Studies Show Dementia Patients Are Abused in Nursing Homes
Dementia patients sometimes find it difficult to communicate and remember instructions. However, it should not invite measures such as nursing home abuse to occur. Yet, studies have shown that nursing home residents with dementia are frequently abused. Let’s look at this growing issue and ways that families can determine if it is happening to their loved ones.
Problems With Dementia Patients
Human Rights Watch issued a statement about this issue. They reported that many dementia patients are abused every day. Nursing homes care for roughly 75 percent of Alzheimer’s patients every year. Reports are rarely made. However, at the same time, reports of general abuse in nursing homes are rising. In fact, roughly 90 percent of nursing home residents say they have been abused or they have witnessed other patients being abused. On top of this, over 5,000 death certificates report the deceased was suffering from malnutrition, starvation and dehydration. Acts such as putting two diapers on a patient to neglect washing the resident, striking and restraining them have frequently been reported.
Nursing Homes Drug Patients to Make Them Docile
Statistics show that 200,000 residents or more are administered antipsychotic drugs every day. The medications are not given to those displaying psychotic tendencies but to keep the nursing home residents docile.
The patients are not given the right of informed consent even if they are still able to understand. The families are also not given information about the use of the drugs and their side effects and other considerations before they are administered. Nor are they told of the risks associated with the antipsychotics. In some cases, the drugs are administered against the resident’s cries for help.
Common Examples of Nursing Home Abuse
Reports show that roughly one to two million nursing home residents with dementia are abused each year. Some types of abuse are:
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse
- Use of unnecessary antipsychotic drugs
- Lack of physical care
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Lack of staff with special-skills training
Families Need to Be Vigilant for Dementia-Related Nursing Home Abuse
Families and close friends are the front lines against nursing home abuse. Some things they can watch out for are:
- Rapidly emerging health problems that were not there before
- Inability to communicate with family members without evidence of a stroke or other medical reason for the behavior
- Aggressive behavior that is new
- Mood swings that are becoming more evident
- Keeping to themselves and not engaging with other residents
The Right to Refuse
Many times, other residents report that dementia patients are being abused. The problem is that the over-sedated dementia residents don’t have the ability to report this for themselves since the meds make them sedated and confused. Studies show that many residents who are receiving antipsychotic meds beg the staff not to give them their next dose. Federal regulations prevent this type of abuse and obligate the nursing home staff to obtain consent.
Morris Law Firm in South Carolina
If a family member with dementia is being abused, you need the legal insight an experienced lawyer can provide. Call the Morris Law Firm to schedule a free case review at (843) 232-0944, or use our convenient contact us form.