If you have a loved one who is preparing to move into a nursing home in Woodstock or has been living in one for some time and you know the medical conditions they suffer from can cause them to be noncompliant, you might be wondering what the staff is legally permitted to do in order to gain control when your loved one doesn’t want to listen. The fact is, there are several illnesses and diseases that directly interfere with an elderly individual’s ability to listen and comply which sometimes makes it difficult for nursing home staff to do their job.

Some diseases that are known to affect a person’s ability to communicate which can lead to them being noncompliant include:

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There are certain diseases that cause elderly individuals to become confused, agitated, and even noncompliant but never should nursing home staff resort to violence to gain control over them.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s, depending on the stage a person who suffers from this disease is in, can affect their memory and ability to communicate. Some symptoms of Alzheimer’s include “mood and behavior changes, unfounded suspicions about family, friends, and professional caregivers, disorientation, and difficulty speaking” [Source: The Alzheimer’s Association]. If your family member suffers from this form of dementia, which happens to be the most common form of it, it could cause them to disagree with the staff or choose not to obey their requests.


  • Hearing loss. If your loved one’s hearing has declined, it can make it difficult for him or her to understand what the staff wants them to do. In return, while it may come off as them being noncompliant, they may just not be able to hear the requests that are being asked of them which results in them not listening.


  • Delirium “is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of the environment. The start of delirium is usually rapid—within hours or a few days.” The symptoms of delirium and Alzheimer’s are similar in nature which can cause physicians to misdiagnose their patient who might be displaying symptoms of either illness. But, when a patient is diagnosed with delirium, it is known to cause a person to become rebellious or even combative as some of the symptoms of delirium include:


  • The inability to stay focused on a topic or switch topics.
  • Disorientation
  • Trouble understanding speech
  • Restlessness, agitation, or combative behavior
  • Irritability or anger
  • Rapid and unpredictable mood shifts


Now, just because your loved may struggle with an illness that affects their ability communicate which causes them to be disruptive and even resistant, never should nursing home staff resort to physical harm in an effort to gain control of them or get them to comply with the demands that are being made. Nursing home residents do have rights, one of which that says they have “the right to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and to be free from chemical and physical restraints” [Source: State Bar of Georgia.] That means nursing home staff members should not:


  • Use physical or chemical restraints of any kind unless the situation calls for it and they have received authorization to do so.
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Your loved one should never be given medication that a physician has not authorized them to take in order to calm them down.

  • Nursing home staff cannot administer antipsychotic drugs to residents who have not been diagnosed with an illness that requires these medications to be given to them. Unfortunately, many nursing homes do administer antipsychotic drugs to calm the residents who become resistant so they don’t have to deal with them and can carry on with their list of responsibilities.


  • Become physically abusive toward a resident who may be combative toward them. Nursing home residents who are suffering from an illness that interferes with their cognitive abilities are not to be hit, pushed, or harmed in any other way by a staff member if they become combative. The fact is, nursing home staff members should be trained to handle situations such as these when they arise and should not resort to violence.


To learn more about what a nursing home residents rights are, you can always contact a Woodstock, GA elder law attorneywho would be happy to review these with you.


What should I do if a nursing home staff member abused my relative?


If your loved one became combative or noncompliant at any time prior to the harm being inflicted, the staff at the facility may attempt to justify their behavior by using this as their reasoning for having to get forceful with them. Now, to help prove he/she should not have applied the level of force that they did, you will want to hire a Woodstock, GA nursing home abuse lawyer to defend your loved one who is the victim in this matter. To speak with a skilled nursing home abuse attorney in Woodstock, GA now, contact Imbriale Injury Law at 678-445-7423.


Imbriale Injury Law is located at:


145 Towne Lake Parkway, Suite 200

Woodstock, GA 30188


Website: www.imbrialeinjury.com