Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Kansas City, MO
According to data and statistics from the Census record, there are more people over the age of 65 than ever before, and by 2050 this age segment will likely account for 20% of the entire US population. While these numbers bode well for the future and show an increase in healthy living and quality of medical care, they also coincide with an increase in elder abuse. If you or someone you care for has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact one of our accomplished Kansas City, MO nursing home abuse attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet for a free case evaluation and or legal consultation, ASAP. Our Kansas City personal injury lawyers are experienced and here to help.
While there is no way of knowing exactly how many elderly individuals are abused or neglected each year, studies suggest the incidence rate is around 7.6%–10.0%. However, those close to the issue believe only one out of every fourteen cases are ever brought to the attention of the proper authorities.
Who is it doing the abusing? While a healthy majority occurs at the hands of family members, another large percentage is attributed to nursing homes and elderly care facilities. In one study of 2,000 nursing home residents, 44% said they had been abused at least once, while 95% said they had either been neglected themselves or seen another resident neglected.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Kansas City
It is a sad reality that the majority of nursing home abuse cases go unreported. Elderly victims may be too scared of retaliation to come forward or have mental limitations that prevent them from saying anything about their experiences. It is up to family members to visit often, notice signs of something wrong, and to report their suspicions to authorities. If you or a loved one is facing potential nursing home abuse or negligence in Kansas City, here is how to report your case.
- Understand specific state information. Call (800) 677-1116 during business hours to reach the Eldercare Locator. This is a guide that lists sources for assistance in your city or state. Calling the Eldercare Locator or searching your location through the website can put you in touch with nursing home abuse resources. Your state may have specific guidelines for how to report.
- Find the proper outlet to hear your report. If you cannot find the information you need through the Eldercare Locator, try the National Center on Elder Abuse. The NCEA has steps to help you know how to report your suspicions. You do not need proof that abuse has occurred to report your suspicions. Reporting will simply begin an investigation.
- Call 911. If you or a loved one is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911 to report elder abuse. Do not wait until you have proof or until the damage has already happened. You can call 911 and receive assistance right away for foreseeable risks of harm, such as a threat of bodily injury from a nursing home staff member.
- Collect evidence. Although the authorities will conduct an investigation and can gather any available evidence for you, it can help your case to begin preserving evidence as soon as possible. This could include the clothes your loved one was wearing, photographs of the nursing home, eyewitness statements, and medical records. The more information you have about the situation, the stronger your case will be.
- Answer any questions. Once you contact the authorities, they may ask you a series of questions to further understand the situation. Answer them openly and honestly. These questions may include: “Does the victim have any known medical problems?” and “Have you observed any instances of abusive behavior?” The professionals taking down your information legally cannot disclose your identity.
- Contact a Kansas City nursing home abuse attorney. After you have reported your suspicions and begun an investigation, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys to discuss your case. Your loved one may be eligible to receive compensation for his or her medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost funds from financial exploitation. A lawyer can help you fight for justice.
During the investigation, move your loved one to a safe location. Once you cooperate with the investigation, the authorities will either dismiss the case or deal with the nursing home as it sees fit, based on any evidence of abuse or neglect gathered. The nursing home may face fines, penalties, and a mandate to remedy the situation. The establishment or some of its staff members may also face criminal charges.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse to Look For
Before you can report nursing home abuse and save your loved one from a terrifying and potentially life-threating situation, you must recognize that a situation exists. Again, most victims do not do the reporting themselves; instead, it is up to friends and family members to realize that something is amiss. Visit your loved one often during his or her stay in a nursing home. Be on the lookout for potential red flags for abuse.
- Unexplained injuries or illnesses
- Frequent trips to the emergency room
- Strange bruises or marks on the elderly person
- Burns, scratches, or strap marks
- Broken eyeglasses
- Fear or discomfort around certain staff members
- Unusual behaviors, including mumbling or thumb-sucking
- Staff members yelling at one another
- Staff members belittling or berating residents
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Pelvic injuries
- Bloody or torn underwear
- Malnourishment or dehydration
- Unsanitary premises
- Lack of personal hygiene (e.g., dirty adult diapers)
These are just some of the many signs of nursing home abuse and neglect that may be visible in a case. Some situations will involve more than one flagrant red flag of abuse, while others may be subtler. Your loved one may show signs of inexplicable guilt or shame, for example, or stop enjoying daily activities. These can be signs of abuse that are easily missed if you do not visit your loved one often. Be vigilant in checking for potential abuse and neglect in Kansas City nursing homes. If you do notice anything unusual, speak to an attorney right away.
Nursing Abuse Statistics
Keeping up with how many senior citizens face abuse, neglect, and exploitation can allow experts to track this issue and work toward effective solutions. Unfortunately, the statistics on nursing home and elder abuse are difficult to come by. Research in this subject area began somewhat recently – in the last 20 years. Experts believe statistics are drastically below the reality of the situation, due to the lack of reporting by victims. That being said, some studies and statistics are available.
- Researchers believe about 1 in 10 elders over the age of 60 has suffered abuse.
- As many as 24.3% of nursing home residents have experienced at least one instance of physical abuse.
- Victims only report around 1 in 25 cases of elder abuse, at least according to a study in New York.
- Around 5.2% of elderly people report financial exploitation involving a family member.
- Elders are more likely to report financial exploitation than other forms of abuse.
- Over a two-year period, almost one-third of all nursing homes received citations for violations that could or did cause harm to residents.
- About 10% of these nursing homes had risks of serious injuries or deaths.
- Physical abuse happens the most often – around 27.4% of cases.
- Women are more likely to suffer elder abuse than men are.
- Studies show as many as 50% of nursing home residents with dementia suffer neglect or abuse.
- Family members are responsible for around 60% of elder abuse cases.
- Two-thirds of abuse perpetrators are spouses or adult children.
- Elders who have suffered abuse are three times more likely to die than those who have not faced mistreatment.
- The cost of elder financial abuse is from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually.
At Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet, you or your loved one is not just a statistic. We care deeply about what happens to our clients. We want our clients to stay educated about the growing problem of nursing home abuse in the country, but we also want to express that each case is unique. A Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyer from Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet will take time getting to know you and understanding how the incident influenced you and your family. Then, we will tailor a legal solution according to your needs.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
These statistics and studies are certainly alarming, and the sad truth of the matter is that most of these abused individuals don’t have a voice or platform to be heard from. Whether you live in a nursing home or have a friend or relative under the care of others, it’s important to understand the various forms and types of nursing home abuse.
Physical abuse involves physical force against an individual and usually leads to physical pain, bodily injury, impairment, or visible marks. Common forms of physical abuse include hitting, pushing, shoving, slapping, shaking, kicking, beating, burning, throwing an object, or striking with an object. Other forms of physical abuse in nursing homes include force feeding, using physical restraint, and any other forms of physical punishment. The signs and symptoms of physical abuse include bleeding, scratch marks, bruises, scabs, discoloration, swelling, broken bones, open wounds, and more.
Sexual abuse involves any non-consensual sexual contact with an elderly individual. Types of sexual abuse include unwanted touching, sodomy, sexual assault, rape, coerced nudity, and exposure to sexually explicit materials. Signs and symptoms include bruising or bleeding around the breast, anal, or genital area, torn or stained undergarments, genital infections or venereal diseases, and firsthand reports of sexual abuse.
Financial abuse among the elderly is quite common and includes any illegal or improper use of a person’s assets, funds, or property without consent. Types of financial abuse include cashing checks, withdrawing money from savings accounts, coercing an elderly individual into signing documents, forging signatures, and abusing power of attorney or guardianship responsibilities. Telltale signs of financial abuse include sudden changes in bank account or banking activity, the addition of foreign names to an elder’s bank card, unauthorized withdrawals of funds, unexplained money transfers, and more.
Neglect is a form of abuse that occurs when a caretaker fails to fulfill obligations and duties. Other types and acts of neglect include refusing to provide necessities like food, water, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene, medication, security, and comfort. Signs and symptoms include malnutrition, dehydration, bed sores, poor hygiene, unsanitary living conditions, and more.
Wrongful death describes a situation where a person dies as the result of someone else’s negligence. For example, many people depend on nursing homes or long-term care facilities to provide for their loved ones’ medical needs with diligence, trustworthiness, and dependability. Thus, when a loved one has died unexpectedly in a nursing home, we must question whether the facility or one of its employees is responsible.
Because those in nursing homes are nearing the end of their lives, many don’t investigate the causes of their loved ones’ deaths. However, family members and friends can usually tell if their loved one’s death was unusually sudden, unexplainable, or surrounded by vague circumstances. If a medical professional is unclear about the details of your loved one’s death or can’t answer your questions, it could be a sign of negligence.
Other Forms of Abuse
In addition to these types of abuse, other forms of nursing home abuse include abandonment, emotional or psychological injuries and abuse, and material exploitation. However, anything that puts an elderly individual at involuntary risk can be considered abuse.
Contact a Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one are suffering from nursing home abuse, it’s important to take action. While the large majority of cases go unreported, the ones that are brought to light are usually dealt with. For the health and safety of you and your loved ones, contact a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer today.
Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet cares about Kansas City’s elderly population. We can immediately go to work on your case, relocating your loved one to a safe place and filing a report with the correct authorities in Missouri. We can then begin building a personal injury claim on your loved one’s behalf. A lawsuit could result in financial compensation for economic and noneconomic damages. Let us help you and your elderly loved one achieve justice. Call (816) 832-4688 for a free consultation.