Thursday, December 11, 2014

Community-dwelling Dementia Patients Might have Firearms in Their Homes

A study of 500 mid-western dementia patients showed that more than 1 in 10 of them had firearms in their homes.  27% of elderly patients owned at least one gun, and if they owned one, they were likely to own more than one.  Those with impaired memory were more likely to have delusions, hallucinations, and most likely depression.  The authors of the study acknowledged that physicians have no right to take away a gun owned by a patient.  However, they suggested that doctors ask patients with psychiatric problems or dementia about gun ownership.  If that appears likely, the care-giver should be urged to remove the gun, unload it, and/or lock it away to avoid consequences such as suicide and tragic outbursts of anger.

See Family Practice News, August 2014 issue, p. 1,4.

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