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can dehydration cause delirium
An altered mental status is a difficult condition for nursing home residents to manage on their own, especially when symptoms can present slowly and brushed off for age-related memory loss, stress, medication side-effects, lack of sleep, or other conditions like dementia. Delirium, sometimes referred to as “sundowning” or “psychosis”, is one of those conditions that if misdiagnosed or treated with overmedication, can worsen quickly with irreversible outcomes including long-term cognitive impairments.

Delirium has been defined by The American Delirium Society (ADS) as a state of confusion that comes on very suddenly and lasts hours to days. If a nursing home resident becomes delirious, they may have hallucinations, disorganized thinking, difficulty understanding daily tasks, and inability to pay attention and be unaware of their environment or trust of the people in it. Delirium affects nearly 18% of long-term care residents and has a staggering 40% one-year mortality rate.

Nursing homes have been known to manage residents with disruptive behaviors in less productive ways, and many things can make delirium (and other mental conditions) worse, such as:

nursing home staff ignoring dementia symptoms

Identifying Dementia Warning Signs in Nursing Home Residents

Dementia denial from caregivers is real and dangerous. And unfortunately, many nursing home owners find it easier to have staff ignore the warning signs of declining cognitive abilities rather than provide additional support. Dementia diagnoses can also be missed when overworked, and poorly resourced care teams are not trained to evaluate struggling residents who require extra supervision and management of their daily activities, medications, and financial needs. Eventually, these residents need to move to a 24-hour assisted specialized environment to keep them safe, especially as their disease progresses into later stages. Family members and friends are typically the first to request help after noticing a loved one’s behavioral changes or one or more of the concerning events listed below.

#1. Early Stage Memory Loss

antipsychotic drugs causing further injury

Drug Overuse Is Prevalent in Nursing Home Residents with Alzheimer’s

Antipsychotic drugs are sometimes given to patients living in long-term care facilities to calm behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s or memory and behavior illnesses. They are also overly prescribed to residents who may be marked unruly or disruptive. Care staff are known to seek out specific medications to make these patients easier to handle, or quiet them and make them sleepy. Doctors may rely heavily on the recommendation of nurses and other care staff when making these medication decisions.

These drugs can be dangerous when used without a physician or family’s knowledge or consent, a haphazard tactic given that the mismanagement of these drugs has been known to cause sudden death. This practice, also known as chemical restraint, is unfortunately not new although Federal law prohibits the use of antipsychotic drugs or psychoactive drugs solely for the convenience of medical staff, and to sedate a patient. Additionally, consent must be given in order to use chemical restraints.

nursing home residents with dementia

Discussion Questions for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. For the millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with the debilitating memory and behavior illness – life is not easy. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, those with declining cognitive abilities impact an estimated 230,000 people in Illinois, which is expected to rise nearly 13 percent by 2025. Dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, is one of the only top-10 causes of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed. While the issue is important every month, June is a special time to push greater education and raise support for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

  1. Is dementia the same as Alzheimer’s?

covid-19 nursing home residents questions

10 Questions to Ask Your Loved One Quarantined in a Nursing Home

Many family members remain profoundly concerned about how their loved ones are doing while being confined to their nursing homes, without regular visitors and routine inspections to keep up on safeguards to ensure their care is not failing. While this is not an easy time for anyone and distancing remains the most critical measure when dealing with nursing home residents, there may be small things you can do to ease any anxiety or identify the warning signs that something may not be right. The next time you speak with your family member or friend who is a resident, be sure to ask these questions.

  1. What do you know about coronavirus or COVID-19?

covid-19 in cicero

Town of Cicero Sues City View Multicare Center for Lack of Coronavirus-Related Infection Control Measures

On May 1, the Town of Cicero filed a scathing complaint against City View Multicare Center, LLC, the State of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Governor JB Pritzker, in his official capacity. The complaint came after Cicero officials and essential workers became aware of a “troubling uptick in illness at City View” along with concerning conditions at City View that started nearly two months prior to the pandemic. According to town reports, the complaint timeline for a series of dangerous coronavirus related events impacting the community goes as follows.

March 30:

financial abuse of elderly in nursing homes

Finding Out If Someone Is Stealing Your Loved One’s Money

The Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans has reported nearly $1.7 billion worth of suspicious activities, including actual losses and attempts to steal older adults’ funds. Unfortunately, the elderly, especially nursing home residents, are easy victims of financial abuse. And officials say these occurrences likely only represent a small fraction of elder financial abuse incidences. Family members or someone the victim may know, such as a long-term care facility worker, are too often the guilty party in these cases.

Financial losses are almost always more significant when the older adult knows the suspect. In 2017, the average loss per person was about $50,000 when the older adult knew the suspect and $17,000 when the suspect was a stranger. This is because residents may be very trusting to their caregivers and family members. In addition, the National Council on Aging estimates that more than 20 percent of nursing home residents are victims of financial abuse, and residents who suffer from memory disorders such as dementia are taken advantage of more often. These patients have trusting behaviors and cognitive disabilities, making them highly susceptible to the exploitation or mismanagement of their personal funds.

what are the stages and signs of dementia
An increase in those with declining cognitive abilities – such as dementia – affects an estimated 230,000 people in Illinois, according to the state’s Alzheimer’s Association. That number is expected to increase by 13 percent by 2025. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that can move slowly and requires unique support for individuals in each of the three stages: early (mild), middle (moderate), and late (severe). Many of the steps can overlap and symptoms become identified as dementia, which is the mental decline that accompanies Alzheimer’s patients.

  1. Early-stage Alzheimer’s (mild) 

In this stage, a person may still live independently, be employed, and have close relationships with friends and family. Their symptoms may not be as noticeable to them, but those close to them may start to identify early signs such as:

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