In the news - Alzheimer's patient kills another resident.

Started by

Have you seen the story in the news? In Meredith, New Hampshire (I'm in MA so this has been on the local news) an alzheimer's patient killed another resident in the nursing home. I won't post a link so that the post won't be removed but you can google it and get the news story. We see many stories on here about aggressive patients but rarely see the violence escalate like this.

I feel so sorry for the patient's family who passed. If that was my mom (my mom has passed) I would be raising hell insisting that he be charged and something be done...even though I know logically that its near impossible that he will be charged as no prison would be appropriate for him.

This story scares me terribly. While this one ended in death, there are many other assaults that happen in alzheimer's wards that we hear nothing about because they are not nearly as serious...but if anyone EVER laid a hand on my father you can be sure I'd be chomping at the bit for something to change to be sure it never happened again...and maybe I'd also be looking for justice. No one hurts my daddy.

I know that many of you deal with aggressive patients or have been on the receiving end of violence...what is your feelings on this topic?

Angel

8 Comments

Nursing home violence was the focus of an investigative report on a popular news program (like 60 minutes) here in Canada, and consequently was big news for a while. Like all such stories it has faded into the background, but nothing has changed. The unfortunate reality is that we have not got enough facilities to deal with those elders who are violent, and we have taken away the ability of regular facilities to use physical or chemical restraints.. I fear we are only going to hear more of this type of thing because solutions are costly and fraught with unpopular moral implications.
We can never be completely safe. One thing to consider here is the news didn't right about the millions in nursing homes that were not killed. I am sorry that a life was lost, but we can't expect to be completely safe. If everyone were completely safe, then no one could afford it.
Schools, shopping malls, hospitals, even just standing outside of your home - seems violence is finding its way into every corner of everyday life, with mental illness often being the culprit. Better gun laws? Better access to mental health care? I don't know the answer. But I do know it's tragic and the problem seems to only be getting worse. Some say it's always been like this - that advanced technology in communication via the internet has only made us more aware. I'm not sure I believe that. But if that's true, becoming more aware surely must shift a bit of responsibility to the everyday person to make even the smallest effort to make things better. How do we do that? Again, I don't have an answer. But unfortunately this problem is not going away and is likely to become worse as society continues to stick it's head in the sand. My heart breaks for the innocent victim and their loved ones.
I live in a violent city. I'm sure a lot of people in the group do. The only way I know to stay safe is to be vigilant. But even that doesn't spare us from some random freak event. Nursing facilities can be vigilant in accepting only clients they can accommodate. I remember when the facility that housed my uncle decided he could no longer stay there. He was wandering in people's rooms and scaring them. My cousins had to take him to a facility that provided better security. It is the only solution I can think of -- facilities should house only residents that they can manage. If they can't manage wanderers or potentially violent residents, then the residents should not be accept, or should be moved quickly if they are already in residence.
Forgot to add that even if facilities are vigilant, there can still be a random event that no one could anticipate. This can happen if a formerly peaceful resident snaps.
It is comforting to believe that this is a one time random violent outburst, but unfortunately violence is nothing unusual in care facilities. We only hear about the most extreme cases such as this one, but bruises, broken bones and even sexual assault are the dirty little secret that everyone in the industry tries desperately to keep hidden. A local woman went to the press in desperation after her mother was beaten bloody for the third time. When are parents are frail and unable to defend themselves what are we to do?
My sister's friend lost her mother who was in a NH in MA. She jumped out a window on the second floor...

OMG what horrible timing. I busted my mom out of her convalescent home yesterday after she was physically attacked by a newly admitted patient with "cognitive difficulties". Miss Newbie was barging into everyone's room (there were no locks) and rummaging through their stuff. In Mom's case it was three times in one evening -- the second time, brandishing a rolled-up newspaper and shaking it at Mom. And not paying any attention to Mom's screaming and ordering her out. Mom did not sleep the night even after receiving a tranquilizer. I got this panic call "get me out of here" but they would only release Mom the next morning "after the doctor checked her out."

Well at breakfast Miss Newbie was made to sit at Mom's table, despite Mom's objections. I came as soon as I could to find Mom mostly packed and ready to go, and her toilet had been blocked by Miss Newbie (and would not be fixed for at least several hours). The staff could not understand (whatever language I used) that I was taking Mom home NOW. The doctor was there but was sent to other rooms and never saw Mom. We spoke to "the boss" who said Miss Newbie had this problem for 3 years and would be permitted to roam freely like this "for several days till she gets her bearings." If we wanted to lock the door, we had to pay $10 per day (but this was not for the room door, but for a cabinet of drawers). Nope, this was the final straw after two weeks of idiocy, including a physical attack from a staff member the previous morning. (Instead of taking that seriously, the boss argued with us about the person's job title.) As we went back to get Mom';s stuff, Miss Newbie was in the hall and grabbed Mom's arm -- we both yelled at her, the staff gave US the evil eye and did nothing to stop it.

I am glad to see Mom home, but not under these circumstances. Some degree of personal safety should be available in these places. Scary.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support