Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyer
With age often comes increased health risks and concerns. While families try to support their aging relatives, eventually, there can come a time when the family has no choice but to place the elderly in nursing homes that are better equipped to offer medical support and services.
Family members trust that their loved ones will be well cared for. While a great number of those elderly patients are safe, some are not. Each year more than two million cases of nursing home or elder abuse are reported.
If you suspect that a loved one was abused or neglected at a nursing home, our Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyer can help. Our law firm handles nursing home abuse cases throughout Missouri and Kansas. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation at 816-203-0143.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elder abuse is an intentional act that causes or creates risk of harm to someone who is age 60 or older. The CDC recognizes five different types of elder abuse.
They include the following:
Physical Abuse. Physical abuse can include hitting, kicking, slapping, and other contact that causes illness or pain.
Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual interaction of any kind and could also include non-physical contact.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse. This type of abuse occurs when there is verbal or nonverbal behavior that causes distress, pain, or makes the elderly feel uncomfortable. Emotional abuse could also include denying access to family or friends as well as destroying property if it is done in order to inflict pain.
Financial Abuse or Exploitation. Financial abuse occurs when someone improperly uses or controls an elderly person’s finances.
Neglect. Neglect occurs when an elderly person is denied basic needs. This could include denial of food, water, shelter, and medical care. Neglect is the most common form of nursing home abuse.
Common Nursing Home Abuse Injuries
Nursing home neglect cases vary based on what type of issues a nursing home may have. However, the most common cases involve the following:
- Bedsores or Pressure Ulcers
- Injuries as a Result of Falls
- Environmental Hazards
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Suffocation from faulty bed
Recognizing Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect
Each case of nursing home abuse or neglect is different, but in general, there are red flags to watch for that may help you determine if the elderly person you know is experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect.
- If the elderly person has declining personal hygiene, it may mean there is an issue in the nursing home. Staff is paid to assist with activities of daily living, which includes assisting nursing home residents with basic things like getting dressed, brushing teeth, combing hair, and more. Be aware, declining personal hygiene can be a sign of psychological issues as well, so talk to not only the person affected but to staff as well if things seem to be declining.
- Does the elderly person seem to be acting differently? If there is a lack of emotion, or too much emotion? If so, that could be a red flag that things are not as they should be at the nursing home. Changes in emotional state should be evaluated and taken seriously.
- Look for unexplained injuries. If your normally healthy elderly friend suddenly has a lot of “accidents” that involve bruises, cuts, and maybe broken bones, it’s time to find out what is going on. Falls are the leading cause of injuries in nursing homes, and most can be avoided by monitoring medications, installing the proper safety equipment, and by hiring enough staff to assist patients.
- If there are mobility challenges that were not previously present, it could be a sign of issues at the nursing home. A good nursing home staff will ensure there is enough activity and exercise to maintain muscle tone and health. A nursing home may be neglectful by leaving the elderly in their beds for long periods of time, which creates issues with muscle tone and can cause bed sores.
- If an elderly person has issues in receiving the proper nutrition, or isn’t provided with adequate water, serious issues could occur such as dehydration and malnutrition.
- Poor living conditions are a sign of neglect. If the nursing home has safety or cleanliness issues, they could be endangering the elderly but also violating federal laws. Pay attention to how clean the halls are, whether lights work, and even if there are spills on the floor that haven’t been cleaned. Is the nursing home unusually loud? More organized nursing homes are found to be quieter than those that have issues.
How to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
The most important thing you can do to prevent nursing abuse is to listen to those in nursing homes and take any conversations about abuse and neglect seriously. Older adults often have a lot of pride and don’t want to share their problems.
Make sure they know it is okay to talk about any issues, even if the abuse or neglect is not happening to them personally. Let your them know you are there to help and want to make sure they are being treated fairly with dignity and respect.
Educate yourself about the signs and how to recognize elder abuse and neglect. Check in with those you know in nursing homes. By visiting often you will be able to evaluate the staff and better understand how things operate and have the ability to recognize any potential issues.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you don’t understand or when you see a staff member behaving in a way that you don’t think is appropriate. If your concerns are not taken seriously, involve others who may be able to help, whether it’s the administrator of the nursing home, or the human resource department.
Do not ignore the issue or dismiss the complaints as innocent misunderstandings. While it is possible someone reporting elder abuse or neglect is doing so for reasons not related to abuse, there is a much higher chance that the complaint has some merit. Also, if you dismiss a complaint, the elderly person is less likely to share their concerns with you in the future, which could make things much worse.
When to Hire a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you think someone you know or love in a nursing home is experiencing neglect or abuse, it is important to obtain as much information as possible from the person you believe is abused. Document as much as they can recall and photograph any bruises, cuts, or other injuries. Most importantly, know when to speak to an attorney about the situation. Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, talk to someone who can help.
In general, nursing homes have a standard of care that must be followed. When there is a breakdown in that standard of care, injuries can occur and as a result, filing a lawsuit for abuse or neglect may be an option.
Call Our Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Families will need the help of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to determine if any abuse or neglect is present and if they meet the qualifications needed to establish a lawsuit. Our Kansas City nursing abuse lawyer offers a free consultation, so call us today at 816-203-0143.
Our consultations are free and confidential and there is no obligation to hire our firm. We can answer your questions and offer guidance on what steps you should consider next to protect your legal rights. Strict deadlines apply to nursing home abuse cases in Kansas and Missouri. Don’t wait, call us today.