When people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia can no longer live alone at home, family members might place them in a nursing home’s care. As their condition progresses to the middle and late stages, your loved one might need:
- 24-hour supervision.
- Extensive medical care.
- Around-the-clock companionship to keep them safe and grounded, and to prevent them from wandering off.
Family members expect that their elderly loved one will receive an appropriate standard of care in the nursing home and that caregivers will directly address their needs as patients experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Residential Care for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients
The types of facilities available to elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia include the following:
- Retirement housing: This type of housing facility might be best for those still in the early stages of the disease. Ideal patients may require limited supervision, can still care for themselves independently, and live alone safely but without the ability to manage an entire house.
- Assisted living: Assisted living bridges the gap between staying in a nursing home and living independently. Generally, these facilities offer healthcare, meal plans, supportive services, and housing. The federal government does not regulate these facilities, so you must confirm that they provide ample support for your loved one.
- Nursing homes: If you need to find around-the-clock skilled care and long-term medical help for your loved one, this type of facility may provide that for you. They also offer individualized plans that can address the nutritional, personal, recreational, and spiritual needs of patients.
- Memory care facilities: These facilities meet the specific needs of elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, offering specialized activities and trained staff to address their behavioral needs.
Life in Nursing Homes
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), elderly people with Alzheimer’s and dementia need skilled caregivers to support their declining health and make their final years meaningful. Caregivers in nursing homes support patients with:
- Day-to-day activities: Developing routines creates a sense of consistency, structure, and familiarity for patients, even if they cannot remember events or communicate effectively. By monitoring and engaging with patients daily, the nursing home adjusts routines to fit sudden changes and behavior patterns.
- Sensory experiences and socialization: The nursing home includes activities and allows for visitors in the patient’s routine in a way that does not stress or overstimulate them. Typically, this may include therapeutic outdoor time, group sessions at a senior center, and other activities to stimulate and keep their senses sharp.
- Behavioral management: Caregivers receive training to ease patients’ stress and prevent or reduce wandering, hallucinations, aggressiveness, sudden bursts of anger, and difficulties with eating or sleeping.
- Personal relationships: Caregivers establish healthy relationships with patients.
The Nursing Home’s Duty of Care
When a nursing home accepts an elderly person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they have a duty of care towards them. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), any nursing home that receives Medicare or Medicaid must practice a standard of care when serving residents, and family members can hold the nursing home or caregiver liable for breaching that duty of care, especially if it leads to personal injury or wrongful death. Due to this standard, nursing homes need to have:
- Effective solutions to prevent the patient from wandering off.
- A safe environment without hazards that can trigger slip-and-fall accidents or result in severe injuries.
- Effective measures to deter patients from driving since Alzheimer’s and dementia directly affect a patient’s motor skills.
- Updated medical care for patients. By scheduling routine checkups, the nursing home can stay on top of their health needs and provide specialized solutions when the need arises.
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Let Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Represent You
Do you have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia in a nursing home? If you have concerns about their quality of life and whether caregivers are meeting their duty of care toward your loved one, you have a right to seek legal representation. A nursing home abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may help you address concerns regarding your loved one’s care.
We want to help analyze your case and explore your legal options. We work on a contingency basis, so you never have to pay anything out of pocket, and we collect payment only if we secure awards in your favor.