Assisted Living Facilities Struggle to Provide Care for Dementia Patients

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on December 14, 2018 in Nursing Home Abuse
Updated on February 24, 2022

assisting an elderly person with walkingThe fastest-growing group of assisted living residents is those with different types of dementia, like Alzheimer’s. This is partly because these facilities have marketed themselves to these kinds of patients. However, an analysis of inspection records by Kaiser Health News shows many facilities are having a very hard time providing the care residents need.

The analysis found that 45 percent of California assisted living facilities have violated at least one state dementia regulation in the past five years. In fact, three of the most common citations issued in California in 2017 for elder residential care facilities were related to the care of dementia patients.

In the state of Texas, almost 25 percent of facilities caring for residents with Alzheimer’s broke at least one rule related to the care of dementia patients. This includes making sure staff members get special training on dealing with these residents.

The long-term-care ombudsman in Oregon says there is a belief in his office that facilities are understaffed so they do not have the ability to meet the anticipated needs of residents.

Loose Regulations for Assisted Living Facilities

Even though assisted living facilities were meant to be for people who are mostly independent, these days they seem much more like nursing homes. Unfortunately, these facilities have much looser regulations than nursing homes. The federal government does not oversee or license these facilities, and states do not have a lot of rules for these facilities to follow.

Nursing homes have quality measures that are published by the government, but there are no quality measures for assisted living facilities. These places are inspected a lot less frequently and even if something is wrong, fines are often much less than what they would be for a nursing home.

People in the assisted living industry say that it does not make sense to have rigid government regulations because these places try to have individual approaches to care.

How Facilities Handle Residents with Dementia

Nearly 25 percent of the 30,000 assisted living facilities in the nation only have residents with dementia or have memory care units for these types of residents. Memory care units have locked doors and other measures to keep residents from wandering off, which is a common problem for people with dementia.

Assisted living facilities also train staff on how to manage dementia-related behavior, including getting residents to participate in activities to stay engaged and stimulated, which is an important part of managing this condition.

However, critics of these facilities think better training and more staff is needed to deal with aggressive behavior by residents with dementia.

For example, in 2015 at a facility in California, one resident with dementia threw another resident to the ground, causing her to break her hip. The resident also tried to kick the woman when paramedics put her into a stretcher.

Contact an Attorney About Abuse or Neglect

If your loved one has been neglected or abused at his or her nursing home, contact a Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyer at PKSD for a free, no obligation legal consultation. There is no risk to you because you will not be charged for our services unless we recover compensation.

We have helped many victims of nursing home abuse and neglect recover the fair compensation they are entitled for all the damages they suffered.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today or call us at 877-877-2228.

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