Why Dementia Patients?
According to the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and the Alzheimer’s Society, elderly individuals suffering from a form of dementia are easy targets for nursing home negligence because of their:
- Memory Loss: It’s possible they could forget that a negative incident with a nursing home worker occurred.
- Loss of Communication Skills: Patients with dementia may be unable or afraid to report an incident of abuse.
- Impaired Judgment: Since these patients are in a home for dementia, their stories might not be taken seriously by the staff.
Per data from the Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, the prevalence rate of abuse and neglect among dementia patients can be as high as 55 percent in some nursing homes across the country.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Although there are dozens of ways that a nursing home worker can abuse his or her power over patients, the following are common for patients with dementia:
- Emotional Abuse: Occurs when a patient is yelled at or otherwise verbally threatened.
- Psychological Abuse: When a patient becomes mentally distressed or depressed.
- Physical Abuse: Leaves bruises or sores on the patient, or you notice signs of malnutrition.
- Financial Abuse: Money and other valuables are stolen from the patient’s room.
- Restraints Abuse: Bed restraints may be used on dementia patients to prevent self-harm, but can be tied too tightly on purpose.
- Neglect: A nurse fails to bathe or feed a patient, openly defying the standard of care.
If you’re worried that your loved one may be experiencing nursing home abuse, first look for the physical signs. Changes in behavior can be hard to detect in elderly people with dementia, but you can check for signs of physical abuse on the body. Financial abuse can also be detected during a visit, by checking the room for missing items.
If you’re placing your loved one with Alzheimer’s in a nursing home, be sure to thoroughly investigate the home prior to admission. Or, possibly consider in-home caregiving options if this allows you to visit more often or be in more control of the care provided.
If you already have a loved one in a nursing home and suspect neglect, contact Trantolo & Trantolo’s team of nursing home negligence lawyers to pursue your claim today.