Lee’s Summit Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
A Team That’s Dedicated to Your Recovery
If you suspect that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. team right away. We are committed to protecting elderly individuals’ safety and rights, including the right to take legal action following mistreatment by nursing home staff, private caregivers, and long-term care facilities.
Led by founding attorney, Tom Wagstaff, our Lee’s Summit nursing home attorneys have decades of experience navigating this complex area of law. We understand the many nuances that go into proving liability, damages, and future losses. What’s more, we have the resources to effectively pursue maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is a catch-all term used to refer to various types of elder abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and exploitation. Additionally, elder abuse can occur in long-term care and assisted living facilities, but it can also occur at the hands of a private in-home caregiver, friend, or family member. In fact, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that nearly 60% of elder abuse and neglect occur at the hands of family members.
The different types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical Abuse: This involves the use of physical force that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. It can include hitting, pushing, rough handling, or inappropriate use of restraints.
- Basic Needs Neglect: Failure to provide essential needs like food, water, hygiene, or a safe environment constitutes neglect. This neglect can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, or unsafe living conditions.
- Willful Neglect: This is a deliberate failure to fulfill caregiving obligations, leading to harm or endangerment of the resident. It can involve intentional denial of necessities or care.
- Psychological (Mental) Abuse: Emotional or psychological abuse involves behaviors that cause mental anguish, distress, or emotional pain. This can include threats, humiliation, verbal assaults, or isolation.
- Emotional and Social Neglect: Neglecting a resident's emotional well-being by isolating them from social activities or intentionally ignoring their emotional needs falls into this category.
- Confinement and Isolation: Unlawful confinement or restriction of a resident's freedom is abusive. It involves restricting movement or social interactions without justification.
- Sexual Abuse: Any non-consensual sexual contact, harassment, or exploitation of a resident constitutes sexual abuse. This is a severe violation of a resident's rights.
- Financial Exploitation: Misusing or exploiting a resident's financial resources, property, or assets for personal gain is financial exploitation. This can involve theft, coercion, or fraud.
- Medical Neglect: Failure to provide adequate medical care, treatments, or medication, which leads to harm or deterioration of health, falls under medical neglect.
Nursing home abuse can be difficult to detect, and identifying the liable party can be even more challenging. This is especially true when underlying factors—such as understaffing, inadequate training, unsupervised care, or negligent hiring—contribute to abuse and neglect.
It is important that you work with a knowledgeable attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. At the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr., our experienced lawyers utilize their in-depth understanding of the law, decades in practice, and extensive resources to establish liability, prove damages, and pursue maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.
Proving Nursing Home Abuse
Proving liability in a nursing home abuse claim in Missouri, as in any state, typically involves gathering evidence to demonstrate that the nursing home or its staff acted negligently or intentionally caused harm to a resident.
Here are steps that might help in proving liability:
- Document Incidents: Keep detailed records of any incidents, injuries, or suspicious occurrences involving the resident. This includes photographs, medical records, and written accounts.
- Witness Testimony: Statements from witnesses who observed the abuse or neglect can be valuable evidence. These could be other residents, staff members, or visitors.
- Medical Records: Gather medical records documenting any injuries, illnesses, or changes in the resident's health that might be related to the abuse or neglect. Documenting these changes can help establish a pattern of mistreatment.
- Expert Opinions: Expert testimony from medical professionals or specialists can support your claim by providing their opinion on the resident's condition and its causes.
- Staffing and Facility Records: Investigate staffing levels, employee training records, and the facility's history of compliance with regulations. Inadequate staffing or a history of violations might indicate negligence.
- Communication Records: Review communications between the resident, their family, and the nursing home staff. This might include emails, notes, or logs that could indicate negligence or intentional mistreatment.
- State Regulations: Understand and reference Missouri's regulations and laws regarding nursing homes. If the facility violated any regulations, it could support your case.
- Legal Counsel: Consult with an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse cases. They can guide you through the legal process, help gather evidence, and navigate the complexities of the law.
In Missouri, as in other states, proving liability in nursing home abuse cases often requires a comprehensive approach that combines various forms of evidence. Each case is unique, so it's essential to gather as much relevant evidence as possible to support your claim of abuse or neglect.
Choose a Compassionate Legal Team That Will Fight for You
At the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr., we know just how devastating it is to learn that your loved one has been mistreated by the very facility you entrusted with their care. Your loved one’s safety is our top concern, which is why we act quickly to help you put a stop to the abuse. Our attorneys can assist you in reporting suspected or known nursing home abuse to the appropriate authorities before beginning legal action aimed at holding the liable parties responsible.
With more than 25 years of legal experience, we have what it takes to aggressively protect your rights and the full, fair recovery you are owed. We genuinely care about the people we serve, which is why we take the time to get to know you, listen to your story, and learn how we can help your family seek justice.
Know the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Choosing to place an elderly loved one in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility is difficult enough without having to worry about them becoming a victim of abuse or neglect. However, nursing home abuse and neglect are very common in the United States. As such, it is important that you know the signs of nursing home abuse so that you can take immediate action as soon as you suspect that something is wrong.
The signs of nursing home abuse vary depending on the type of abuse that is occurring.
Some of the most common signs of physical abuse include:
- Bruises, cuts, broken bones, and other unexplained injuries
- Marks on the wrists or ankles, which may indicate physical restraint
- Witnessing aggression or uses of excessive force by staff against residents
- Complaints of physical abuse by residents
Some of the most common signs of general neglect include:
- Medication errors
- Failure to provide medical care
- Soiled or dirty clothing
- Unchanged bedding
- Unsanitary conditions
- Untreated illnesses and infections
Some of the most common signs of emotional or mental abuse include:
- Unexplained changes in mood or behavior
- Increased aggression, irritability, crying, depression, anxiety, etc.
- Witnessing staff yelling at or belittling residents
- Residents appearing afraid of certain staff members
- Complaints by residents of mistreatment
Some of the most common signs of sexual abuse include:
- Injuries to the groin, genitals, upper thighs, or female breasts
- Torn, ripped, or bloodied clothing, especially undergarments
- Unexplained sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Changes in mood or behavior, including depression
Some of the most common signs of financial abuse include:
- Unusual withdrawals from bank accounts
- Unpaid bills or overdue statements
- Changes to a will, trust, or power of attorney
- Bounced checks or overdraft fees
Note that these are not the only signs that abuse or neglect are occurring. If you suspect that any type of nursing home abuse or neglect are taking place, alert the proper authorities right away. Then, call the Lee’s Summit nursing home abuse attorneys at the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. for legal help.
Why Nursing Home Abuse Occurs
Nursing home abuse can result from a variety of contributing factors, and understanding these elements is crucial to preventing and addressing mistreatment in care facilities.
Some of the key contributing factors include:
- Understaffing: Inadequate staffing levels can lead to overworked and stressed caregivers. This situation can result in neglect or rushed care, increasing the likelihood of mistakes or intentional harm.
- Lack of Training: Insufficient training or inadequate education of staff regarding proper caregiving techniques, recognizing abuse, and managing resident behaviors can contribute to instances of abuse or neglect.
- High Turnover Rates: Facilities experiencing high turnover rates may struggle to maintain consistent care standards. New staff members might lack familiarity with residents' needs or have insufficient training.
- Poor Management and Supervision: Ineffective leadership, lack of supervision, or failure to address staff misconduct can create an environment where abusive behavior goes unchecked.
- Stress and Burnout: Caregivers experiencing high levels of stress, burnout, or compassion fatigue may become more prone to neglect or abuse as their ability to provide quality care diminishes.
- Isolation and Vulnerability of Residents: Residents who lack regular contact with family or social support networks are more vulnerable to abuse. Disabilities, cognitive impairments, or communication barriers can further increase vulnerability.
- Culture of Acceptance or Silence: Environments where abuse is tolerated, or there's a culture of silence, make it harder for victims or witnesses to report mistreatment.
- Financial Pressures: Facilities facing financial difficulties might cut corners on staff training, adequate resources, or necessary equipment, which can compromise the quality of care.
$500,000 Nursing Home Pressure Ulcer
$1.5 Million Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
$1 Million Nursing Home Fall