Nursing homes are a place for people to heal and recover, or to be taken care of when they reach the point where they can no longer care for at home. It’s a heart-wrenching decision to put an elderly loved one in a nursing home. But when the time comes, you expect that your loved one will be taken care of better than they would be otherwise.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes offer the pinnacle of healthcare for the elderly. Elder abuse and neglect are frequently unreported, with loved ones unsure of what to do next. In 2019, out of 92,000 calls to the Missouri hotline dedicated to reporting elder abuse, only 32% of those calls were answered.If your loved one seems to have changed significantly since entering a nursing home, there are some signs you should observe closely.
Signs Of Kansas City Elder Abuse
Nursing homes are busy places, and it’s easy to see how someone can be overlooked. Frequently visiting someone is a sign that the resident is being watched carefully. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made visitations scarce, leaving elders even more vulnerable to possible abuses.The most common types of elder abuse in nursing homes are:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional and/or verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse and exploitation
Residents may be reluctant to discuss abuse, and workers may dismiss concerns for fear of disciplinary actions or termination. Patients with dementia or other cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s may be unable to tell anyone what happened. Signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Weight loss or gain from inadequate or incorrect nutrition and/or dehydration
- Concussions and/or broken bones—when there is no staff available to help, many residents will attempt to take care of themselves with either bathing, walking, or other activities. Unaided, many experiences a fall or other type of accident, leading to injuries.
- Lack of personal hygiene, also due to inadequate staffing.
- Unsanitary conditions, i.e., bathrooms, clothing, bedding, and kitchen facilities. Neglected sanitation can result in serious health issues for residents.
- Mobility issues, including loss of mobility. While most homes strive to help residents stay somewhat active and preserve their ability to move, a lack of mobility can indicate mobility and a resident who is left alone in their bed without any attention.
- Unexplained bruising and/or lacerations, when a resident tries to do help themselves without help
- Sudden unexplained injuries, i.e., bruises, lacerations, broken bones, black eyes, as well as scars and wound evidence from previous injuries
- Unexplained behavioral changes, such as fear, anxiety, depression, or isolation, could indicate physical or other abuse of the resident
- Restraint-related injuries, especially ankles and wrists
- A caretaker who refuses to leave a resident alone with a family member (this could also mean financial abuse)
- Property damage, such as glasses, clothes, etc.
- Refusal or lack of interest in visiting with family members
- An inability to speak around anyone, including staff and family
- Changes in appetite for no apparent reason
- Sudden-onset anxiety, depression, or other changes in the mood without an obvious cause
- Reports of a resident who has been struck by a staff member or other employee
But because the abuse may not be obvious, it’s important to take any changes or complaints seriously until you are able to get the answer you’re seeking.The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services has additional information on Abuse, Neglect, And Exploitation Of The Elderly And Disabled on its website.
Why Should You Hire An Attorney?
You may not believe you need an attorney to handle a nursing home abuse complaint. But when questions go unanswered, and your loved one is neglected or abused, it may be time to make the home pay attention.Generally, large companies operate most US nursing homes run. It’s not worth their time to bother with individual complaints and small demands. The companies may have complex processes to address neglect and abuse complaints, and a remedy could be many years away.Because a lawsuit will be against a large corporation, you won’t be able to handle this on your own—you’ll need help. A nursing home attorney can help you through the red-tape bureaucracy that keeps you at a distance and stops you from helping a loved one in need who can’t protect themselves.Your loved ones will need all the help you can give them. Hiring an attorney who has experience with nursing home abuse and neglect will give them a fighting chance.
A Voice For Kansas City’s Most Vulnerable
When elderly nursing home residents can’t or won’t speak up for themselves, you need to speak for them. Reporting Kansas City elder abuse, or other problems with a nursing home and taking aggressive action is the best way to put a stop to it, especially if the resident remains silent.The Popham Law Firm protects our most vulnerable when they’re unable. If your loved one has been abused, neglected, or harmed in a nursing home, call us at (816) 221-2288 or 1-844-243-2288, or use our online contact form to make an appointment.