Preventing Abuse of Dementia Patients in Nursing Homes

Studies indicate that those elderly adults in nursing homes who are most at-risk for experiencing abuse or neglect are those suffering from severe physical or mental limitations. More specifically, research suggests that nursing home patients who suffer from dementia are more at risk for nursing home abuse than are patients without dementia.

A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2009 offered data substantiating that nearly 50 percent of people with dementia suffer from caregiver abuse. If you have an elderly loved one who has dementia, here are some tips for preventing nursing home abuse before it happens.

Analyze the Nursing Home’s Risk Factors

Your choice in nursing home matters. Data suggests that understaffed institutions see nursing home abuse, mostly in the form of neglect. Another risk factor is “institutional indifference.”

When searching for a nursing home, ask about the following.

  • Abuse prevention policy
  • History of complaints
  • Staff to patient ratio

The more information that you can obtain about a nursing home’s policy and history, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to distinguish between a safe nursing home and one that’s more likely to be a place of abuse.

Visit Your Loved One as Often as Possible

Patients who are rarely visited by family members and loved ones may also be more likely to be victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Staff notices who is visited and who isn’t. By checking in regularly, and by familiarizing yourself with the warning signs of nursing home abuse, you can help to keep your loved one safe.

It’s also important that you speak with your elderly loved one. For all people, speaking about abuse can be hard; for those with dementia, this may be impossible. If you can’t speak with your loved one about potential abuse, monitor them for changes in behavior, like aggression or depression.

Hire an Attorney Who Specializes in Nursing Home Abuse

You can read our nursing home abuse blog to learn more about the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, as well as tips for choosing the right nursing home. If you do suspect abuse, we encourage you to take action as soon as possible. You should report the abuse to the proper sources as soon as you can. Then, you should call our Cordisco & Saile LLC offices for legal representation at 215-642-2335.