supervision. 

A recent bill proposes to transfer regulatory authority over New Jersey’s dementia care homes from the Community Affairs Department to the Health Department.  Inspectors from the Health Department have medical training, whereas the current inspectors only have training in building and safety.  The bill has passed in the Assembly and cleared a Senate committee, and it was reviewed by another committee earlier this week.  Rather than shut these homes down, the bill would keep the homes safe.

If you think you may have a nursing home malpractice claim, contact Paul M. da Costa, Esq. at Snyder & Sarno, LLC.  Mr. da Costa is experienced in handling all kinds of medical malpractice cases, including negligence cases against nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities.  Call Mr.da Costa today at (973) 274-5200.

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