Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that can last for months or even years. According to the American Psychiatric Association, it can occur in people who witnessed a traumatic event, for example war, combat, or a violent assault, among others.
Veterans are especially vulnerable to PTSD. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) estimates that, depending on the service area a veteran served in, between 10-30% of veterans suffer from PTSD.
Unfortunately, PTSD does not simply “disappear,” and a veteran with PTSD will need treatment. A veteran suffering from untreated PTSD in the nursing home can develop chronic pain, depression, and other problems such as drug or alcohol abuse. The effects of untreated PTSD can cause much mental suffering, physical problems, and even shorten the life of an elderly person.
If a veteran in a nursing home is not receiving treatment for PTSD, they may be suffering from nursing home neglect. According to the U.S.Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans in nursing homes should receive PTSD treatment, and resources are available for them.
Signs of PTSD
Symptoms of PTSD may not surface for weeks, months, or even years after a traumatic event occurred. This can make it challenging to diagnose a veteran with PTSD. Some of the signs that a veteran may be suffering from PTSD can be:
Nightmares and Flashbacks
Having nightmares and flashbacks can remind a PTSD sufferer of a troubling event and result in various physical manifestations of stress such as heart palpitations and panic attacks.
Insomnia and Anxiety
Difficulty sleeping, problems concentrating, and feeling anxious or jumpy can all be symptoms of PTSD.
Avoiding Social Contacts
A PTSD sufferer may try to avoid anything that could possibly remind them of a traumatic event, including people, places, and certain activities.
Suffering from PTSD can cause a distorted world view, where a sufferer may find it difficult to experience positive emotions and may have exaggerated negative beliefs about themselves or the wider world.
It can be difficult for veterans to adjust to normal life, even if their time in the military, when the traumatic event happened, was decades ago. Veterans with untreated PTSD may suffer from suicidal thoughts, and it is important that they receive adequate and timely treatment in a nursing home.
Treatment for PTSD in Veterans
If your loved one in the nursing home suffers from PTSD, help should be available for them. Skilled and qualified nursing home staff should be able to detect the symptoms of PTSD. Staff should also be especially vigilant for any PTSD symptoms if the resident is a veteran. Treatments for veterans in nursing homes can include:
Cognitive behavior therapy and other therapies can be an effective treatment for PTSD. It is important that a mental health professional assesses the veteran and suggests a therapy that suits them.
Medication can also help a senior deal with PTSD and improve their life quality. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can control PTSD symptoms. SSRIs are a type of antidepressant, and they can help a veteran suffering from depression due to PTSD.
There could be other treatment options available for veterans with PTSD. It is important to consult with a mental health professional about the treatments that could be available to your loved one.
Nursing Home Neglect
Untreated PTSD can be a form of nursing home neglect. The nursing home is responsible to provide adequate care for its residents. This includes help with daily tasks, medical care, and also mental health care. However, in understaffed nursing homes, or those that lack professionally qualified employees, the signs of PTSD in seniors may go unnoticed or ignored.
The Nursing Home Reform Act clearly states that a skilled nursing facility must “provide services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident.”
According to Medical Research and Review, regulations also demand that nursing home residents are periodically evaluated for mental or behavioral symptoms and that any such symptoms are addressed in a treatment plan for the seniors.
PTSD is a serious condition and can severely restrict a senior’s ability to lead a normal and happy life. Veterans should not have to suffer without help. The nursing home is responsible for detecting any mental health issues and to ensure that a senior receives adequate treatment for their conditions. Not doing so causes unnecessary suffering and can be nursing home neglect.
A Nursing Home Lawyer May Be Able to Help
If you believe that your loved one is suffering from untreated PTSD in the nursing home and suffered injuries, whether mental or physical, you should talk to us today. You may be able to hold the nursing home to account and receive compensation for your loved one’s suffering.
Our veterans deserve respect, care, and dignity. Nursing home neglect of our veterans is inexcusable and immoral. It is also illegal.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for your free no-obligation case evaluation: (800) 842-6336.