Our local news today lead off with a nightmare headline – Man in hospital after shooting at local Retirement Community.
It’s a nightmare because families across the region worried whether or not the person shot was a resident, and when they learned it was a visitor to the long term care facility who had been seen brandishing a weapon, they wondered to themselves how on earth someone could get into the retirement community after hours with a gun.
Thankfully, it appears no residents were injured and the shots were fired by law enforcement there to protect the residents and staff.
Sadly, we are often contacted by families whose loved ones have been injured by physical assault in long term care communities.
Many communities have residents that are aggressive because of medical conditions (dementia, traumatic brain injury, etc.) and or have staff with criminal tendencies that have not been properly screened. Our office has handled numerous cases where residents have been sexually and physically assaulted by other patients and or staff. And the family always asks, how such a horrible event could really happen to an elderly loved one?
It happens when facilities do not properly screen their staff.
It happens when facilities do not properly monitor their patients.
It happens when patients with aggressive tendencies are allowed to remain in communities despite their danger to others.
It happens when facilities put dollars ahead of patient care.
It happens when not enough staff is hired to properly monitor patients.
While it seems this week’s headline reflects a facility responding quickly and appropriately, we have seen many cases where families are not as lucky.