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Death at Assisted Living Facility Points to Desperate Need for Better Regulations from the State
Date:6/22/2009

PHILADELPHIA, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- With yet another tragedy in the headlines, Pennsylvania residents can wait no longer for strong regulations to protect residents of our state's assisted living facilities.

Such regulations would prevent outrageous and dangerous practices such as those that forced the Department of Public Welfare to close the Cambridge Brightfield assisted living facility.

Earlier this month, an aide at the center in Hatfield, PA., was indicted for involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 79-year-old resident, Ronald Myers, there last October 9. She had fed Mr. Myers hot cereal, which severely scalded his lips, tongue, and mouth. He could not speak and was left untreated for nearly a day and died several days later as a result of his burns. The employee was fired and the facility was soon prohibited from taking in new residents, but it was far too late to save Mr. Myers.

"Pennsylvania must regulate assisted living facilities so that they provide quality care for a wide range of residents in an environment that supports their independence, choice and health," said Alissa Halperin, Senior Attorney and Deputy Director of Policy Advocacy at the Pennsylvania Health Law Project and director of the PA Assisted Living Consumer Alliance. "This is not the first time when medical care has been urgently needed but not immediately provided in a personal care or assisted living facility. And, this is not the first time reportable incidents have gone unreported to the state licensing agency."

While Pennsylvania has stringent minimum training hours and testing requirements before one can become a hairdresser, make-up artist, land surveyor, barber or auctioneer, Pennsylvania does not yet have any minimum hours of training with testing that one must undergo to be a direct care worker in an assisted living facility. There was even a bill pending in the legislature last session that would h
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SOURCE PA Assisted Living Consumer Alliance
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