Is Your Loved One Facing Incapacity or Dementia in a Nursing Home?
Many nursing home related cases we handle involve older people who suffer from dementia. There are various forms of dementia, but each instance affects people in the exact same way: it impairs cognitive abilities. Essentially though, dementia impacts a person’s ability to live their daily life, and people afflicted with the disease no longer have the same control over their bodies that they used to. Because of this, dementia sufferers are extremely vulnerable to falls or other injuries. Unfortunately for many, the disease gets to a point where someone in pain might not even be able to say that they’re hurting.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about half of all nursing home or assisted living facility residents have some form of dementia. Physical injuries from slip and falls aren’t the only way these people get hurt. Many dementia sufferers are also prone to malnourishment because of not eating enough (or at all) or not drinking enough fluids.
The Alzheimer’s Association has helpful resources to educate care providers on how best to care for people suffering from dementia. Recommendations listed below for caring for dementia patients were endorsed by dozens of leading health care and senior citizen organizations.
Care Recommendations from the Alzheimer’s Association
Phase 1 – Screening and preventative systems get implemented for nutritional care.
Malnutrition and dehydration cause a number of health problems. These health problems can become painful, which is troublesome for a dementia sufferer who might not be able to say what hurts and where. Dementia patients suffering pain are more likely to act out, which often leads to over-medicating these patients. This is why the Alzheimer’s Association recommends pain get treated as a vital sign like blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature. The social interaction with dementia patients that takes place during the screening can also improve their quality of life and well-being.
Phase 2 – Mobility and the use of restraints
The Alzheimer’s Association believes people with cognitive-ability impairments should remain mobile. Any moving around these patients do should be under the supervision of caregivers to reduce the risk of slip and falls or other injuries. The Association suggests that restraints not be used often because restraints tend to injure patients, causing more harm that safety. Of course, how well this recommendation works depends on how well trained and staffed long-term care facilities are.
Care is the Responsibility of the Facility
Implementing the Alzheimer’s Association recommendations for dementia patient care is essential to lowering the risks of injuries to these vulnerable people. Having the trained staff, adequate facilities, and correct equipment to keep dementia patients from wandering is important to keeping people safe.
Long-term care facilities that don’t put these recommendations in place – either by choice or due to limitations of the facility – should not be caring for patients who don’t have the mental or cognitive abilities to care for themselves. Facilities that do follow the Alzheimer’s Association recommendations will be doing a lot to improve the lives of our seniors.
File a Jacksonville Nursing Home Injury Claim on Behalf of A Loved One with Dementia
People with dementia can be particularly susceptible to all types of abuse at a nursing home—physical, sexual, and financial. Nursing home staff can easily explain away the injuries and allegations of a patient as a result of their condition. If you suspect a loved one with dementia is being abused by nursing home staff, you need to be their advocate and take action. Since the patient’s mind may not be a reliable enough to tell you what’s happening to them or testify in court, it may be up to you to collect evidence and witness statements.
If you notice physical injuries it is important that you document them and take pictures. Also listen to the statements your loved one makes, because people suffering from dementia can have moments of lucidity, especially after a traumatic event. Talk to other patients at the nursing home who aren’t mentally impaired, because they may have witnessed the abuse. We advise visiting the nursing home often, unexpected, and at different times of the day. If you seriously think abuse is occurring, you need to contact a qualified nursing home abuse attorney.
Get the Legal Help You Need from our Jacksonville Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Farah & Farah has handled nursing home abuse cases throughout Florida for years. If you suspect an elderly loved one is suffering any kind of abuse, don’t hesitate to contact our Jacksonville elder abuse attorneys. We know the law, and we’re here to help. Contact us at 855-797-9899.