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Walkaway deaths, staff shortages, and for-profit management: Ed Dudensing warns against California’s looming senior care crisis

May 13, 2024
Originally published by

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging is investigating “walkaway deaths” at assisted living facilities, where residents wander off or are left unattended, leading to fatal outcomes. Senator Bob Casey sent letters to CEOs of major assisted living facility corporations, particularly in California, regarding reports of workforce shortages and inadequate care.

According to renowned elder abuse attorney Ed Dudensing, these deaths can be caused by exposure to inclement weather, pedestrian accidents, lack of access to vital medicine and other situations where elderly people are especially vulnerable.

The issue is especially critical for California due to its climbing elderly population, with over 6.1 million residents aged 65+, many of whom will soon enter the care of assisted living facilities. Assisted living facilities are a crucial part of the healthcare industry but often face staffing shortages and lower training requirements compared to skilled nursing facilities, posing significant risks to residents.

Private equity firms have increasingly invested in assisted living facilities, driven by profitability. Research suggests that when private equity firms acquire healthcare facilities, patients face higher risks and lower quality of care.

“Californians have long prioritized access to quality health care. We need to encourage federal, state and local governments to take a vested interest in the required quality of care at assisted living facilities, and advocate for the rights of those who are no longer able to advocate for themselves,” said Dudensing.

Dudensing Law currently is representing family members in a lawsuit against Colony Capital (now known as DigitalBridge), Formation Capital, and others, regarding a walkaway death in which the victim walked out of a 2nd floor door that was unarmed and unalarmed, fell down a flight of stairs, and froze to death outside. Walkaway deaths like this are simply unacceptable.

Read full article on Cal Matters