Elder Neglect Affects Dementia Patients in Assisted Living Facilities

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207Whether your elderly loved one resides in an assisted living facility in Oceanside or another area of San Diego County, it is important to reconsider whether an assisted living facility is the right place if your elderly loved one suffers from dementia. According to a recent article in Kaiser Health News, the number of assisted living facilities has been expanding across the country, meaning that there are more assisted living options than there were previously. However, as a result of the rapid growth of these facilities, they are becoming less and less equipped to handle the needs of patients with dementia. Dementia patients are suffering injuries as a result of elder neglect. 

Nursing home abuse and neglect can occur in any facility regardless of its previous safety record, and even the most well-intentioned facilities may not be able to provide property care for dementia patients, the article suggests.

Goals of Assisted-Living Facilities

Elder abuse and elder neglect certainly can occur at assisted-living facilities, and it is not only patients who suffer from dementia who could be at risk. However, patients with dementia in these facilities could be at particular risk of injury or death as a result of the facility’s inability to provide the kind of care these seniors need. As the article underscores, assisted living facilities originally were “designed for people who were largely independent but required help bathing, eating, or with other daily tasks.”

In other words, seniors who had some physical limitations that require some help with activities of daily living were the targeted residents of assisted living facilities. To be sure, “unlike nursing homes, the facilities generally do not provide skilled medical care or therapy, and stays are not paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.” Yet despite the fact that assisted living facilities were not designed to provide for the needs of patients with dementia, many of those patients are moving into assisted living facilities. Indeed, “dementia care is the fastest-growing segment of assisted living.”

Injury Risks for Dementia Patients and Other Vulnerable Seniors in Assisted Living Facilities

How dangerous are assisted living facilities for seniors with dementia? According to Kaiser Health News, California assisted living facilities were particularly egregious offenders, with “45% of assisted living facilities having violated one or more [of the] state dementia regulations during the past five years.” Last year, 25% of the most commonly issued elder abuse and neglect citations concerned care for dementia patients. In short, patient safety advocates believe that assisted living facilities simply do not provide adequate staffing numbers to care properly for patients with dementia.

Yet it is not only dementia patients who are suffering injuries in assisted living facilities. Other seniors who require more medical care than these facilities provide, whether psychological or physical, are also suffering injuries at higher rates. About 20% of seniors in assisted living facilities suffer at least one fall-related injury within one year, more than 12% require treatment in an emergency room, and more than 8% end up staying overnight at a hospital as a result of injuries.

Contact an Oceanside Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

If your elderly parent recently suffered injuries at an assisted living facility, you should speak with an Oceanside nursing home neglect attorney about options. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to get started.

See Related Blog Posts:

AARP and California Nursing Home Abuse

Cracking Down on Skilled Nursing Facilities in Escondido