Risks in Caring for Patients with Cognitive Impairments: Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Introduction

Alzheimer’s or Dementia: Liability Risks
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, currently affecting more than five million Americans. Other forms of dementia affect millions more. Estimates suggest that the number of Americans afflicted by Alzheimer’s will double by 2050.

There is no cure for most forms of dementia. Caring for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will cost an estimated $226 billion in 2015, and these costs are expected to increase to $1.1 trillion in 2050 unless an effective treatment can be found.

Injury prevention for those suffering from dementia impairments can be difficult, since the person’s cognitive deficits may impede preventative action. Preventing injury from falls and wandering is a significant concern as these injuries have been found to occur frequently.

Dementia impairments represent serious health problems that affect many patients and the health facilities providing care. The diagnosis, care, and treatment of dementia patients can give rise to litigation for patient injuries. Attorneys, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, and other potential parties to the litigation should be aware of the types of lawsuits and other liability issues that arise in connection with injuries related to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.