Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyer Kansas City
Making the decision to place an aging loved one in a nursing home comes with a range of emotions that makes the choice difficult. Once you’ve chosen a facility and made the transition, you expect the nursing home and their caregivers to treat your parent or another family member with respect and dignity and provide them with the exceptional care they deserve.
When nursing homes fail to provide proper care or a caregiver intentionally abuses or neglects a loved one, the physical, emotional, and financial consequences can devastate victims and their families. If you suspect or know your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect while residing at a Kansas City nursing home, you must stop the abuse. You can immediately contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to file a report that will initiate an investigation into your allegations.
The results of an investigation can lead to criminal charges. While this is one form of justice is does not compensate your loved one for their injuries and economic losses related to suffering nursing home abuse. Fortunately, Missouri law allows nursing home residents who have suffered abuse or neglect, or someone on their behalf, to seek compensation for damages by bringing a lawsuit against the abuser and/or the facility.
If you live in the Greater Kansas City, Missouri area, and your loved one has fallen victim to nursing home abuse, you need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal options. Contact The Nail Law Firm online or at (816)251-1001 for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your nursing home abuse or neglect case and determine the best path forward for you and your family.
The Nail Law Firm Holds Nursing Homes Accountable
The Nail Law Firm has extensive experience representing clients in high-stakes personal injury cases. In the last three decades, he has secured verdicts and settlements for clients that are among the highest in Missouri. The firm’s experience lies across multiple areas of law, including representing healthcare providers in malpractice cases before he began representing injured clients.
The Nail Law Firm’s dedication to professional excellence and commitment to case preparation benefits clients, so they have the best chances of receiving maximum compensation for their injuries. Each nursing home abuse case is different, so we cannot promise a specific financial outcome for your claim. Yet, you can rest assured that our team will tenaciously pursue the best possible outcome for your claim.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Kansas City Nursing Homes
Nursing home abuse is a broad term that encompasses a variety of actions that cause harm to residents. Missouri law defines abuse as physical, sexual, or emotional injury or harm. The law also includes neglect and financial exploitation under the umbrella of abuse. Below we offer a broad overview of the different types of nursing home abuse your loved one might have suffered in a Kansas City nursing home.
- Pushing or shoving a resident
- Hitting, slapping, or punching a resident
- Kicking a resident
- Force-feeding a resident
- Denying resident food or water
- Excessive use of bed and/or wheelchair restraints
Neglect in Kansas City Nursing Homes
The National Center on Elder Abuse warns that neglect is the most common type of nursing home abuse across the United States, and unfortunately, the type of abuse that is least reported. Neglect occurs when caregivers do not provide basic physical and emotional needs for a nursing home resident. Neglect also includes the failure to protect a nursing home resident from known neglect by another. Those who neglect nursing home residents are typically nursing assistants, but nurses in charge and facilities can also share responsibility. Neglect, unlike physical abuse, is not always a specific event that leads to injury. More often, neglect is repeated failures that ultimately harm a resident. Common examples of neglect include:
- Failure to provide adequate and nutritious water and food
- Failure to supervise residents
- Failure to provide a resident’s medication
- Failure to provide access to medical or dental care
- Failure to assist residents who suffer from incontinence
- Failure to provide care or aftercare for injuries or wounds
- Failure to assist residents to the toilet
- Turning off call lights without addressing resident needs
Bedsores Are a Sign of Neglect
Bedsores, which are sometimes called pressure sores, are skin ulcers that occur from sitting or lying in the same position for too long. Bedsores can cause permanent skin damage, infection, and excruciating pain for those who develop them. Bedsores specifically occur because sitting or lying in one position for a long time stops the blood flow in the affected areas of the body and an open wound develops. They typically develop where one’s skin is closest to their bone, such as the back, hips, shoulder blades, and tailbone.
Nursing assistants who care for nursing home residents are supposed to help residents who struggle with mobility and change their position at least every two hours. Neglectful caregivers might be overwhelmed by a heavy workload. Nursing homes are notorious for being understaffed, which promotes neglect. The development of bedsores is typically an obvious sign of nursing home neglect.
Sexual Abuse in Kansas City Nursing Homes
According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, most sexual abuse in nursing care facilities happens between residents. Yet, cases exist where caregivers and other nursing home employees have sexually abused residents. The big gap between reports of sexual abuse between residents and sexual abuse by nursing home employees could be a consequence of the fact that nursing home abuse of all types is severely under-reported. Sexual abuse of nursing home residents includes a wide range of actions, such as:
- Forcing or encouraging a nursing home resident to engage in sexual activity
- Inappropriate touching or molestation of nursing home residents, regardless of whether they are clothed
- Exposing oneself to a resident or masturbating in front of a nursing home resident
Emotional Abuse in Kansas City Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents also sometimes suffer from emotional abuse, which often accompanies physical abuse or neglect. Victims show the same behavioral symptoms as someone who has been physically abused, sometimes making it difficult to notice when physical marks are not present. Many mistakenly assume that emotional abuse is verbal abuse. It is true that verbal abuse is emotional in nature, but abusers can harm nursing home residents without saying a word. Examples of emotional abuse include:
- Yelling, screaming, and cursing at a resident
- Making threats against a resident, their friends, or their family
- Talking down to a nursing home resident
- Calling names
- Hiding a resident’s personal property
- Embarrassing a resident in front of others
- Forced isolation from other residents, friends, and family members
- Giving a resident the silent treatment
Emotional abuse directly targets a resident’s self-esteem and psyche and victims do not often show symptoms. If you suspect abuse, you need to keep a close eye on your elder’s behavior to notice changes that might indicate emotional abuse.
Financial Abuse in Kansas City Nursing Homes
The extent of financial abuse in nursing homes is not known, but the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports that each year they receive an increasing amount of complaints. The SEC has done extensive research in New York and estimates elders in New York lose more than $100 million every year as a result of financial exploitation. It’s likely Kansas City numbers are not nearly as high, but it’s certain some nursing home residents and their families suffer great financial loss. Nursing home residents who suffer from dementia have the greatest risk of financial abuse or exploitation. Examples of financial abuse that sometimes occurs in nursing homes include:
- Misappropriating or misusing the resident’s personal funds
- Stealing cash or checks
- Stealing credit or debit cards
- Identify theft
- Stealing jewelry and other valuable personal items
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect are severely under-reported. Some residents cannot communicate and others do not share their pain because they fear retaliation. The following signs do not always indicate your loved one is being abused or neglected, but they should give you pause to investigate further. If you suspect abuse or neglect and you notice any of these signs, you need to speak to the nursing home administrator immediately and consult with Roger Nail to learn about your legal options.
Physical Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
- Cuts and wounds
- Pale skin and sunken facial features
- Drastic weight loss
- Strong body odor
- Soiled clothing
- Unexplained injuries
Behavioral Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
- Excessive worry and anxiety
- Confusion or disorientation
- Withdrawal from friends in the nursing home
- Withdrawal from planned social activities
- Refusal to speak when caregivers are present
- Talk of suicide or self-harm
Signs of Financial Abuse or Exploitation
- Missing personal property, cash, checks, etc.
- Unexplained credit and debit card charges
- Unauthorized address changes
- New accounts opened under your loved one’s name
Seeking Compensation in a Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
If the nursing home resident you love suffers abuse or neglect, Missouri law permits them, or someone on their behalf, to seek compensation for damages against the individual abusers and/or the nursing care facility. If both parties reach a settlement or a court rules in favor of the plaintiff, your loved one could receive compensation for the following damages and losses related to their injuries and trauma:
- Medical treatment costs related to abuse or neglect including ambulance service, hospitalization, transitional care, rehabilitation, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests
- Transfer costs from moving your loved one to another nursing home
- Estimated future medical costs if injuries lead to permanent disability or require ongoing treatment
- Cost of seeing a psychologist, counselor, or another mental health specialist to cope with the emotional trauma of abuse and neglect
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages in nursing home abuse cases that involve willful harm or extreme negligence
Taking Action After the Wrongful Death of Your Loved One
If the nursing home resident you love tragically lost his or her life as a result of abuse or neglect, you may be eligible to receive compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit depending on your relationship with the resident. Eligible family members can receive compensation for any medical expenses they paid and can also recover costs for funeral services and cremation or burial. Wrongful death lawsuits also compensate eligible family members for the intangible aspects of their loss such as loss of companionship or loss of parental guidance and support. Roger Nail can answer specific questions related to your family’s circumstances.
Get the Legal Help You Need for the Nursing Home Resident You Love
Nursing homes are not places where we place our loved ones, walk away, and wait for their life to end. It is a home for residents who deserve the best care delivered with dignity and respect. We trust nursing homes and their employees to provide the best care for our parents, grandparents, and other elders we love, when they can no longer care for themselves. Nursing home abuse and neglect breaks this trust and devastates victims and their families.
The Nail Law Firm’s extensive experience and thirst for client advocacy can help you hold your loved one’s caregivers and nursing home accountable for the harm they caused. The Nail Law Firm serves clients in Kansas City and throughout Missouri. Contact us online or at (816) 251-1001 for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your loved one’s abuse or neglect and determine the best course of action going forward.