Dementia patients and those with Alzheimer’s are a growing segment of the population. In fact, as many as 5.1 million U.S. citizens over age 65 have some form of dementia. That number grows to more than half the population of people over age 85. According to the NCEA (National Center on Elder Abuse) people with dementia are at a higher risk for elder abuse than others. Much of the abuse that occurs to the elderly happens at nursing homes or other long term care facilities. Patients with reduced mental capacity are much more likely to be abused than those with full faculties.
Elder Abuse Risks
The elderly may face abuse at an alarming rate. Abuse may be verbal, physical, or mental. Those patients with a disability or who are mentally debilitated are obviously at greater risk because they generally are not able to properly report the problem. Additionally, they may not even realize that they are being abused. Victims of nursing home abuse have an increased incidence of health problems, which may be related to the mistreatment. While they face immediate harm, which may include bruises or broken bones, they also have raised occurrence of digestive disorders, depression, anxiety, pain, high blood pressure, and heart ailments.
Discovering Nursing Home Abuse
As a family member you want your loved one to be safe and protected at all times. The signs of nursing home abuse can be difficult to spot and are especially so with a patient who is suffering with dementia. The patient cannot be relied on to provide any reliable details and often is unable to let others know about the occurrence of abuse. It is therefore necessary to understand some of the signs of nursing home abuse. These include such things as:
· Bruises, cuts, or broken bones · Patient is abnormally anxious or agitated · Patient becomes unruly · Patient is withdrawn · Increased occurrence of problems
It is necessary to make sure that you visit the facility on a regular basis and at various times. Get to know the regular caregivers. If you are contacted because of an incident, be sure to gather all the information and understand exactly what happened.
How to Handle Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse creates a difficult and emotional situation. Remember that you are the advocate for your loved one and must take steps to make sure that the problem is resolved and your relative is safe from further harm. Discuss the situation with a qualified nursing home abuse attorney. Your lawyer will assist in investigating the report and determining how to proceed. Be sure to report the abuse as soon as possible after it has occurred. If you are uncertain if abuse has happened it is best to err on the side of caution. Take appropriate action because abuse may often continue and even escalate if it goes unnoticed.
If you think a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse contact Levin & Perconti as soon as possible. Contact Levin & Perconti for a free consultation today.
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