Nursing homes have a duty to provide quality care to their elderly residents. When they violate that duty, you can decide to hold the nursing home and its staff accountable for the damages caused through a civil case. It is possible to pursue compensation for added medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other related expenses.
With elder abuse remaining a major problem in the United States, it is more important than ever to know your rights and legal options for recourse when it comes to nursing home abuse. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have seen the long-term impacts of this type of case.
Read on to learn more about what to do if you suspect nursing home abuse and your legal options for recovering compensation.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse in Kansas City, Missouri
Nursing home neglect and abuse are much more common than most people realize. If you suspect that an elderly person might be experiencing nursing home abuse in Kansas City, it is important to trust your instinct and take action.
Take a moment to learn more about the common signs of nursing home abuse and negligence so that you know what to look for. Document what it is you see and the dates, times, and staff members involved. You can use this information to report your concerns to the proper authorities.
After you document and report what you’ve seen, speak with a Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyer to see what next steps you could take. You may find that you have a strong nursing home abuse case available to recover compensation for your loved one.
Common Signs of Abuse and Negligence in Nursing Facilities in Kansas City
If your loved one is unable to tell you what happened, it can be difficult to know what really caused physical injuries in elderly patients. However, as a loved one, you can look to see if you can identify any of the common signs of abuse and negligence among nursing home residents. These include:
- Broken bones
- Pressure ulcers
- Unexplained weight loss
- Change in demeanor
- Poor personal hygiene
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in Kansas City, MO
If you suspect abuse, it is extremely important that you take immediate action, document your concerns, and file a report with the appropriate state agency.
First, you can call the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services’s Adult Abuse & Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-2010 . There is also an online reporting tool that can be used 24/7 to report non-emergencies.
You can also report your concerns about nursing home administrators to the Board of Nursing Home Administrators (BNHA) . You can send a written complaint by mail to PO Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consider reaching out to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for Jackson County . You can call the regional long-term care ombudsman by calling 1-877-662-8362. You can voice any concerns that you have about your loved one’s nursing home or assisted care facility and receive more information about resources available to you from a neutral party.
Remember that you can also call 9-1-1 to reach the Kansas City Police Department at any time. If your family member is in immediate danger, keeping them safe from further serious injury should be the priority. Law enforcement is able to intervene immediately to stop further abuse.
When to Hire a Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyers are available to help you take immediate legal action. During your free case evaluation, your attorney will discuss what happened to your loved one and potential next steps you can take legally to recover compensation.
Generally, it is a good idea to start the legal process as soon as possible. Not only do you have to worry about filing your claim before the statute of limitations runs out, but it is more difficult to gather the evidence that you need the more time that passes.
If you have a feeling that you might be looking at hiring a nursing home neglect attorney, it’s a smart idea to schedule a consultation to discuss your case soon.
Who Is Legally Liable for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Kansas City, MO?
Which party can be held accountable for your loved one’s care at nursing home facilities depends on the case. Most of the time, nursing home staff members are held responsible for unreasonable or negligent conduct and failing to provide adequate care and proper nutrition. For instance, if a staff member yelled or hit your loved one, they would be liable for their actions.
If an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing facility operates with too low of staffing levels or fails to screen employees properly, it can be held liable as a business. If the staff or consulting health care providers the nursing home uses didn’t provide the best medical care to your loved one, they also could be held responsible.
While it is less common, other residents can also be held responsible for the severe injuries they cause to others. If another resident puts your loved one in danger, you could likely sue the resident who injured your loved one and the facility for failing to keep them safe.
How Long Do I Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Kansas City?
Most nursing home abuse cases are personal injury cases. You and your Missouri personal injury lawyer specialized in nursing home abuse have five years from the date of the injury to file a claim . For a wrongful death lawsuit, you have three years from the date of death .
While three or five years initially seems like a lot of time, it really isn’t much when it comes to nursing home abuse cases. Not only will you need to get your loved one help or grieve, but you will also need to work with your attorney to build a strong case and move it through the court system during that time.
For this reason, it is always better to start working with your lawyer sooner than later.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in Kansas City, Missouri?
There are different types of damages that a Missouri nursing home abuse attorney can help you recover.
Economic damages refer to the monetary losses related to what happened. These are the extra medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and the costs your loved one incurred as a result of moving to a safer place. This also should factor in future medical costs and expenses.
There are also non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. While emotional trauma cannot necessarily be assigned a monetary value, non-economic damages go beyond what is actually spent and attempt to place a value on the harm caused.
For cases involving serious physical harm, the judge may also award punitive damages based on egregious behavior. Punitive damages aim to punish as a way to reduce the likelihood that it will happen again.
How to Prove Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Kansas City
To build a strong nursing home abuse or neglect case, your law firm will work hard to gather all of the evidence it needs to prove that the facility and/or its staff were responsible for the injuries caused. This will include collecting nursing home records, medical records, and witness testimony from family members and other residents.
Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Statistics and Facts
Since Kansas City spans parts of both Missouri and Kansas, the data available regarding the incidence of nursing home abuse and neglect can be somewhat skewed. In general, Kansas City, Missouri, has lower ratings for nursing home care than Kansas City, Kansas.
Nursing homes in Kansas City, Missouri, have been cited through state inspections on a variety of issues, including not treating residents with dignity, failure to notify doctors when a patient’s condition changes, and dietary deficiencies .
Despite being listed as part of the Special Focus Facility program by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for having a pattern of serious problems that endanger residents, these facilities are still allowed to accept new patients.
A visiting nurse at a Kansas City, Missouri, area nursing home reported the facility to the state of Missouri after witnessing poor conditions, such as missed doses of medications, sleeping staff members, and poor sanitation .
A patient at the same nursing home indicated that he hadn’t showered in two weeks and his calls for help went unanswered. The nursing home is one of the eight Kansas City area nursing homes on a federal list the Senate released of troubled nursing homes .
Nursing home abuse does not only impact elderly people. At a Kansas City area nursing home, a 34-year-old Iraq veteran with a traumatic brain injury declined after having his needs ignored by staff members . He was left in urine-soaked sheets and left without wearing clothes except for a diaper.
Types of Abuse Over Nursing Home Residents in Kansas City
There are several types of abuse that are common in nursing homes. These include:
- Emotional abuse or psychological abuse – abuse that damages or manipulates a person’s mental state, often used to control the victim.
- Sexual abuse – unwanted sexual contact of any kind.
- Physical abuse – abuse that causes physical pain or damage, such as beating, cutting, or burning.
- Financial abuse – financial exploitation, such as taking money from bank accounts without authorization.
Which Standards Do Nursing Homes Have to Meet in Kansas City?
In accordance with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ Division of Regulation and Licensure, residents and their families must receive a variety of forms and disclosures at the time of admission . This includes information about services available, cost, resident responsibilities, and other resources available in the state.
A nursing home must provide 24-hour care and protective oversight and encourage residents to remain active and independent, where applicable. Nursing homes must review residents’ medical conditions and needs every month after admission.
Which Agencies Regulate Kansas City Nursing Homes?
Depending on the exact location of the nursing home in Kansas City, the agencies that regulate it might be different. The organizations that regulate local nursing homes include:
- Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services 
- Kansas Department of Children and Families 
- Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services 
For Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities, Medicare also has some regulatory standards facilities must comply with if they want to accept patients using these federal programs .
How Often Are Kansas City Nursing Homes Inspected?
DHSS inspects each long-term care facility twice every fiscal year, between July 1st and June 30th . In addition, DHSS conducts a federal survey on Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities every nine to 15 months. If there are complaints about resident abuse or neglect, or if a facility failed a past inspection, additional inspections could be scheduled.
Before conducting the inspection, the inspector looks at past inspections and reviews any complaints. During the unannounced inspection, DHSS evaluates the quality of life for residents, fire safety, and dietary services. The inspector will speak with residents, family members, and staff, as well as review records.
Contact a Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today!
If your family member has experienced nursing home abuse, it is possible to seek compensation for your loved one’s injuries. You can work with a nursing home abuse attorney from our law firm to hold the facility accountable.
Take action as soon as possible by contacting Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for a free consultation by filling out our contact form or calling our law firm toll-free at (888) 424-5757. We are available 24/7 to receive your call. Our Missouri nursing home abuse lawyers can help you or your loved one fight for the compensation that they deserve.
Resources:  DHSS,  BNHA,  Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman,  RSMo Section 516.120,  RSMo Section 537.080,  KSHB,  Fox4KC,  The Kansas City Star,  Fox4KC,  DHSS,  Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services,  Kansas DCF,  Missouri Department of Health and Human Services,  Medicare,  DHSS