Abuse of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients in Colorado

Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and other cognitive disabilities are at an increased risk for abuse compared to others. The effects of these illnesses might prevent many from reporting wrongdoing.

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Nursing Home Justice Helps You Recover from Abuse

An experienced Alzheimer’s abuse attorney in Colorado understands how cognitively impaired residents get taken advantage of and knows how to help you recover what you lost.

Mac Hester, lead attorney at Nursing Home Justice, has helped injured victims obtain justice for 35+ years. He’ll blaze the trail for recovery to ensure you get the compensation you need to move on.

Contact Nursing Home Justice today – (303) 775-8128

What is an Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Unit?

Alzheimer’s special care units (SCUs)—also called memory care units—are designated sections of a facility that focus solely on residents with cognitive impairments.

These secure units are often included within an assisted living facility or nursing home and consist of trained staff competent in handling residents with cognitive disabilities. Sometimes SCUs are locked away from the rest of the facility to prevent wandering and elopement.

Colorado Regulations for Secure Units

The Code of Colorado Regulations has specific guidelines worth noting regarding secure units, which include the following:

  • Staff members shouldn’t place residents in secure units as a form of punishment
  • Staff should have written programs to treat residents admitted into a secure unit
  • Facilities must allow residents of secure units to have visitors.
  • Residents should be able to participate in organized activities in the secure unit.

Residents should only be placed into a secure unit if they are a danger to themselves or others, habitually wander off, or have behavior problems that disrupt other residents’ rights.

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What Special Needs Do Alzheimer’s Residents Have?

Residents with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia require more attention and have specific needs different from others, which include the following:

  • Around-the-clock monitoring – Cognitive impairments often cause residents to wander off and forget where they are, putting themselves and others in danger
  • Trained Staff – Staff members caring for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients must be educated on the disease to ensure the highest quality of care
  • Easy-to-Navigate Areas – Complex layouts could make navigating the facility harder than it already is, increasing the chances of losing residents
  • Group ActivitiesStudies reveal that participating in social activities helps reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s
  • Assistance with Daily Activities – Staff must feed, bathe, and change a resident’s clothes regularly
  • Physical ExerciseStudies show that physical exercise is crucial in fighting Alzheimer’s disease

Types of Alzheimer’s Resident Abuse in Nursing Homes

Alzheimer’s and Dementia residents can experience the following types of abuse:

Financial Abuse

Residents with cognitive disabilities are easy prey for staff members, family members, and others because they don’t keep close tabs on their financial transactions.

Someone could steal their banking information and clean out their savings account right under their nose. A resident’s Power of Attorney agent might abuse their power to make large transactions that aren’t in the resident’s best interest.

Physical Abuse

Nursing home staff might punch, kick, or otherwise physically abuse residents. Because Alzheimer’s patients suffer from memory loss, these incidents go unreported, and nursing homes aren’t held accountable.

Sexual Abuse

A study found that residents with Alzheimer’s or other types of cognitive disabilities were sexually abused at a higher rate compared to the average nursing home population. Residents might forget these traumatic incidents, leaving them vulnerable to continual abuse.

Common Causes of Alzheimer’s Patient Abuse & Neglect

Alzheimer’s and Dementia residents might suffer abuse for the following reasons:

Lack of Security

Nursing homes with memory care facilities should ensure these sections are in a secure location away from the rest of the facility. Staff members should also make sure the doors to these secure units are locked to prevent residents from leaving and endangering themselves. Adequate surveillance can help track residents and prevent them from walking out of the facility’s front door and getting lost.

Improper Staff Training

Under the Code of Colorado Regulations, staff members should be trained to care for residents with cognitive disabilities like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. They should receive continual education on this topic. Poor hiring methods could put unqualified and uneducated staff members in charge of caring for these residents.

Understaffed Nursing Homes

The staff-to-resident ratio in nursing homes across the country is staggering. Many nursing homes cannot give each resident the quality care they deserve, and cognitively impaired residents require even more attention than others.

It takes a lot of patience and experience to accommodate residents with memory loss. Overworked staff members are likelier to lash out at residents verbally or hit them. Understaffed nursing homes cannot closely supervise residents, which increases their risk of wandering off and getting lost.

Who’s Liable for Alzheimer’s Resident Abuse?

Your or your loved one’s primary caregiver might not always be liable for your loved one’s injuries or wrongful death. The following parties might be responsible for your damages:

  • Nursing Home Staff – A staff member might be responsible for your loved one wandering off or being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused.
  • Management Companies – The nursing home’s management company should ensure the facility is qualified to care for patients with cognitive impairments. That includes adequate staffing.
  • Nursing Home – The nursing home itself may have failed to train staff members to care for cognitively impaired residents properly.

What Compensation Can You Receive?

You or your loved one may have suffered several damages from the nursing home’s abuse and neglect. You’ll need to be compensated appropriately for your suffering to recover correctly. You could be entitled to the following damages:

  • Physical pain and mental suffering
  • Current and ongoing medical bills
  • Long-term care expenses
  • Permanent impairment

You might have lost a loved one resulting from the nursing home’s abuse. In that case, you could be entitled to the following:

  • Loss of financial support the decedent would have provided
  • Funeral expenses
  • Non-economic damages for grief and loss of companionship

How Nursing Home Justice Can Help

We know that this time is challenging. If you don’t have legal support, it could be difficult to navigate the recovery journey. Nursing Home Justice blazes the trail for you and ensures you receive the financial compensation you need.

We’ll help you by:

  • Listening to Your Story & Explaining Your Options – We don’t treat you like a case number. We’ll hear your story and let you know your next steps.
  • Investigating Your Case – We’ll examine your claim and gather the necessary evidence to strengthen your case.
  • Recovering Full Compensation – We’ll advocate for you to receive the financial compensation you need to recover through a negotiated settlement or a trial.

Other Common Locations of Abuse