Legal Assistance for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in St. Louis
The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or other long term care facility is already difficult enough. The thought of abuse or neglect of your loved one by the facility is something that few even consider. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 1 out of 3 nursing homes in the U.S. received citations for violations of federal standards that pertain to the potential to cause harm or actually having caused harm. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities seem to have a bad habit of allowing cost-reduction measures to affect patient safety.
The National Center on Elder Abuse also reported in a study of nursing home workers, that 50% of the workers admitted to mistreating residents within the past year prior to the study. This mistreatment consisted of physical abuse, mental abuse, and neglect. Abuse and neglect in these long term care facilities often go unreported and ignored.
If you believe that a loved one may be suffering at the hands of their nursing home, call our St. Louis nursing home abuse attorneys at (314) 208-2808 or CONTACT us online today. We are prepared to help you as quickly and efficiently as possible and put a stop to this behavior.
Common Forms of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse and neglect take many different forms. The National Center on Elder Abuse classifies nursing home mistreatment into six main categories:
This includes causing or threatening to cause physical injury or pain. This category also includes depriving an elder of a basic need, such as food or medication.
Signs and symptoms of physical abuse may include:
- Lacerations, puncture marks, welts, brushing, and black eyes
- Open wounds, bedsores, broken bones, internal bleeding, and cuts
- Broken eyeglasses or signs of restraint
- Medication overdoes or medication withholding in lab reports
- Sudden behavioral changes, such as a refusal to see visitors
This category focuses on the verbal or non-verbal acts which inflict mental pain, distress, or anguish on an older individual.
Signs and symptoms of elder emotional abuse may include:
- Extreme withdrawal
- Emotional agitation or distress
- Sudden change in behavior
- Non-responsive personal
Any sexual contact deemed non-consensual. This also includes coercing an elder to watch sexual acts.
Signs and symptoms of sexual abuse may include:
- Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding
- Bruising around the genitals or breasts
- Torn or bloody clothing or undergarments
- Unexplained venereal disease
Illegal stealing, concealment, or misuse of assets, property, or funds of an elder.
Signs and symptoms of exploitation may include:
- Unexpected changes in financial planning, such as wills or trusts
- Sudden withdrawal of large sums of money
- Strange use of elders ATM cards
- Forged signatures and unexplained money transfers
This occurs when a responsible party denies or fails to provide protection, shelter, food, or healthcare to an elder.
Signs and symptoms of neglect may include:
- Changes in physical appearance due to malnutrition, dehydration, or routine
- The appearance of bedsores or unsanitary living conditions
- Untreated medical problems
Anyone who deserts an elderly person after they have undertaken the responsibility to provide care or custody.
Signs and symptoms of abandonment may include:
- Elderly individual roaming the street or various public locations
- Any other of the many forms of desertion and solitary confinement
While efforts have provided a classification system to the different forms of abuse, many elderly citizens experience a combination of multiple different types of abuse. In addition, the signs and symptoms listed above are only a fraction of those reported. It is important to remember that the number one place you should start asking questions is with the abused or neglected person if they are able to talk. Trust your instinct in these situations. You can never be too careful.
Factors in Nursing Home Neglect Cases
The staff at nursing homes are doing a tough job. They have to help adults to take care of themselves, and sometimes those adults are not nice about it. In fact, many nursing home patients will have dementia and will actively fight off the efforts of their caregivers. On the other hand, too often nursing home neglect can occur when residents are simply ignored because they are unable or unwilling to actively solicit help from the nursing staff.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes fall short of their duty of care. Residents that cannot take care of themselves are often left malnourished, dehydrated, or left in unsanitary conditions. These residents can be especially prone to mistreatment if they do not have frequent visitors that can advocate for their care.
Unfortunately, the St. Louis Veterans Home appears to be one example. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the 300-bed home has been scrutinized for providing improper medication including the overuse of anti-psychotics. This allegation is a common form of abuse where nursing home staff will sedate residents to make life easier on the nursing home staff. The St. Louis Veterans Home is also accused of failing to hire quality personnel and not being transparent about complaints.
How to Report Elder Abuse & Neglect
Reporting elder abuse is extremely important. The CDC estimates that 79% of elder abuse cases go unreported. If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected, you should start by calling 911 if the situation is threatening. Often, the individual needs to be immediately removed from the situation for protection and medical care.
If you are being abused, or abuse of a loved one is suspected, the Adult Protective Services program in Missouri is a great resource. This organization allows Missouri nursing home abuse patients to report abuse and research information on how to get help. Family members of loved ones or anyone who suspects abuse is occurring is encouraged to call. The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services is another great resource when dealing with elder neglect or abuse.
Federal & State Nursing Home Laws
Nursing home residents in the United States are protected by both federal and state law. The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 was established to protect the civil rights of residents of nursing homes and similar care facilities. Amendments to the act, known as the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, provided additional safeguards for nursing home resident rights.
In addition to federal regulations, the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services provides licensing and regulation safety requirements for nursing homes operating within the State. These nursing home regulations cover the majority of the operations withing nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been abused, neglected, or exploited by a long-term care facility or nursing home, you are entitled to compensation for your harms and losses. These facilities often fail to allocate enough money for adequate safety protections and commonly fail to abide by safe hiring practices, bringing unqualified and dangerous workers to care for the residents.
The function of bringing a lawsuit for nursing home neglect also helps to make sure the behavior or conditions that gave rise to your injury are corrected. If these facilities are not held responsible for these instances of abuse and neglect, their behavior will not change.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys in St. Louis have helped recover over $35,000,000 for injury victims through verdicts, settlements, and judgments. Through our aggressive and compassionate legal representation, we fight tirelessly to ensure you are compensated for your loss.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132