Abuse and Neglect Attorneys Defending Nursing Home Residents Throughout Missouri
Protecting the most vulnerable members of our society is essential, but sadly, all too often there are those who will abuse their position of power to cause pain and suffering. Abuse and neglect in nursing homes is a common problem, and it is crucial that victims have the legal advice and support they need to get justice for their loved ones.
Elder abuse is defined as being the abuse and neglect of a person aged over 60 by a caregiver or other trusted personnel.
What Responsibilities Do Nursing Homes Have?
All nursing homes have a legal responsibility for the residents in their care, and this means that they are bound by regulations and requirements. A failure to adhere to these regulations means that the nursing home could be found liable, and you will be able to pursue legal action.
A duty of care means that nursing homes are legally obligated to meet certain standards and procedures. One the most important of these includes ensuring that the health and individual needs of each resident are adequately assessed and met. This includes completing a care plan to ensure comfort and health and to prevent injuries and ensuring that homes are adequately staffed. There must be a minimum number of staff available on each shift, and they must be properly trained to carry out the role they are employed for.
What Counts As Abuse?
According to Missouri law, there are three types of illegal mistreatment: abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
- Abuse: this is classed as the infliction of physical, sexual, or emotional harm or injury.
- Neglect: this is classed as the failure to provide the services needed by any person, firm, or corporation which has a legal or contractual duty to do so, when such failure presents either an imminent danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the client or a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm would result.
- Financial exploitation: this involves using deception, intimidation, or force in order to gain control over a person’s property, with the intention of permanently and detrimentally depriving them of the use, benefit or possession of that property.
What Are The Signs Of Abuse?
Any act which causes harm to another could be defined as negligent. If this is proven, it could mean the nursing home and care worker(s) may be liable for damages. Signs of negligence and neglect include:
- Bed sores (decubitus ulcers)
- Resident is living in an unsanitary environment
- Signs of malnutrition or dehydration
- A smell of urine and/or feces
- The individual appears unkempt or dishevelled
- Strange wounds, cuts, abrasions, burns
- An unexplained fall
- Bruises, welts, swelling
- Broken bones, sudden inexplicable weight loss
- Unexplained or hidden injuries which appear suddenly
- Unwarranted restraints (either physical or chemical)
- Sudden changes in behavior or unusual behaviour patterns, such as depression, withdrawal, or an unwillingness to communicate, or signs of fear or hesitation
- Unjustified isolation
- Rude, humiliating, or derogatory comments by staff
If you note any of these signs or witness any of this behaviour, it could be a suggestion that staff and managers at the home are breaching their legal duty of care.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
If you suspect that a loved one is being abused or neglected while employed in a nursing home, the first thing to do is to contact both the administration of the nursing home and the relevant state authorities. If you believe that the resident is in immediate danger, or this is an urgent situation, do not hesitate to contact emergency assistance, including medical assistance and the police.
Once you have contacted the authorities, you also have the option to take legal action of your own. This includes pursuing a lawsuit against the nursing home and staff who have been negligent. If your case is successful, you may be eligible for damages and compensation for pain and suffering, as well as any medical fees which have been incurred.
How Can We Help?
Here at Grafe & Batchelor, P.C., we have extensive experience in aiding those who have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Our Missouri personal injury lawyers are known for their expertise regarding these kinds of abuse. Contact us today at (636) 933-9151.