America is facing a crisis in nursing home care. Many nursing homes are staffed with loving and compassionate people but in far too many nursing homes, our loved ones are abused and neglected. Congressional watchdog studies indicate that nursing homes are horribly understaffed or staffed with untrained or uncaring personnel. According to a study, one in every four nursing homes is cited for causing serious personal injury or wrongful death.
If your loved one has experienced neglect or abuse, our Kansas and Missouri nursing home abuse and negligence lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and make sure those responsible are held accountable.
Common Forms of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
There are many types of nursing home abuse and negligence cases handled by our lawyers, including those involving:
- Abandonment – patient left unattended for hours
- Lack of care involving personal hygiene – patient left in urine and bowel movement for hours
- Bed sores (decubitus ulcers) – can lead to amputation or death
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Improper medication
- Improper restraint – strangulation
- Physical abuse – battery
- Sexual abuse – rape
A more detailed explanation of some of these forms of nursing home abuse and negligence follows.
Bed Sores (Decubitus Ulcers) and Wrongful Death
Residents of nursing homes depend on staff for many activities of daily living. Our loved ones need help in getting dressed, eating, drinking water, and going to the bathroom. They need assistance in socialization. Due to understaffing, our loved ones may be abandoned for hours at a time. As a consequence, they cannot get out of bed. Pressure sores or bed sores develop when a resident is not turned frequently. They cannot go to the bathroom. The dignity of this proud generation is destroyed when they have to soil their bed, their clothing, and their wheelchair because no one will help them go to the bathroom and no one will come help them change into dry clothing when needed. This presents a painful and dangerous health condition for our elderly. If left untreated, or if improperly treated, bed sores or pressure sores can lead to preventable infection, decubitus ulcers that go through the layers of the skin to the bone. These can lead to gangrene and even wrongful death. If your believe your loved one died needlessly, contact the Kansas City nursing home abuse and negligence lawyers at Cullan & Cullan. You may have a cause of action to file a wrongful death suit.
Falls, Broken Bones, and Head Injuries
Left without assistance, elderly people can sustain bad falls, fracturing hips and arms, and sustaining head injuries. It is not uncommon for employees at an understaffed nursing home to help an elderly person to a bathroom and then abandon them. Left alone, no one responding to calls for assistance, the resident has to either wait or attempt to get back to their bed or wheelchair on their own. If they fall, they may not even be found right away. Too often they sustain preventable injuries from these bad falls. It is common for the older person to break their hip when they fall or to suffer brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other catastrophic personal injury. Surgery may be required. Huge hospital bills can be incurred or worse, the elderly person may die. In tragic cases such as this, our Kansas and Missouri nursing home negligence and abuse lawyers can help you find out the truth about the circumstances of your loved one’s death, hold the negligent nursing home accountable, and prevent these unnecessary injuries from happening to other residents.
Malnutrition and Dehydration
The most tragic forms of nursing home abuse involve starvation, malnutrition, or failure to provide water. It is hard to believe that our elderly are being denied these basic needs, but they are. Many of our elderly suffer dramatic weight loss after being transferred from their home to a nursing facility. Signs to watch for are a change in color, dry lips and skin, loss of hair, and complaints of being hungry and thirsty. It is extremely important that the elderly be given proper nutrition and kept hydrated so that they do not fall susceptible to disease, or if they do get sick they can fight the disease or heal quickly. There are many instances where an elderly person would have recovered from a cold or a broken hip if their body had just had the nutrients to fight the illness. For more information, contact our firm to speak with the nursing home abuse and negligence lawyers.
Improper Medication and Restraints
When a loved one is placed in a nursing home it is imperative that the nursing staff and nursing home doctors review the patient’s history and the medications that the patient is on. All too frequently, vital medications are stopped or changed without good cause, which may also make your family member eligible to file a medical malpractice claim. In other instances, new medications or restraints are designed to simply sedate the resident so that they will take less work. There may be instances where a loved one needs to have soft restraints to protect them. It is important that the restraints are appropriate for the person and situation. If improperly fitted, strangulation may occur. Restraints may also be too small or too tight. A sign of improper restraints can be bruises on the body or wrists. Contact us if your loved one has these or other signs of abuse inflicted at a nursing home. Our lawyers can help you make sure the abusers are held responsible for the damage their actions have caused.
Physical and Sexual Abuse
Physical and sexual abuse of the elderly is an all too common crime. A nursing home has a duty to protect its residents from physical abuse and rape by employees or other residents. Unfortunately, the victims are often too frightened or are incapable of reporting the abuse. If physical abuse or sexual assaults are reported, they are often swept under the carpet and allowed to be repeated. There are State and Federal regulations that require the nursing home to obtain background checks on prospective employees. The background checks are frequently not even done or the results are ignored. Violent criminals should not be taking care of the elderly. Family members must be vigilant in watching for signs of abuse including bruises, cuts, burns, fractures, vaginal or anal bleeding, and sexually transmitted disease.
Contact Our Kansas City Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse Lawyers
There are many laws and regulations that specifically apply to nursing homes, including a resident’s right to sue for abuse and neglect. The nursing home negligence and abuse lawyers at our firm can help you navigate through these voluminous legal codes and determine which apply to your particular case.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, it is important that you consult a lawyer who is knowledgeable with respect to nursing home injury cases. We would be honored to discuss your case with you, please Contact Cullan & Cullan today for a consultation with our Kansas City nursing home negligence and abuse lawyers.