Nursing Home Abuse Prevention & Action
Sept. 28, 2023
Entrusting the care and health of your elderly loved ones requires a great amount of trust. In some cases, that trust is broken by nursing home facilities or their employees negligently mistreating or intentionally abusing some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. As larger generations of Americans grow older and enter nursing homes or assisted living facilities, it is important to recognize and address the real problem of nursing home abuse.
At Jim Crabtree Law, we take the subject of nursing home abuse seriously and look to take action to not only hold guilty facilities accountable but also take steps to prevent negligence and abuse from occurring in the first place. If you have a loved one who suffered neglect or abuse while in the care of a nursing home in Overland Park, Kansas, or throughout the greater Kansas City Metro area (including Wyandotte County and Johnson County in Kansas or Independence and North Kansas City in Missouri), reach out to us to schedule a consultation to learn more about your legal options.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a broad term that can cover a wide range of mistreatment—either intentional or unintentional—perpetrated by a nursing home facility or specific employees of the facility against elderly residents. This can mean neglect (failure to properly look after patients, bathe them, administer care, etc.); outright abuse (of a physical, psychological, or sexual nature); or even financial exploitation or fraud perpetrated by the facility itself. Tragically, with little ability to resist or fight back, many nursing home residents are left to suffer in perpetual silence.
This type of negligence or abuse is far more common than many people realize. According to World Health Organization (WHO) data cited by the nursing home abuse watchdog website NursingHomeAbuse.org, an estimated 15.7% of nursing home residents worldwide experience some form of neglect or abuse. While this figure is alarmingly high, the truth is that even one nursing home resident being subjected to abuse is too many.
Signs of Abuse
Depending on the type of abuse or neglect suffered, there can be many different warning signs, including (but not limited to):
physical injuries (bruises, fractures, or sprains) that cannot be realistically explained;
a new diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease without a realistic explanation;
emotional withdrawal or unexplained changes in demeanor (due to psychological abuse); and/or,
malnourishment, decline in hygiene, bedsores, or lack of basic living necessities.
If you notice one or more of these signs in your loved one, you may have reason to believe they are a victim of abuse or neglect.
Proving Negligence & Abuse
Though proving negligence can sometimes be challenging, there are basic elements that can be used to build a case. You need to be able to prove the following:
The facility and its employees owed your loved one a legal duty of care.
The facility or its employee(s) breached this duty of care.
The breach resulted in injuries or harm to your loved one.
If this criteria is met, you have grounds to proceed with the process of pursuing a claim against the facility and/or the employee(s) responsible.
Reporting Abuse & Neglect
In cases of emergency, calling 911 is not out of the question. In cases less urgent, reporting possible abuse or neglect to local law enforcement is an option. Beyond that, there are organizations that specialize in handling nursing home abuse claims, such as Adult Protective Services. In addition to reporting your claim to the appropriate agencies, you should contact a nursing home abuse law firm to look into your legal options.
Who Is Liable?
Depending on the specifics of the situation and the harm suffered by your loved one, one or more of the following parties may potentially be held liable for the abuse or neglect:
the nursing home facility (as well as any parent company that may own it)
the employee(s) directly responsible for the abuse or neglect
third parties (manufacturers of medical devices that caused an injury)
Your lawyer can help you assess the situation and determine which party (or parties) may be held responsible.
Filing a Claim
If you believe your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you have the right to hold the responsible party accountable and take legal action to seek justice and compensation for the harm that has been done. With the help of a skilled personal injury attorney, you can pursue a resolution that not only provides you and your loved one with compensation but also takes a step toward preventing the facility and/or employee(s) from continuing to harm other residents in the future.
Put Your Trust in Skilled Legal Representation
If your elderly loved one has been harmed by a nursing home facility or members of its staff, it can be easy to feel lost as to what you can do to make things right or seek a solution to the problem. By working with a law firm with extensive experience in nursing home abuse and negligence cases, you can have peace of mind that the best interests and well-being of your loved one will be the priority throughout the process.
You don’t have to handle this on your own or watch your loved one suffer any more mistreatment. There is skilled and dedicated assistance available. At Jim Crabtree Law, our team stands ready to hear your story, assess the situation, and strongly advocate for you and your loved ones as you seek justice on their behalf. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to get started. From our office in Overland Park, Kansas, we proudly serve individuals and families throughout the greater Kansas City Metro area on both the Kansas and Missouri sides, including Wyandotte County and Johnson County, as well as Independence and North Kansas City in Missouri.