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Does anyone know if there are standard guidelines that homes are required to follow when there are male & female patients living in the same wing.

My father is in an Alzheimer's Unit and we've had a siutation arise where a female patient has shown an interest in my father. I'm concerned for a number of reasons:

The staff tells me that Margaret was the one who initiated the whole situation. She tells everyone that he is her husband. And be comes agitated when the staff try to tell her otherwise or separate them.

My father is not capable of recognizing his own family members; therefore, how can he possibly know who Margaret is or make informed choices?

My father was placed in the unit because he had become aggressive with my step-mother. What happens and whose responsibility is it if he becomes aggressive with this patient?

The staff has told us they try to uphold the patient's dignity and not interfere, but when does that cross the line with letting another patient take control of his life?

What if the shoe was on the other foot and my father was the aggressor? Would they be as willing to look the other way?

I know my father well enough to reasonably conclude that this would not be his choice. After my mother died, he chose to remarry rather than live with my step-mother. His values were always very clear. I guess I feel like his values are being compromised in order to keep another patient happy and cause less aggravation for the staff.

I'd love to hear from some of you who may have had a similar experience or have any insight into how a situation like this is handled elsewhere.
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Hi mpr1638: My dearest friend Dorothy is in a wing where there are several men. She gets very fearful when they come around her...she had been raped younger in her life. I have talked with the staff about Dorothy's fears and they keep a watchful eye out as best as they can. Sadly, staffing is short at most facilities. Does the facility where your Dad is have regular staffings for your father. Do you attend them? This might be the best place to get this resolved as more staff are present. In the interim, I can only say that when I see a male upsetting Dorothy, I intervene by taking her for a walk or I will go immediately to an aide and if the aide ignores me, I go to the Nurse on duty. Our loved ones have a right to be protected and although we know that the residents there are all ill, we want our loved ones treated with respect and dignity...and guaranteed some semblance of privacy. I also have talked with Dorothy and gently tell her that when the males she feels uncomfortable with approach her she should just walk into the main gathering area where there are more people and staff present. Her alzheimer's requires that I reinforce this with her daily. It seems to me that it would be the responsibility of the staff to protect any resident from harassment and lack of privacy. Gail probably knows more about this than I. I just share what I experience and know. I hope it works out for you and your Dad.

Hello MPR and Welcome...

I myself, have not had to deal with nursing home issues however, I am aware that there are omnisbudsmen that are provided in each state to help you with this issue in the nursing home.

There are many phone numbers and urls to agencies and organizations here at the site at

National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR) Call 202-332-2275 for a publication list or visit the website at


here are some more resources that can assist you as well.

Nursing Home Information
800 427-8700

Elder Abuse

Nat. Health Info.Clearinghouse on Aging
(202) 245-2158 Data Washington D.C

Legal Counsel for the (202) 728-4333 Legal
Washington D.C

National Center On Aging (202) 682-0100 Elder Abuse Washington D.C

American Assn. of Retired Persons (202) 872-4700 Soc. & Legal Srvcs Washington D.C.

Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility Abuse and Neglect. Virtual Law Offices [URL=][/URL][/URL]

I do hope some of this can assist you. Please keep us posted on your progress.

Warmest wishes,
Dear MPR1638, I'm sorry you have this additional worry re; your father. I have some experience with nursing homes and from my experience with "getting things taken care of" you need to use the old broken record technique...until the change is made or your concern adequately addressed. Perhaps it will take a room change, although this can be tough it might be one solution. Staff are unfortunately overworked and this type of thing might not be a priority...but I see your concern and would not feel comfortable if this were my father. Above all, do not feel like you are a pest or making waves. Your fathers privacy and dignity need to be respected. The Ombudsman, Charge Nurse, or Director of Nursing should be able to address this situation. Just hang in there and let them know you are very concerned (and with good reason). Good luck and let us know how things are going.
Thanks for the responses! I am finding out that there are different regulations for nursing homes vs. assisted living facilities. My father is in an assisted living facility with a secured, memory-impaired unit for Alzheimer's patients.

I have spoke w/several of these agencies and other facilities with Alzheimer's units and the common thread seems to be that this type of contact should have been discouraged by the staff.

Unfortunately the Director of the facility, the Admissions Director & Nursing Director have all been out the last 2 days at a seminar. The Director took a long holiday weekend, so she won't be back until Tuesday. I left a message to find out who is covering for her because I don't really want to let this go thru the weekend.
Hi MPR, Good for you for doing some investigating. It's good that you called and left a message to find out who is covering while people are away. It will let them know that you are genuinely concerned and do not think this is a trivial matter. It is important to protect our loved ones privacy and to minimize situations that potentially might increase confusion etc. Bringing this to the attention of the right people might lead to an Inservice for staff members to help them learn to redirect residents in similar situations(rather than allow it to go on). In the nursing home where my Mom was I could always get the help I needed from several of the staff members that had been there the longest...the aides were as helpful as the nurses and having been there for years knew the inside scoop...and how to see things thru. Good going...and good luck to you and your Dad. Jan

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