Did Nursing Home Negligence Cause a Dementia Patient’s Arrest?

Photo of a nurse giving out medicine to a patient

A 75-year-old dementia patient was wandering the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation when he reportedly attacked several employees. The police were called, and the man was arrested after an altercation. However, the man had to later be hospitalized and effects of the incident may have plagued him right up until his death. The question now remains, did nursing home negligence contribute to this man’s arrest?

Was Nursing Home Negligence at the Center of a Dementia Patient’s Arrest?

When the arresting officer arrived on the scene, he was informed that the 75-year-old had attacked employees at the nursing facility. At this point, he was also informed that the resident had dementia and had stabbed his daughter in the eye with a knife before. The officer observed the man approaching with a pointed object in his hand and responded by pepper spraying the 75-year-old. The resident ran into another room, where he was arrested after a brief struggle. He was charged with assault, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. The man’s family claims this incident could have easily been prevented.

The family says that the 75-year-old has never stabbed his daughter in the eye, and that the nursing facility gave false information to the responding officer. They also believe that the officer did not respond to the situation correctly once he was informed that the resident was a dementia patient.

In 2005, law enforcement officers were required to receive training on how to handle individuals with dementia and other conditions like Alzheimer’s. The procedure includes expecting patients to be agitated and confused about their current circumstances, and step-by-step instructions should be given while maintaining eye contact.

In light of this training, the family feels that this officer did not respond correctly. Because of this, they have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the police department and the employees of the assisted living facility.

Should the nursing facility be held responsible for telling the officer that a dementia patient had attacked his daughter before? Did the officer respond properly given the situation? These questions will soon have their day in court, and the nursing home abuse attorneys at Keefe Law Firm will be watching for a decision.