Assisted Living Facility's Staff Sleeps Through Patient's Death

Staff at an assisted living facility told the family of a woman she died peacefully in her sleep.  The woman's family became suspicious and learned she rolled off of her bed, and she died when her head became caught between her mattress and bedrails.  The family also discovered, with help from security videotapes, that staff had not been supervising the woman as they claimed, but had slept through their shift.  The aide directly responsible for the woman's care slept for five straight hours while her patient was trapped in her bedrails.  Read more about the facility's sleeping staff.  

The facility's ownership claimed it "will take any action deemed necessary to ensure that residents remain safe" including "personnel changes, additional staff training and a review of policies that affect resident safety."  You mean staff has to be trained to stay awake?  An assisted living facility needs to have "policy reviews" to remind staff not to fall asleep?  If they can't stay awake when the safety and well-being of their patients is on the line, what makes the facility's owners think these aides will make it through staff training and a policy review without dozing off?!?  

This woman's safety was ignored while the facility's staff slept.  She was, according to her family, a "wonderful and precious lady and she didn't deserve to be treated this way."  The bitter end to this sad story is the sleepless nights that lie ahead for this woman's family as they grieve.
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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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