Dementia and Nursing Home Abuse
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of 2016 there were an estimated 15,600 nursing homes operating in the United States that included well over one million residents. Of the total nursing homes in the United States, 69.3 percent are for-profit institutions. Because of the drive to make money, many nursing homes cut corners at the expense of providing quality care to residents.
Unfortunately, there is an increase in the amount of nursing home abuse of patients with dementia, who are particularly vulnerable. The intersection between dementia and nursing home abuse continues to grow throughout the United States. At The Mark Casto Law Firm, P.C., we handle numerous nursing home negligence cases, and have helped clients seek and obtain compensation for their pain and suffering, and justice against nursing homes.
What Is Dementia?
According to the CDC, dementia is an overall term for the inability of someone to think clearly or make proper decisions. A person suffering from dementia has cognitive challenges that often interfere with daily activities. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Most individuals affected by dementia are older, and the group of conditions is not considered a “part of normal aging.”
Prevalence of Dementia in the United States
The CDC reports that approximately five million adults over the age of sixty-five suffer from some form of dementia, and the numbers are expected to climb over the next few decades, with numbers projected to be approximately 14 million by 2060. Factors that contribute to the development of dementia include the following:
- Family History;
- Poor Heart Health; and
- Prior Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Additional health conditions may contribute to the development of dementia, and research is ongoing to identify all potential causes. By finding causes, experts can hopefully identify preventative measures or a cure.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is a crime, and can occur when a person or party, such as a company, commits an act that breaches the duty of care owed to their residents. When that breach of the duty of care causes an elderly nursing home resident to sustain injuries, the victim may have the legal right to seek justice and to hold the negligent party accountable by filing a lawsuit.
In the context of nursing home abuse, physicians, nurses, and other nursing home staff members are held to a heightened standard of care that applies to similarly situated professionals in the nursing home setting. As such, healthcare professionals must ensure they are taking all precautions to provide adequate care to residents that does not fall below the standard of care and lead to patient injuries. Nursing home abuse can occur through physical, emotional, sexual or financial means. Residents with dementia are particularly vulnerable due to their cognitive challenges and inability to remember their abuse.
Dementia and Nursing Home Abuse
While dementia patients can be more challenging to work with, nursing homes exist specifically to handle residents who can be difficult at times. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, common factors that contribute to abuse against dementia patients in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, include the following:
- Poor training of staff;
- Lack of research and understanding of dementia; and
- Poor working conditions.
Many nursing home workers learn on the job or have little experience in the long-term care setting before starting in a nursing home. Many nursing homes are understaffed, and rather than pay existing employees more, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities tend to keep pay rates low. As such, many workers lack an incentive to provide the best care they can to residents. When nursing homes fail to properly train their staff, or fail to keep adequate staff members onsite, nursing home residents with dementia are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
Examples of Abuse Suffered by Dementia Patients in Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents with dementia are not always aware of what they are experiencing. In the nursing home setting, dementia residents are at risk of sustaining various types of abuse, with psychological abuse being the most common.
In addition to psychological abuse, dementia patients in nursing homes also may experience physical abuse and sexual abuse. With no way to say no, complain to family members, or report abuse to superiors, dementia patients in nursing homes cannot tell their stories. Only when loved ones begin to suspect abuse does the true story of a horrific situation often come to light.
Victims of nursing home abuse and concerned loved ones deserve transparency when placing the care of a dementia patient in a very expensive nursing home. While abuse cannot be undone, the Georgia legal system provides injured and abused victims with a way to seek recourse by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Consider visiting with the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at The Mark Casto Law Firm, P.C. to seek justice for your loved one.
If you suspect a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you have the option to speak with a Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss potential legal options. At The Mark Casto Law Firm, P.C., we advocate for the severely injured and neglected. Our nursing home abuse lawyers have vast experience handling tough personal injury cases.
Find out if you or a loved one has a potential legal claim by contacting The Mark Casto Law Firm, P.C. today. Our legal team will provide you with a free and thorough case evaluation. Contact our compassionate and understanding legal team today at (706) 940-4030 or contact us online.