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Assisted Living Facility Fire Sends Resident to Hospital

By Josh Silverman on January 05, 2014


WWBT 12 news reports that a fire at a south Richmond assisted living facility has sent a resident to the hospital.  Fortunately it sounds like there were no serious injuries.  The story brings up an overlooked issue with assisted living facilities in the Richmond area namely the condition of the property.

We usually think about nursing home and assisted living facility negligence in the context of specific patient care.  However, injuries and loss of life can come from dilapidated buildings.  The following are examples of cases I've handled:

  • Woman died of hypothermia due to a Richmond assisted living facility that was inadequately heated.  The case settled the afternoon before trial;
  • Man falls out a third floor window of a Richmond assisted living facility.  He was placed in a locked unit due to severe schizophrenia, but the windows were known to be unsecured.  He suffered a broken back and punctured lung, but was fortunate to have survived.  The case settled about a month before trial.
  • Similarly a woman in a Henrico County assisted living facility falls from the second floor.  The unit was supposed to be secured, but the windows were easily opened.  She suffered fractures to both ankles

If you are selecting an assisted living facility for a loved one, look carefully at the condition of the property.  Does it have a sprinkler system?  If your loved one will be in a secured/dementia unit, check the windows and doors to make sure they are secure.  Pay attention to whether the building is kept at a comfortable temperature.

Ultimately you need to pay as much attention to the physical plant as you would if you were renting a house or an apartment.  If fact you want to be even more careful because your loved one is far more vulnerable than you.

Best regards,

Josh Silverman

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