Some may not consider safety of nursing home buildings themselves

People in New York who have relatives who are living in nursing homes must rely on the ability of the care facility to care for their loved ones. It can be difficult to cede day-to-day responsibility for the care and well-being of a parent or grandparent, but many people who do so often feel better knowing that their loved ones are being looked after by professional caregivers.

What some people might not consider is the safety of the facility itself. Much space has been devoted to holding accountable neglectful or malicious treatment by employees, but sometimes the physical environment of a care facility can be a hidden danger in and of itself.

For example, it might be assumed that any facility operating today has an automatic sprinkler system. However, this was only implemented as a federal requirement in the summer of 2008. Even then, operators of nursing homes were given an additional five years to comply with the regulations — a period that expired this summer.

Even with this generous extended deadline, at least 1,000 facilities around the country still do not have fully automatic systems. While many of the facilities included in this number have at least some sprinklers — such as in common areas or in places susceptible to fires such as kitchens — reports show that more than 100 facilities still have no sprinklers at all.

Obviously, because of their limited mobility, nursing home patients are particularly vulnerable topremises liability issues such as fires. People who have been affected by situations similar to this may wish to speak with a New York premises liability attorney.

Source: The New York Times, “Many Nursing Homes Operate Without Adequate Sprinkler Systems,” Paula Span, Sept. 30, 2013

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