Police Commonly Dispatched to Nursing Homes to Deal with Patients with Dementia

The Journal Sentinel reports that police in one city were dispatched over 380 times to nursing homes during the from January through June of 2010. With a larger percentage of calls relating to violent resident behavior, the figure sheds light on how nursing homes deal with combative patients who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

The figure was established by a group from the college of nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The group was established after the March death of Richard Petersen, an Alzheimer's patient who had exhibited symptoms that included irritability, yelling and hitting. So far, the task force has obtained numbers from the city from January through June of this year.

Not all of the calls from nursing homes were relating to resident unruliness. In some cases, calls were made by nursing home personnel to police because of such things as suspected theft or the spotting of a suspicious person on the premises.For the calls that did relate to resident behavior, the legal statute enables police to take into custody those thought to be mentally ill with a "substantial probability" of causing harm to themselves or others. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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