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Assisted Living Needs Assistance

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UTICA, N.Y., May 25, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- USA Today released results Tuesday of an investigation of U.S. assisted-living facilities for the elderly that reveals widespread and fatal problems.

The newspaper reviewed inspection records for 2000-02 on more than 5,300 assisted living facilities in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, New York and Texas.

About a million elderly live in such facilities in the United States. The facilities state-regulated, largely private-pay residences that help seniors with medication and other activities of daily life.

The USA Today analysis of inspection records found patterns of medication mistakes, as well as failures in staffing and training, sometimes with serious consequences:

-- More than 1 in 5 facilities inspected were cited by state monitors for at least one significant violation, a few of which are fatal.

-- More than 1 in 4 had been flagged for at least one training deficiency.

-- Nearly 1 in 5 had been cited for having too few employees on a work shift, failing to have a qualified administrator on-site or other violations. An Arizona woman with Alzheimer's disease died after she fell in 100-degree heat outside her facility at a time when all but one staffer were in a meeting.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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