Personal Injury & Nursing Home Abuse
Pittsburgh and Western PA

Study: Death, Hospice Rates Higher in Memory Care Facilities

Daughter holding hand of elderly mother elderly in a memory care facility.

Residents in memory care facilities commonly experience a variety of challenges associated with progressive memory disorders such as Alzheimer's and other dementias. These issues include cognitive decline, difficulty with daily living activities, behavioral changes, and increased emotional distress.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society finds they also experience a higher death rate and use of hospice.

Rates differed between communities

Researchers examined end-of-life outcomes, including death rates, hospice utilization, and the duration of hospice care in the final month of life. They then compared these factors in residents of long-term care communities with memory care services and those without.

The study analyzed data from 15,152 Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer's or related dementias who entered large assisted living communities with over 25 beds between 2016 and 2018. The average age of residents in memory care facilities was 83.9, slightly higher than the 81.6 years at general facilities.

During the study period, the death rate was 13.4% in general assisted living facilities and 15.8% in memory care facilities. Additionally, 8% of residents in general facilities and 10.6% in memory care used hospice services. On average, residents in memory care utilized hospice services for approximately 1.4 more days in their last month of life compared to those in other facilities.

Memory care residents are at risk for abuse and neglect

The authors of the study noted that the higher death rate in memory care facilities does not necessarily indicate lower quality of care. They suggested that people living in memory-centered facilities might have more severe symptoms not captured in their data.

Unfortunately, residents in memory care units are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect, largely due to their impaired cognitive functions, which often prevent them from accurately reporting or even recognizing mistreatment.

Dependence on caregivers for daily activities such as eating, dressing, and hygiene increases the risk of being exploited or poorly cared for, especially if the caregivers are not properly trained or overwhelmed by the demands of their duties.

The nature of dementia can also lead to behavioral issues such as agitation or aggression, which may be met with inappropriate responses from inadequately trained or stressed staff.

Negligent memory care facilities must be held accountable

Unfortunately, holding negligent memory care facilities accountable can be challenging due to various factors. Residents may struggle to communicate about their experiences, and signs of abuse can be difficult to distinguish from symptoms of dementia itself.

Despite these challenges, facilities must be held accountable for any negligence or mistreatment. If you suspect your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a memory care unit in Western Pennsylvania, contact a memory care negligence lawyer immediately.

At Hal Waldman & Associates in Pittsburgh, our attorneys have extensive experience handling cases of elder abuse and neglect in memory care facilities. We are dedicated to advocating for our clients and their families, ensuring they receive the justice and financial compensation they deserve.

Our firm can assist you in reporting abuse, gathering evidence, identifying responsible parties, and taking legal action on your behalf. Don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your potential legal options and how we can help you navigate this challenging situation.

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