Articles Posted in Dementia

shutterstock_16983095711-300x200Nursing home residents have the right to be free from any form of elder abuse and be treated with respect. The use of restraints when unwarranted can form part of nursing home abuse. In some valid cases, restraints are required to prevent residents from harming themselves and others. Overuse of restraints without consent is abusive. You may be eligible for legal action if you suspect your loved one was abused in a nursing home facility.

Types of Restraints Used in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes can use two types of restraints on residents for restricting their movement –
chemical and physical. Unfortunately, these restraints are used by staff that is often understaffed, overworked, and unwilling to use other effective safety measures. This is why both chemical and physical restraints can be considered nursing home abuse.

Falls are among the most common injuries in nursing homes among the elderly. Statistics show that nearly thousands of California and Washington residents succumb to fatal injuries because of fall-related injuries. Elderly people are at a greater risk of severe injuries because of osteoporosis, which can make the bones very fragile. This makes the injuries longer to heal and leaves them open to infections. https://www.consumerattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2022/01/Screen-Shot-2022-01-26-at-3.30.32-PM-300x195.png

Most Nursing Home Falls Go Unreported

The majority of nursing homes and care facilities don’t report fall accidents, even to the resident’s loved ones. On average, most accidents can be prevented with the right measures. However, short staffing and other measures of cutting costs prevent nursing home facilities from protecting their residents. Wandering is a leading cause of slip and fall accidents in nursing homes. Older individuals find it difficult to be conscious of their physical abilities. They may attempt to stand up and walk without knowing their capabilities. Medication plays another major role in fall accidents. There are certain psychotropic drugs and other medications that can impact normal brain functioning. These medications cause confusion, drowsiness, and sedation. Fall accidents because of medications are particularly common in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is described by the Alzheimer’s Association as “an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.” Indeed, there are a variety of types of dementia, depending upon the types of brain cells damaged, and where specifically that damage has occurred within the brain.

Regardless of the type of dementia an elder may have, it is important that symptoms are recognized as soon as possible in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your loved elder. Even if an elder is receiving care or assistance from a family member, in-home caregiver, or residing in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, it is still vital to recognize symptoms of mental decline in elders. This is partly due to the fact that unfortunately, it is believed elders who suffer from some form of dementia are thought to be at greater risk for abuse or neglect than elders who do not have some form of dementia.

In fact, according to one research brief released by the NCEA, three different international studies have found that the rates of elder abuse for elders with dementia ranges from 34%-62%.

Symptoms that a loved elder in your life may be developing dementia include cognitive changes and psychological changes. Some of these changes may include:

*Memory loss/problems
*Trouble choosing the right words
*Disorientation or getting lost
*Challenges in planning/organizing
*Coordination or motor function difficulties
*Agitation or paranoia
*Inappropriate behavior
*Lack of proper personal care and poor nutrition/eating habits
*Difficulty sleeping
*Injuries/personal safety problems

If you believe that a loved elder in your life is beginning to show symptoms of dementia, it is important to take action, though it’s advisable to tread lightly, per the helpful website DementiaToday.net, which provides DementiaToday.net for how to talk to a loved elder about your concerns.

If you have reason to believe that a loved elder with dementia is being abused physically, financially, psychologically, or sexually, it is important that you report your suspicions to the proper authorities:

• The local Law Enforcement, including the Police, Sheriff, and District Attorney’s office. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at (858) 565-5200. The San Diego County District Attorney may be reached at (619) 531-4040.
• Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program provide a 24/7 Crisis Complaint Hotline at (800) 231-4024.
• Adult Protective Services (APS), in San Diego County, you may contact: San Diego County Aging and Independent Services (858) 495-5660.

You may also want to seek the advice of an experienced San Diego elder abuse attorney who can inform you and your loved one of your rights.
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shutterstock_1741881821-300x199According to the World Health Organization, dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people. Dementia, which is a syndrome in which there is a deterioration in memory, behavior, and thinking, causes many who suffer from it to lose the ability to perform their regular activities.

Elders are stricken with dementia far more than any other age group. In many cases, dementia is the reason an elder moves into a nursing home. Dementia is also often to blame for what is known as “elopement” or in layman’s terms, wandering. Elders with dementia may develop wandering tendencies, wherein due to cognitive impairment, they begin to wander around their nursing home unsupervised and without an escort.

Wandering may lead to serious injury as the result of falling. In some cases, wandering has even led to death, in cases where residents have wandered outside of their residential facility. Though rare, wandering is dangerous enough that lawmakers included provisions to protect against it in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. The law required that nursing homes must provide residents with adequate supervision to prevent elderly patients from wandering. That means, of course, that nursing homes must be properly staffed.

https://www.consumerattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2022/02/Screen-Shot-2022-02-16-at-1.57.43-PM-300x198.pngIn a previous post, we suggested tips for confirming that a potential skilled nursing facility or residential nursing home has the appropriate staff to address the needs of elders with dementia. To recap, dementia is a syndrome with deterioration in memory, behavior, and thinking. This causes many who suffer from dementia to lose the ability to perform their regular activities. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, though there are multiple types of dementia.

Elders suffering from dementia need special care when they move into a long-term care facility such as a California nursing home. If you are considering helping to move a loved one with dementia into a nursing home, there are specific questions you will want to ask about the services provided for your loved one.

Questions should include:

shutterstock_1814268452-300x200Communication is key to any relationship. It is no different when it’s the relationship between nursing home residents and their caregivers. When you place your parent, spouse, or other loved one into a nursing home, you send them there with the expectation that they are in good hands. It is the responsibility of the staff to ensure that their needs are met. A big part of that has to do with talking to the resident; good communication will help put them at ease. This is true for all nursing home residents, but it’s especially critical for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nursing home staffers who interact with residents who have cognitive impairments should have special training in dealing with patients with these types of medical issues. This includes special knowledge of communication techniques because the residents function better with someone who can comprehend their mental limitations. Read on for helpful communication tips that you can use. You can also use this as a guide to watch nursing home staff and whether they are adequately communicating with your loved one.

Communication Tips for Caregivers in Nursing Homes

shutterstock_680112613-300x163Your loved one is having trouble remembering certain facts; they are disoriented and confused about a lot of details. It seems like they may have a condition beyond just aging memory issues and something more akin to developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It’s worth investigating whether your loved one needs Memory Care and if so what to look for in a nursing home that offers this type of specialized care.

What is Memory Care?

Memory Care differs from regular care at nursing homes or assisted living facilities because Memory Care is specifically designed for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Unlike an assisted living facility where a resident has enough independence to set their own schedules, (such as deciding when they will eat and when to engage in activities) a Memory Care facility is more like a nursing home in that the resident must have the staff manage their time and attend to their needs very closely.

shutterstock_1717046857-300x203When you and your family make the decision to place your elderly loved one into a nursing home, you want to have the reassurance that they are safe. This is especially true when they suffer from a cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia.  You rely on the facility to monitor them and to always know what they are doing. But what happens when the nursing home staff isn’t keeping a close eye on their residents and they move around freely or actually wander away? Read on to learn about what you should know about wandering and elopement in nursing homes.

How Does it Happen?

Wandering or elopement in nursing homes occurs when residents walk throughout the facility or even more troubling- wander outside of the home. This usually happens as a result of inadequate care likely because the staff isn’t watching or monitoring the residents closely. For example, a nursing home resident with dementia could be confused and believe that they need to complete a task, such as taking out the trash. They wander around the facility to try to find the garbage and then continue looking for more trash until they can finish the job.  At any time, a memory from the resident’s past can trigger them into action and the urge to leave the facility immediately. Meanwhile the staff members have no idea where this resident has gone. Specifically, this type of situation can stem from understaffing, improper training, or because the staff is not following protocol.

A recent study has found that a class of drugs known as anticholinergics may increase the risk of dementia in patients aged 55 years and older. Commonly used in antidepressants, antihistamines, and antimuscarinics, the drugs have long been associated with side effects like confusion and memory issues. The new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests more powerful side effects than medical professionals have previously understood.

As a report by the New York Times explains, anticholinergics encompass a variety of medications. Examples include clozapine, an antipsychotic; diphenhydramine, an antihistamine used in Benadryl, among other products; paroxetine, an antidepressant; tizanidine, a muscle relaxant; and scopolamine, an anti-nausea medication. Anticholinergics owe their wide range of applications to their function in blocking acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in nervous system functions like muscle regulation, respiratory activity, digestion, and the opening and contraction of blood vessels. “Older adults are more likely to be prescribed many of these medications,” the Times explained, “simply because they tend to have more health issues.”

The JAMA Internal Medicine study examined 58,769 patients who had been diagnosed with dementia, with 225,574 matched control patients. Researchers examined dementia patients’ medical records, scrutinizing what medications doctor prescribed them between eleven years and one year before they were diagnosed with dementia. The study took into account 56 separate anticholinergic drugs, accounting for the dosage patients were prescribed and the length they were prescribed the drugs in question. What researchers ultimately discovered was a 50% increase in the risk of dementia in patients “who used a strong anticholinergic drug daily for about three years within that 10-year period,” according to the Times. This risk was strongest in patients who used anticholinergics to treat depression, psychosis, epilepsy, and bladder regulation issues. The study also found a stronger association between anticholinergics and dementia in patients who received their dementia diagnoses before they reached 80 years of age, and in patients with vascular dementia in comparison to those with Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the World Health Organization, dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people. Dementia, which is a syndrome in which there is a deterioration in memory, behavior and thinking, causes many who suffer from it to lose the ability to perform their regular activities.

Elders are stricken with dementia far more than any other age group. In many cases, dementia is the reason an elder moves into a nursing home. Dementia is also often to blame for what is known as “elopement” or in layman’s terms, wandering. Elders with dementia may develop wandering tendencies, wherein due to cognitive impairment, they begin to wander around their nursing home unsupervised and without an escort.

Wandering may lead to serious injury as the result of falling. In some cases wandering has even led to death, in cases where residents have wandered outside of their residential facility. Though rare, wandering is dangerous enough that lawmakers included provisions to protect against it in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. The law required that nursing homes must provide residents with adequate supervision in effort to prevent elderly patients from wandering. That means of course, that nursing homes must be properly staffed.

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