Nursing Home Negligence And Abuse
Legal Guidance with Nursing Home Negligence Cases
Every year thousands of people are abused in nursing homes. According to the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, approximately one-third of nursing homes are cited for abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse:
No one knows for certain [how many are abused] because relatively few cases are identified. Research indicates that more than one in ten elders may experience some type of abuse, but only one in five cases or fewer are reported. This means that very few seniors who have been abused get the help they need.
When we place a loved one in the care of a nursing home, we put substantial trust in its ability to provide comfort, well-being, and safety. There are laws governing the operation of nursing homes and their responsibilities. If a family member has been injured due to nursing home malpractice, the Kansas City personal injury lawyers of Norton & Spencer, P.C., are here to help you and your loved one.
Examples of Elder Abuse
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) states that abuse can take place on many levels. Nursing home malpractice can be extremely complicated, but because we focus exclusively on personal injury cases< and bring more than 60 years of experience to each case, there is no issue for which we are not prepared.
Our lawyers take an approach to legal issues that has resulted in more than $50 million in recovery for clients in Missouri, including personal injury cases involving:
- Bed sores
- Medication errors
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Physical/sexual assault
- Elder abuse
How Is the Law Involved?
The federal government has laws in place to protect against elder abuse. In fact, The Elder Justice Act enhanced the government’s involvement in these cases, promoting grants to provide support and enforcement.
Missouri law also offers protections for elders. Under statute 192.2400 of the Department of Health and Senior Services, abuse is defined as physical, emotional, or sexual harm or injury. Under these statutes, elder bullying is defined as intimidation or harassment which causes a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety. This includes many acts such as rude gestures, threats, and rude oral, online, and written communication.
These statutes also define neglect as a form of abuse. Neglect is a failure to provide services to an eligible person by another person or even corporation with a contractual obligation to do so. The failure must present some sort of danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the recipient.
According to statute 570.145, financial exploitation can also count as a form of elder abuse. Financial exploitation is defined as knowingly controlling the property of an elderly person with the intent of depriving the victim of benefits or possessions. In addition, the offender must benefit or the victim must be detrimentally affected. Methods can include:
- Failure to correct a misrepresentation.
- Misrepresentation for services that the person or entity does not intent on providing.
Where Can Elder Abuse Occur?
Elder abuse can take place in various places. It can take place in elder care centers, and assisted living, and residential care facilities. Abuse might be perpetuated by workers, volunteers, or even the corporation itself. Again, this can amount from physical and emotional harm, exploitation, and deprivation.
Shockingly, the NCOA reports that 60% of elder abuse is committed by family members. This percentage includes adult children and spouses.
What to Do If Abuse or Neglect Occurs
The State of Missouri provides options for elderly victims of abuse or neglect. Victims are encouraged to report their abuse to Adult Protective Services, a care or abuse ombudsperson (a representative that can file a report), or even the police. You don’t have to be a victim to report abuse – if you see something, contact the same organizations. An investigation will begin after that.
For this reason, it is important to recognize the signs of abuse. Speak up if you notice anything peculiar in the senior citizen, including:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, or other visible injuries.
- Unexplained withdrawals, sudden changes in emotion, or depression.
- Sudden changes in financial situation.
- Unattended medical needs.
According to federal and state laws, mandated reporters are also available and should be ready to help. Mandated reporters include health professionals like chiropractors, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists. They can also include adult day care workers, fire fighters, law enforcement officers, and social workers. The full list encompasses those entrusted with the responsibility of caring for the elderly. These individuals are required to report when there is reasonable cause or suspicion of abuse.
After the reports are filed, investigations can ensue and legal aid may be required. It is important to have an experience law firm that has your interests at heart.
Where to Seek Legal Help
Elder abuse can be difficult to handle. At Norton & Spencer, P.C., we have experience in malpractice cases and are not afraid to take challenging cases. To discuss any aspect of elder injury in a free, no-obligation meeting with one of our Kansas City nursing home negligence attorneys, call us at 816-454-5800. You may also send us a confidential email.