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Dementia patients may be abused in nursing homes

A number of people who suffer from dementia in New Mexico and across the nation end up relying on the care of nursing home professionals. Due to the destructive nature of the disease, dementia can cause forgetfulness, disorientation, irritability, agitation, depression, confusion, difficulty communicating and trouble understanding. These personality traits can make it difficult for people to care for those with dementia, and they often are placed in nursing care facilities. In some cases, these people are easy targets for abuse, as they may not be able to defend themselves or report the abuse to others.

Nursing home workers who are not properly trained to handle dementia patients may become frustrated or angry at the extent of care they require. Employees may be tempted to give patients more sedatives or increase other medications in an attempt to subdue them. Patients may be victimized by the physical abuse of workers who lose their patience when taking care of them. Other types of abuse directed toward dementia patients may include sexual abuse, emotional abuse or confinement. Patients may be totally neglected, starved, made to stay in their soiled bed or suffer from sores due to inattention. Nursing home staff may also take advantage of a dementia patient’s inability to remember incidents. They may take their money or property, or use ways to drain their bank accounts.

It may be difficult to see the signs of abuse, especially if it is not physical. Friends and family members who come to visit may keep a watchful eye on their loved one and check for the signs of abuse.

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