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MISSOURI NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYERS

Unable to care for themselves due to age or illness, many people, together with their families, make the decision to move into a nursing home in order to get the type of care and assistance they need. Sometimes nursing homes fail to provide the attention and level of treatment that they are supposed to, and in some tragic cases residents can fall victim to physical and psychological abuse while in the nursing home.

Because nursing home residents are some of society’s most vulnerable individuals, they can be easy targets for abuse and neglect. It is often hard for them to speak up about the mistreatment, either because they are too ill or because they are embarrassed or don’t want to get anyone in trouble. That means it’s very important for their family members and other loved ones to keep close tabs on them and serve as advocates when something goes wrong.

NURSING HOME ABUSE TAKES SEVERAL FORMS:

  • Physical abuse — This is essentially any use of force against a vulnerable person that was not the result of an unintentional accident. Physical abuse can also include the inappropriate use of drugs to “chemically restrain” a patient.
  • Emotional abuse — Nursing home personnel can inflict emotional abuse on residents by leaving them in a state of emotional distress, anxiety or fear. They can also ignore a resident or leave the person in isolation.
  • Sexual abuse — This includes any non-consensual sexual contact between nursing home personnel and a resident. Sexual abuse in a nursing home is particularly troubling because the resident is typically incapacitated to some degree, and the staff member generally has a degree of power, authority and dominance over them. Sexual abuse does not necessarily have to include touching. It could consist of forcing a resident to view pornography or other people’s sexual acts or forcing the resident to undress for no reason.
  • Financial exploitation ­— Because many nursing home residents are lonely and looking for friends, they can become an easy target for an unscrupulous nursing home staff member who sees the resident as a source of easy money. While residents can be the victims of outright theft, they are more likely to be scammed or tricked into giving away their life savings. They are also frequently victims of identity theft and health-care fraud, which is where a facility charges for services that are not provided, even though the resident might be in desperate need of them.

MISSOURI NURSING HOME NEGLECT

In addition to blatant, intentional abuse at the hands of their caregivers, nursing home residents can also be the victims of simple neglect. This is becoming more common as some nursing homes become understaffed or have a high turnover of underpaid and undertrained caregivers.

Overwhelmed facilities might fail to provide residents with proper hydration and nutrition. This can be a life-threatening problem, and many residents are not able to get food or drink for themselves and they might not even be aware of their thirst and hunger.

Personal hygiene neglect is another serious problem. Residents might be left un-bathed in dirty clothes for hours or even days. It is also possible that soiled beds will be left unchanged, and the cleanliness of the actual facility might fall into an unsanitary condition.

Along with the neglect of a resident’s hygiene and malnutrition, many nursing homes fail to take care of residents’ medical needs. They might fail to administer necessary medicines or treatments, and could neglect to treat cuts or other injuries that might result in infection. One of the most common outcomes of neglect is the development of bedsores or pressure ulcers. If someone is left sitting or lying in the same position for a long time, these sores can become large and deep, allowing infection to penetrate all the way to the bone.

SIGNS OF NURSING HOME NEGLECT AND ABUSE

The best way to prevent your loved one from falling victim to serious neglect or abuse is to keep close tabs on them by visiting often. During your visits, you should keep an eye out for the following warning signs of abuse and neglect:

  • Untreated cuts, wounds or sores
  • Soiled clothes or bedding
  • Signs of poor hygiene, including the smell of urine or feces
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fearfulness or withdrawal from normal activities
  • Unexplained changes in alertness
  • Evidence of unexplained sexually transmitted diseases or injuries to the mouth, genitals, anus or breasts
  • Distress when being changed or bathed, or fear of a certain individual
  • Bruises or abrasions
  • Torn, stained or bloody clothing or bedding
  • Hair loss
  • Untreated bedsores
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Unusual financial transactions
  • Strange behaviors
  • Staff won’t leave you alone with the resident
  • Staff won’t let you visit the resident

I SUSPECT NURSING HOME ABUSE, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you believe that your vulnerable loved one is being abused in a nursing home, you need to jump into action. Even if you are not entirely sure that abuse or neglect is actually occurring, you need to take the issue seriously. It is important to note that nursing home abuse is notoriously difficult to catch. In many cases, a smoking gun will not be immediately apparent. You owe it to your loved one to follow-up on any reasonable suspicions that there some types of mistreatment occurring. An experienced Missouri nursing home abuse attorney can help you make sure that your loved one is fully protected. In cases where you believe abuse or neglect is still ongoing, you should report the issue to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). This agency has the tools available to help you put a quick stop to any issues. In cases where emergency assistance is necessary, please dial 911. There is no better option than 911 in emergency cases. You can never be too careful with nursing home abuse. Once the immediate threat to your loved one has been neutralized, your attorney can help you assess what legal action needs to be taken against the assisted living facility. Negligent nursing homes must be held fully accountable for any damages that they have caused. Ultimately, we put a considerable amount of faith in these facilities to care for our most vulnerable loved ones. They have a duty to provide adequate care. When they fail to live up to that duty, corrective action must be taken

We understand if you can’t spare the time to make it into our law office to discuss your case. That’s why our legal team can come to you. We’ll visit you at home, at work, or at the hospital. All you have to do is call us and ask for help. It’s that easy.

Contact The Gogel Law Firm immediately to discuss your matter.  We will never charge for an initial consultation.