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Factors that contribute to abuse of residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia

Elderly abuse in long-term care facilities continues to be a problem. Residents living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia are, sadly, at high risk of being abused or neglected by staff members. With the number of elderly Americans with dementia expected to grow in the coming years, it is vital loved ones remain diligent and proactive.

One recent study offers some valuable insight. By reviewing dozens of peer-reviewed articles, these researchers were able to pinpoint six barriers that commonly stand in the way of ending this type of abuse.

The six barriers to stopping abuse

The authors of this 2019 review zeroed in on a specific scenario: The abuse of residents in long-term care facilities who have Alzheimer’s or dementia. These individuals “are at greater risk of abuse,” the paper says.

Through an exhaustive review, the authors identified six barriers that impede our ability to address elder abuse. These barriers are:

  1. Poor training: Staff members who are not sufficiently trained to identify abuse, haven’t been taught proper care methods, and don’t know how to appropriately deal with challenging residents
  2. Lack of research: There is little research on the connection between Alzheimer’s or dementia, and neglect or exploitation over a long period of time, making it hard to identify trouble areas
  3. Working conditions: When staffing numbers are far below where they should be, it leads to insufficient care and monitoring – a situation that fosters the potential for abuse or neglect
  4. Opaque policies: Some facilities lack clear guidelines for how staff should respond to and document abuse, and have insufficient protocols for implementing fixes
  5. Poor screening: If a facility does not do their due diligence when hiring, it can result in staff members who don’t view residents positively or are susceptible to troubling triggers
  6. Disrespectful staff: Some staff members simply do not value residents as human beings or do not have the proper behavioral discipline to work with vulnerable long-term care residents

All six of these barriers were mentioned in multiple articles reviewed by the researchers.

Protecting a loved one

If you have a loved one in a long-term care facility, their safety and well-being is one of your biggest concerns. Keep an eye out for any potential signs that a resident with Alzheimer’s or dementia may be suffering from abuse.

If you need to take action to protect a vulnerable loved one, you can do so with a compassionate, formidable law firm by your side.

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