The Provision of High Quality Dementia Care in Assisted Living is Uncertain

There is one assisted living facility that serves the older adult community of the City of Ridgecrest. Studies have shown that the older adult population throughout the United States has been growing. This growth has been significantly associated with an increased use of assisted living facilities for older adults over recent years. According to statistics, there are over 1 million elderly individuals who are current assisted living residents. The Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer, Ben Yeroushalmi, is dedicated to protecting and advocating for victims of abuse and neglect in these long-term care settings throughout the California region.

The attorneys and elder law experts at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi are aware that older adults with dementia are particularly vulnerable to poor health outcomes in these types of care settings. These individuals make up a substantial number of the assisted living population. The Maryland Assisted Living study found that residents with dementia made up 68%. Moreover, the study reported that 10% of residents have other cognitive impairment, and 26% of residents suffer from psychiatric illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders. Additional research has found that 34% of residents are affected by behavioral symptoms, 56% of those who have dementia. Consequently, the prevalence of psychotropic medication use among assisted living residents is also very high, with nearly 56% of all assisted living residents estimated to be given these medications.

As the number of assisted living residents with dementia and behavioral symptoms continues to increase, so do concerns about the quality of care for these residents in assisted living facilities. A study reported that assisted living services catered specifically toward residents with dementia were not providing adequate dementia-sensitive environments, such as the prevention of aversive stimuli or the access to enjoyable or engaging activities, continuity with the past, or orientation cues. Moreover, substantial research has shown that the number of dementia-associated problems in assisted living were similar to those found in skilled nursing facilities, including depression, reports of pain, low engagement in activities, behavioral symptoms, inadequate food and fluid intake, and mobility impairments.

In summary, older adults with dementia are increasingly choosing assisted living facilities as a long-term care alternative to nursing homes. Unfortunately, the provision of high quality dementia care in these facilities cannot always be guaranteed by nursing staff. Transplanting dementia-specific care models that have shown to be successful in other care settings is still a challenge for many assisted living facilities. Although many models and approaches to dementia care have proven to be successful in other types of care settings, most have not been evaluated for implementation in assisted living, adding to the concern as to whether assisted living facilities can ensure high quality care to residents with dementia.

If you or someone you love has been a victim of abuse or neglect in a Ridgecrest assisted living facility, contact the elder abuse lawyer Ben Yeroushalmi immediately. We want the people of Ridgecrest to know that factors such as high staffing levels and well-trained and educated staff are necessary for the provision of high quality care. Failure to maintain these important factors can jeopardize the quality of life and health of vulnerable older adult residents.

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