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Nursing Homes Must Account for Dementia Risks

A common theme in many tragic nursing home neglect cases is the vulnerability of the residents involved. For example, our Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys know from experience that residents with cognitive challenges–like dementia–are far more likely to be hurt in one way or another when they receive inadequate support at a long-term care facility. These stories are tragic not only because of the harm suffered by the residents–anything from serious injury to death–but also because caregivers know of the vulnerabilities and are charged specifically with taking the issue into account.

Resident-on-resident violence, wandering, and elopement are common instances of neglect that our Illinois nursing home lawyers have seen over the years disproportionately affecting residents with dementia. There is simply no excuse for facilities failing to protect these vulnerable individuals.

More About Dementia
Most have heard of dementia and understand that it relates to mental challenges seen in seniors. But the details of the condition are less well-known.

The term is somewhat fluid, without specific criteria–often generally referring to loss of cognitive ability beyond that what would be expected by normal aging. In other words, dementia is not a specific disease but a “non-specific illness syndrome” that is identified by the onset of symptoms. MD Guidelines explains that symptoms must usually be present for 6 months or so before an actual diagnosis is made. Those symptoms are far reaching, involving things like language, attention, memory, and problem-solving skills. All of the cognitive challenges make day to day living difficult (and dangerous) for the affected individual. Extra care, above and beyond what a family member can provide, is often needed when the symptoms build.

It is hard to overestimate the seriousness of the symptoms, particularly in their later stages. Around the clock care is critical at these times. It is not uncommon for those with dementia to eventually have trouble knowing where they are or even who they are. Obviously, if staff members at an assisted living facility do not provide around-the-clock support for those with these challenges there is a high potential for harm.

Dementia can be categorized in many different ways. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, but there are many others like vascular dementia, semantic dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. About one in ten patients actually have “mixed dementia” with multiple forms of the problem existing at the same time.

It is not an isolated problem that affects a few–millions of Americans continue to face this condition in their later years. Beyond cancer, many public health studies have identified dementia as one of the leading health concerns in the country. It is no wonder why residents are concerned about dementia–it can wreck havoc on the lives of the one affected and their family.

Our Chicago elder abuse lawyers appreciate that the situation is made even worse when the condition is not taken into account by caregivers, resulting in serious injury If you or a loved one is affected by poor care of a resident with dementia, be sure to get in touch with legal professionals to share your story.

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