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What Does Negligence Look Like for Dementia Patients?

Published on Nov 5, 2019 at 9:56 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Back of woman in wheelchair

If you don’t have experience with dementia patients, you are not fully equipped to handle their outbursts or might not have the patience to repeatedly remind them of something. It takes an empathetic person to properly care for older people with dementia. So how can you tell when the caretaker is neglecting a nursing home patient?

Signs of Neglect in Dementia Patients

When you put your loved one’s care into the hands of another person, you’re trusting them to provide the best treatment possible. In nursing homes and other places where dementia patients are cared for, medical staff does not always live up to the standard you expect. To your dismay, they could neglect your loved one who has dementia, which is nursing home abuse.

As outlined by the Alzheimer’s Association, some of the signs of abuse by means of neglect are:

  • Injuries. If your loved one with dementia develops bruises, broken bones, cuts, or burns, they could be experiencing neglect. These injuries could come from lack of movement or falls.
  • Poor hygiene. Some signs of poor hygiene are a foul smell, matted hair, unchanged clothes, and old bedding.
  • Decline in health. Health problems like weight loss, bedsores, muscle weakness, and untreated illness are signs that a patient is being neglected.
  • Emotional trauma. Without proper social interaction, a dementia patient can become withdrawn, develop mood swings, and even experience depression.

The most common people to abuse older people are caregivers, both family and professionals alike, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. When your loved one is in a nursing home, neglect could be intentional or unintentional. Nursing homes are sometimes understaffed, which leads to unintentional neglect. Staff can also experience compassion fatigue caused from stress and exhaustion which can also lead to neglect.

If you suspect a patient is being neglected, it is best to report it to the nursing home first. Be sure to express your concerns as objectively as possible. If the facility does nothing about the suspected neglect, then you should turn to a nursing home abuse lawyer in Chicago to support you and your claim.

How to Care for Dementia Patients

Dementia is not one specific disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is a general term that describes the decline in brain activity that limits memory, motor functions, and everyday tasks. For example, Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, but not all dementia patients have Alzheimer’s. Here are some symptoms to look for when you suspect someone has dementia:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty with language and communication
  • Limited ability to focus
  • Impaired reasoning and judgement
  • Trouble with visual perception

When caring for a person with dementia, you must be patient and empathetic. It can be frustrating and scary for dementia patients when they can’t get around, communicate, or remember things like they used to. If you are overly critical or try to rush them, it can make them feel even worse. Allow them to take their time and reassure them that you care and are there to help them.

If you suspect that your loved one with dementia is experiencing nursing home abuse, you should reach out for legal help. Our nursing home abuse lawyer can support you through this difficult time and help get justice for you and your family. Nobody should experience neglect or abuse, but especially not your family member whose care you’ve placed into someone else’s hands. Contact us today so we can start fighting for you.

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Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

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