Abuse of Alzheimer’s Patients in Maryland

Alzheimer’s Patients May Be Abused or Neglected

Sadly, many individuals with Alzheimer’s become unable to care for themselves and too much for their family members to handle, and they wind up being placed in nursing facilities. While many facilities do their best to provide proper care, some are understaffed and unable to do so. Other facilities cut corners in an attempt to increase profits and may fail to provide adequate staff-to-patient ratios, conduct proper background checks when hiring, provide sufficient security, properly train staff and supervise residents, or keep facilities free of hazards. Such conditions lead to residents’ being seriously injured through nursing home neglect and/or abuse.

If you suspect your loved one with Alzheimer’s is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, it’s essential to move quickly to get the abuse to stop before the resident is severely injured. If your loved one has already been injured or has died as a result, you may have grounds to receive compensation through insurance or a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

Your Best Advocate When a Patient with Alzheimer’s Is Being Abused

Nursing homes and their insurers are out for profit; they have a team of lawyers working for them, and they will do everything possible to cover up abuse and avoid paying compensation, so it’s difficult to deal with them without legal guidance. The nursing home abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, LLC, are aware of their tactics and are fully prepared to deal with them. When you contact us, we will immediately take steps to investigate the circumstances of the abuse and stop it from continuing, and get your loved one to a safe environment. We will explain all available options and determine the best way to fight for justice and the settlement you and your loved ones deserve.

Don’t delay. Call us today at 410-825-3161 to get started.

Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You Get Compensation in Alzheimer’s Abuse Cases

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in nine people over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease. That means you probably know someone who is living with the disease. It’s a terrifying illness that has many faces, even famous ones such as Rosa Parks, Ronald Reagan, and Norman Rockwell. It spills over into the lives of loved ones, affecting friends and family members deeply, and caring for Alzheimer’s patients is not for the faint of heart.

Researchers have estimated that 900,000 people age 65 or older with Alzheimer’s will die in 2030.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, but dementia is a general term for a group of symptoms that affect mental functions. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. The loss of cognitive function, such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning, translate into behavioral changes that interfere with the sufferer’s daily life. At the beginning, symptoms are mild, but at the most severe stages, Alzheimer’s strips a person of all of his/her independence.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect of Alzheimer’s Patients in Nursing Homes

Alzheimer’s patients are especially vulnerable to abuse due to their limited cognitive ability, as well as inability to communicate what is happening to them. Family members must, therefore, be aware of the types of abuse and look for signs and symptoms that abuse may be occurring.

Types of Abuse and Neglect of Alzheimer’s Patients

Nursing home abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual or financial. It can come in the form of verbal or physical abuse or be manifested in the form of neglect. It can be caused by staff who intentionally harm a resident or take advantage of them sexually, or by the negligence of a facility that doesn’t keep residents safe or provide proper care and allows one resident to abuse others. Financial abuse can occur when a staff member finds ways to steal from a resident, or even gets a patient to sign over part of their estate.

Physical abuse signs may include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, broken bones, or burns
  • Bleeding around the genitalia
  • Malnourishment and dehydration
  • Bed sores
  • Odors of urine or feces
  • Use of physical restraints.

Emotional abuse. Emotional abuse such as verbal abuse, threats, and intentional cruelty may be harder to notice. Indications of emotional and verbal abuse include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Frequent agitation or aggression
  • Withdrawal or severe depression.

Sexual abuse: Signs of sexual abuse could include bruising on legs or thighs, sexually transmitted diseases, bloody underwear, excessive agitation, and pain when sitting or walking.

Financial Abuse: Signs include disappearance of property or loss of funds from accounts.

About Alzheimer’s Disease

Family members should have a basic understanding on how Alzheimer’s disease affects their loved ones and know what to expect.

Alzheimer’s disease is named after the physician who examined the brain tissue of a woman who died from an atypical mental illness, finding many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called tau tangles). The scientific, medical, and genetic research isn’t entirely consistent or conclusive in regard to the causes of Alzheimer’s, but there is agreement that the initial damage appears in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for forming memories. Neurons die, then eventually additional sections of the brain are affected, which causes the brain tissue to shrink.

The more damage, the more shrinkage, and the more shrinkage, the more severe the symptoms.

Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of impairment. The person will experience increased difficulty organizing their thoughts and remembering recent events such as appointments or conversations. Not all memory problems mean Alzheimer’s though. Some people, as they age, have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), where they simply have some age-related memory problems (think of it as wear and tear), but their lives aren’t significantly affected. MCI is sometimes a precursor to Alzheimer’s, but certainly not always.

The disease can show itself in different ways from person to person, but according to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms can generally be categorized as follows:

  1. Abnormal memory loss. This goes beyond the regular “Where did I put my keys?” or “You know me from 25 years ago, what is your name again?” People with Alzheimer’s may repeat statements over and over, forget conversations or appointments, routinely misplace their belongings (sometimes putting them in bizarre places), or get lost in places they know well. They will eventually forget the names of family members as well as of everyday objects such as chairs and toothbrushes.
  2. Thinking and reasoning. Sufferers generally have a tough time concentrating and rationalizing, especially when it comes to abstract ideas such as numbers. Multitasking becomes increasingly difficult as well, making it hard to balance finances and effectively navigate the everyday tasks we all face.
  3. Making decisions and responding to everyday problems. Alzheimer’s sufferers might not know how to deal with something burning on the stove, a change in traffic patterns, etc.
  4. Planning and performing familiar tasks. Preparing and cooking a meal, playing a favorite game, even getting dressed becomes increasingly difficult.
  5. Personality and behavior changes. The brain controls emotions, meaning that Alzheimer’s can affect feelings and cause sufferers to experience depression, indifference, distrust, irritability, wandering, social withdrawal, mood swings, sleep changes, loss of inhibitions, and delusions. Late in the disease, the person loses the ability to do things they’ve known how to do for most of their lives, such as read, dance, enjoy music, do crafts and reminisce. This is because the part of the brain that stores information, skills and habits that we learn early in life are affected later in the course of the disease.

It’s not just the cognitive changes that harm patients with Alzheimer’s. For example, a study from the medical journal Age and Ageing found that seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s are three times more likely to suffer a hip fracture than those without the disease. Vision, perception and balance are all out of whack as Alzheimer’s advances, which increases the risk of a fall. A broken hip is extraordinarily painful and requires a trip to the hospital, which often disorients the person even more. In later stages of Alzheimer’s, particularly after loss of the ability to walk independently, the average life expectancy is about one year.

Of those who also suffer from fever, infection, or a hip fracture, more than half die within six months.

Nursing Home Care Becomes Necessary for Many Alzheimer’s Patients

Potential for Abuse of Alzheimer’s Patients in Care Facilities

When contemplating how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, many families turn to nursing homes. It’s important to shop around and research the options. Some areas to consider include licensing, cost, care planning, staff requirements, current resident assessment, facility layout, social activities, medication policies, privacy issues, and safety measures. Supervision is an important part of a safe nursing home facility because Alzheimer’s patients are prone to wandering, and the likelihood of their eloping means they need to be more closely watched.

Not all homes are created equal, with some offering basic care while others are better equipped for dealing with advanced stages of the disease through skilled nursing. There are approximately 170 memory care partner communities in Maryland, with an average monthly cost of $4,342.

Every day, we learn more about this debilitating disease. Researchers are currently studying to see if early brain changes are detectable and to identify the role of health, environmental and lifestyle factors. Until there is a cure, long-term care facilities will be a necessary part of the lives of most Alzheimer’s disease patients. When a facility does not live up to expectations, it must be held accountable for failing to meet its legal obligations.

Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help With Abuse of Alzheimer’s Patients

If you suspect your loved one with Alzheimer’s is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, it’s important to take immediate action and contact a nursing abuse attorney who can evaluate the situation and file a nursing home abuse case if appropriate.

When you retain us to help, our Weinberg legal team will:

  • Investigate the situation and determine if there is abuse and who is at fault
  • Ensure that your loved one gets proper medical treatment and is moved to a safe situation
  • Interview witnesses and gather evidence from records of past complaints, resident medical and financial records, and photographs and surveillance videos
  • Notify the proper authorities of the abuse
  • File a lawsuit and sending notice of claim to defendants
  • Handle all dealings and negotiations for a fair settlement with the home owners, managers and insurance companies
  • Build your case and take it to court if necessary.

If you need assistance with any legal issues concerning a loved one with Alzheimer’s who is currently living in a Maryland nursing home, our nursing home negligence attorneys at the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, LLC are here to help.

Our founding attorney, Roger S. Weinberg, started the Maryland Trial Lawyer’s Association’s Nursing Home Litigation Section and has brought nursing home abuse and neglect cases on behalf of abused clients and their families for 30 years. We are very familiar with the laws that govern elder abuse, and we have successfully handled countless nursing home mistreatment cases.

As pioneers in representing nursing home, assisted living and developmental disability victims, we offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. Call us today at 410-825-3161.

Attorney Roger S. Weinberg

Attorney Roger S. WeinbergRoger Weinberg is a skilled and experienced attorney who has pioneered the legal field of representing Nursing Home, Assisted Living, and Developmental Disability victims and their families who have experienced abuse, neglect and wrongful death. He is a leader in this field and teaches other lawyers, students and medical personnel about the laws impacting such cases. [ Attorney Bio ]

  • Award: Nursing Home top 10 Trial Lawyers
  • Award: American Association for Justice
  • Award: Maryland Association for Justice
  • Award: The National Trial Lawyers
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