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Ethics overshadowed by sales goals: “When death is better than a nursing home”

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California law requires assisted living residents who develop bed sores to be transferred to nursing home care. Despite their lack of medical credentials, CA’s Emerald Hills Assisted Living employees were directly and indirectly encouraged by Emeritus management to illegally treat bed sore wounds. The goal? Reduce move-out rates and maximize profit. Emeritus referred to this concept as “keeping the back door shut,” a company-wide policy that forced a number of assisted living employees to put the corporate push for profit above the well-being of their paying residents.

This extreme focus on the back door put the health of assisted living residents in danger across seven states, where records indicated Emeritus repeatedly housed seniors that needed a higher level of care. Emeritus ignored laws regarding housing sexually or physically aggressive individuals and wheelchair-bound seniors, putting many residents’ safety on the line. As a result of improper bed sore treatment, many residents developed severely infected wounds, some of which appeared like holes in the skin and required surgical procedures. In fact, the family of a California patient was not informed of her bed sores and deteriorating condition until they were so infected the bacteria had eaten through her skin and affected her spine. Eventually her death led to a multi-million-dollar law suit against Emeritus.

Read more about the case in the original article here.

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