Sam Bauman: Assisted-living firm spotlighted in report on PBS

Seniors with an interest if assisted living for relatives or themselves should look up the PBS report that aired last week. While it concentrates on one living-assistance company, Emeritus, it covers many areas of interest for those looking into assisted-living accommodations.

Emeritus is the largest company in the nation offering assisted-living housing. It doesn’t come off well in the Frontline/ProPublica story, particularly in the case of one resident who died of bedsores and lack of treatment, resulting in $23 million damages being awarded to the family. (The verdict is being appealed.)

PBS programs often are repeated, and you can find the next showtime at There’s a wealth of information about the AL life and some tips.

For instance, in the case of the woman with bedsores, a member of the family blamed himself for not checking on his mother’s comatose condition.

“I never pulled down her blankets or looked at her body under her nightdress,” he says regretfully in the report.

But how many of us would invade a loved one’s privacy? It’s something to consider, as well as making sure the patient is being given the right amount of medication.

Emeritus (definition, to earn by serving) has more than 400 facilities and a multi-billion-dollar income. It has no facility in Carson City but two in Reno. It has been the subject of many lawsuits and investigations but strongly defends its programs, including its “no back door” policy of retaining patients no matter if the patient’s condition is more suited for a nursing home. “Out the back door” could be taken to no discharge of patients until death.

As in all news reports, it’s a good idea to use the Frontline report as the beginning of a search about assisted living. While Frontline backs up everything in its story, you probably should go on from there to assure yourself of the information available.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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