Blurred Lines: Legal Responsibility for Adverse Events in Independent Living

February 23, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Independent-living facilities are often used as a first step in the aging services continuum of care where residents can use the help of a part-time aide for activities of daily living, but retain “independence" in terms of supervision. So what happens when an independent-living resident begins to show signs of decline into dementia, such as wandering? Who is responsible for sparking the conversation of increasing the level of care, and who is legally responsible for the result of adverse events? An article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on February 9, 2018, cites the death of an independent-living resident who wandered outside of her continuing care retirement community (CCRC) building in March 2017;  her death certificate cited “complications of hypothermia."

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