Documentary Paints Picture of Unregulated Assisted Living "Hellholes"

While making the decision to move a loved one into an assisted living facility can be agonizing in itself, trying to figure out if some of these unregulated facilities are in actuality neglectful hellholes that could end up killing them is even more excruciating.


In a recent Frontline/ProPublica documentary called Life and Death in Assisted Living, which first aired on TV over the summer and will be released on DVD on October 1, the filmmakers investigate one of the top assisted living providers in the United States.

In the documentary, it is shown that even the basic level of care isn’t afforded to some residents of Emeritus’ massive national chain of assisted living facilities. Emeritus, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, is so large that its revenue topped $1.6 billion last year.

The documentary reporter interviews multiple family members who report serious neglect at this chain of high-priced assisted living homes. He found from multiple families that after only a few days of living in these facilities, their loved ones appeared soiled and unwashed, drugged, or had suffered a fall. The residents all died either while at Emeritus or shortly after leaving, and the documentary makes the case that each death resulted from improper care at Emeritus.

On woman froze to death on Christmas Day. Another woman developed what the courts ruled were fatal bedsores in just 19 days. A man wandering through an unsupervised wing poisoned himself by drinking caustic dish washing liquid. For more, read the story.

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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