Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "dementia" ...

  • The Oregonian: False Comfort

    Thousands of desperate families have turned to an industry that charges premium prices on the promise of safety and comfort for loved ones with dementia. Yet in Oregon, memory care facilities have twice the rate of abuse as other forms of assisted living, The Oregonian/OregonLive's exhaustive analysis of state data found.
  • Kaiser Health News: Unlocked and Loaded: Families Confront Guns and Dementia

    In the U.S., where gun violence kills 96 people each day, there has been vigorous debate about how to stop the carnage, including ways to prevent people with mental illness from acquiring and owning firearms. But an unacknowledged and potentially far bigger problem is what to do about the vast cache of firearms in the homes of aging Americans with dementia. Our four-month investigation, produced in partnership with PBS Newshour, shed new light on an aspect of guns and public health that no one talks about, even though it may affect millions of Americans.
  • Driven to death by phone scammers

    It started with a call from Jamaica and ended in a suicide in a Tennessee basement. In between, Albert Poland Jr. had sent tens of thousands of dollars to the man on the phone promising millions. At 81 and suffering from dementia, Poland had fallen victim to a lottery scam that costs thousands of Americans an estimated $300 million annually -- and has turned deadly in both countries.
  • Wandering

    Six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander, and a quick rescue is critical: 60 percent of those who wander, if not found within 24 hours, are going to die. But in Washington, government belt-tightening has hindered efforts to better equip local law enforcement to handle missing-persons cases involving dementia, InvestigateWest learned. A first-ever analysis of media reports, search-and-rescue mission reports, and interviews with law enforcement by InvestigateWest found that at least ten seniors have died as a direct result of wandering in the last five years. In that group is Samuel Counts, 71, a father of 10 and a retired Vietnam War veteran whose case fueled this story’s narrative. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office waited six full days before enlisting a helicopter in the search, a delay that goes against search-and-rescue experts’ guidelines when someone is endangered. Even as the number of people with Alzheimer’s increases dramatically, no public record is routinely created in Washington when wandering is a contributing factor to death, and no state agency keeps a tally of these cases. Wandering behavior is predictable and training for law enforcement is available, but here in Washington, it takes a tragedy for anyone to pay attention.
  • Wandering

    Six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander, and a quick rescue is critical: 60 percent of those who wander, if not found within 24 hours, are going to die. But in Washington, government belt-tightening has hindered efforts to better equip local law enforcement to handle missing-persons cases involving dementia, InvestigateWest learned. A first-ever analysis of media reports, search-and-rescue mission reports, and interviews with law enforcement by InvestigateWest found that at least ten seniors have died as a direct result of wandering in the last five years. In that group is Samuel Counts, 71, a father of 10 and a retired Vietnam War veteran whose case fueled this story’s narrative. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office waited six full days before enlisting a helicopter in the search, a delay that goes against search-and-rescue experts’ guidelines when someone is endangered. Even as the number of people with Alzheimer’s increases dramatically, no public record is routinely created in Washington when wandering is a contributing factor to death, and no state agency keeps a tally of these cases. Wandering behavior is predictable and training for law enforcement is available, but here in Washington, it takes a tragedy for anyone to pay attention.
  • The Prescribers

    We found that Medicare’s massive prescription drug program, in its drive to get drugs into patients' hands, failed to properly monitor safety. An analysis of four years of Medicare prescription records shows that some doctors and other health professionals across the country prescribed large quantities of drugs that were potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive. One Florida doctor gave hundreds of dementia patients antipsychotic medications despite a black box warning that it increases the risk of death. And more than half the top prescribers of Oxycontin, the most-abused painkiller, faced criminal charges or discipline against their professional licenses, or had been terminated from state Medicaid programs -- but retained their ability to prescribe in Medicare. Federal officials have done little to detect or deter these hazardous prescribing patterns. A subsequent story found that many of the top prescribers of highly advertised drugs within Medicare’s drug program had financial ties to the makers of the drugs. We also built an interactive news application that lets consumers to look up their physicians and see how their prescribing patterns compare to those of their peers. The news application, which has had more than 800,000 page views, allows users to personalize the story for themselves and see their personal stake in this national story.
  • A rampant prescription, a hidden peril

    The series investigated nursing homes’ use of antipsychotic medications on the elderly, a practice the US Food and Drug and Administration has long warned against because of potentially fatal side effects in people with dementia. The Boston Globe analyzed data from 15,600 nursing homes nationwide and found that about 185,000 residents received antipsychotics in 2010 alone, despite not having a medical condition that warranted such use. The series also revealed that Massachusetts nursing homes commonly use antipsychotics to control agitation and combative behavior in elderly residents who should not be receiving the powerful sedatives, yet state regulators seldom use their authority to reprimand or penalize facilities for this practice.
  • Right to Die

    9News questioned the decisions of a small town sheriff who refused to help a family remove their 91-year-old father after he had locked himself into his home. The man was suffering from potential dementia, dehydration, and malnourishment. The family thought the man would die if he did not recieve medical attention and convinced a judge he should issue an order requiring he be hospitalized. The sheriff argued the man had the "right to die" if he wanted to and upheld the court order.
  • Life's Last Chapter: How Well Will We Care?

    According to the author, "Tens of millions of Americans are living healthy, active lives well into their 70s, 80s and beyond...Yet, inevitably, many of these same Americans will endure a slow, merciless decline. Three-quarters of Americans today die after lengthy struggles with chronic illness -- cancer, dementia, arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis...." This series of articles focuses on the state of elderly care today...what is working, and what isn't.
  • The Toxic Workplace: Railroads, Solvents and Sickness

    A Courier-Journal investigative series reveals "how, despite medical warnings, the railroad industry in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s allowed the heavy and largely unprotected use of chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents in their locomotive maintenance shops; how railroads resisted government inspections for almost a decade when solvent use was perhaps its highest and that more than 600 railroaders across the country have since then been diagnosed with permanent brain damage that their doctors blame on the chemicals." The reporters have found evidence that the railroad industry was aware of the danger of toxic chemicals as far back as the 1960s but some companies continued to use them until mid-1990s. CSX Transportation, the largest railroad in the eastern part of the country has so far paid up to $35 in legal settlements, the Courier-Journal reports.