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Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

December 19, 2023

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When your loved one is injured due to the care they received in a nursing home, you have the right to hold the nursing home accountable for the damages it caused. 

Nursing homes in St. Louis must meet certain care standards and provide quality care. When they fail to do so, it is possible to recover compensation for added medical expenses, emotional distress, and other damages.

The legal team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has helped many family members seek justice for elder abuse. Read on to find out more about nursing home neglect and abuse cases, signs to look out for, how to report suspected abuse, and how to file a claim to recover compensation. 

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse in St. Louis, Missouri

If you are concerned that a family member might be suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse, it is important to take action. 

First, familiarize yourself with the signs of abuse so that you know what to look for. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, document your concerns and report the potential abuse to the Department of Human Services and, potentially, law enforcement. 

Then, set up a free consultation with a St. Louis nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your legal options and possible next steps. Nursing home abuse lawyers can discuss your case, the statute of limitations, and what you could possibly recover to pay for medical costs, trauma, and other expenses.

Common Signs of Abuse and Negligence in Nursing Facilities in St. Louis

As a family member, here are some signs of suspected nursing home abuse to look out for:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unattended medical needs
  • Non-consensual sexual contact 
  • Missing money 
common types of nursing home abuse in St. Louis

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in St. Louis, MO

The first step in reporting nursing home abuse is talking to the nursing home’s staff about specific concerns that you notice. For example, if your loved one has an unexplained bruise on their leg, ask the staff and your loved one, if possible, what happened. Document their responses and take photos of everything you can.

Next, you can call Missouri’s Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline [1] at (800) 392-0210. The hotline is staffed daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., including weekends and holidays. 

You can also file a complaint against a licensed nursing home administrator with the Board of Nursing Home Administrators (BNHA) [2]. You can send a written complaint by email to bnha@health.mo.gov or by mail to PO Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

There is also a state and local ombudsman program that you can call to report the abuse by calling (800) 309-3282 or emailing LTCOmbudsman@health.mo.gov [3]. Ombuds have access to additional resources and help to resolve issues.

If your loved one needs urgent medical care as a result of the nursing home abuse or is in immediate danger, call the St. Louis Police Department or call 9-1-1 to report the abuse. The most important thing is the health and safety of your loved one. 

When to Hire a St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

When it comes to personal injury law, the sooner you can hire a nursing home abuse or neglect lawyer, the better. Evidence that can prove nursing home negligence or physical abuse can be quickly lost or destroyed. For this reason, it is a good idea to schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential case as soon as you suspect or confirm abuse.

Who Is Legally Liable for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in St. Louis, MO?

The responsible parties in every nursing home abuse case are different based on the nature of what happened to cause your loved one’s injuries. For example, in a neglect lawsuit, the nursing home’s administrators could be held liable for not hiring enough staff to meet proper staff-to-resident ratios. 

Nursing home staff members can be held responsible for the physical harm they cause. In some cases, a medical malpractice case can be brought against a nursing home’s staff doctor for improper medical treatment. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in St. Louis?

The length of time that you have to file a claim is determined by the statute of limitations and varies based on the type of nursing home abuse case you are filing. For personal injury claims, you have five years to file from the date of injury [4]. Neglect claims are considered a type of personal injury case.

For a wrongful death claim, the statute of limitations in St. Louis, Missouri, is three years from the date of death [5]. For claims involving medical malpractice, the statute of limitations in St. Louis is two years [6]. 

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in St. Louis?

There are several types of damages that Missouri personal injury attorneys can help you recover in nursing home abuse cases in St. Louis. Typically, these damages are broken down into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. 

Economic damages include tangible expenses such as the medical care a nursing home resident may need to deal with the aftermath of the abuse or neglect, such as treating pressure ulcers. If a nursing home staff member damaged the personal property of an elderly person, the cost of replacing that item could be recovered.

Non-economic damages are not tangible in terms of cost. This includes pain and suffering from emotional trauma. 

In some cases, punitive damages could be awarded based on malicious behavior or if the responsible party was especially careless.

How to Prove Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in St. Louis

Your Missouri nursing home abuse attorney will help to find the evidence you need to support the fact that the alleged abuse took place. Just like with other types of personal injury cases, your law firm will gather medical records, eyewitness testimony from other nursing home residents and staff, and other types of proof as needed to support your case.

St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse Statistics and Facts

The nursing home industry has significant challenges when it comes to abuse and neglect. The United States Department of Justice launched a National Nursing Home Initiative in 2020 to investigate the substandard care provided by some of the worst nursing homes in the US [7].

One of the factors that the DOJ used to determine which nursing homes to investigate was adequate staffing coverage. 

The state of Missouri ranked second to last in the amount of care hours nursing home residents receive from caregivers [8]. On average, Missouri nursing home residents received an average of three hours a day of care, which is below the national average. 

When it comes to nursing home negligence in St. Louis, patients receive an average of 3.28 hours of care as opposed to the 4.1 hours needed [9].

Missouri also has not kept up with its required nursing home inspections. 24 out of the 127 nursing homes in Missouri that haven’t been inspected in over two years are located in St. Louis [10]. 

Types of Abuse Over Nursing Home Residents in St. Louis

There are many types of elder abuse that can occur in a nursing home, including:

  • Physical abuse – Physical abuse occurs when someone inflicts physical pain or injury to another person, either intentionally or through negligence. 
  • Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse occurs when staff members yell, intimidate, lie, make fun, or manipulate residents.
  • Financial exploitation – Seniors are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation, where someone steals money from them or engages in other types of fraud.
  • Sexual abuse – Many nursing home residents are not able to consent to sexual activities with staff members or, in many cases, other residents. All forms of unwanted sexual contact are sexual abuse. 
  • Nursing home neglect – This is a type of elder abuse where a nursing home fails to meet the needs of a nursing home resident. Nursing home neglect can come in many forms, from abandonment to failing to provide the right level of care and attention when needed.

Which Standards Do Nursing Homes Have to Meet in St. Louis?

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, nursing homes in St. Louis must adhere to a large number of standards [11]. This includes:

  • Providing residents and families access to inspection reports and notices of noncompliance, as well as a copy of current department rules;
  • Informing residents and their families yearly about their individual rights and responsibilities as a resident;
  • Giving residents and families information about charges and services before moving them in;
  • Educating patients and families about Missouri’s Guide to Home and Community Based Services as an alternative to nursing home care [12];
  • Maintaining adequate staff-to-resident ratios, including 1 staff member for every 15 residents during the day shift [13].

The number of staff members required for nursing homes will likely increase due to proposed changes in federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [14]. 80% of nursing homes do not have enough staff to meet these new standards. If passed, the number of RNs and CNAs required to be on staff will increase [15].

Which Agencies Regulate St. Louis Nursing Homes?

There are a variety of public and private agencies that regulate nursing homes in St. Louis, including:

  • Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services [16]
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [17]
  • Elder Abuse and Neglect Hotline [18]
  • Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) [19]
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services [20]

Additionally, Medicare makes it easy for seniors and their families to find a Medicare-certified nursing home in their area [21]. Its tool offers an easy way to compare ratings for different facilities in several categories, such as health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. 

How Often Are Nursing Homes in the St. Louis Area Inspected?

Nursing homes in the state of Missouri are inspected twice each fiscal year by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) [22]. For Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes, DHSS conducts federal certification surveys on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid every nine to 15 months. 

During the inspection, DHSS staff arrive unannounced and observe the conditions of the nursing home facility, as well as interview residents, family members, and staff members. DHSS employees also review records and documentation.

In the event that DHSS finds areas of non-compliance with state or federal regulations, it could conduct up to two additional inspections. If concerns haven’t been addressed, the nursing facility could impose penalties and deny payment for new admissions. This means that the insurance company won’t approve seniors to move in.

Contact a St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today!

Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer from 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 answer your calls. We have successfully helped recover millions of dollars for our clients.

During your free case evaluation, a St. Louis nursing home abuse attorney will discuss the specifics of what happened to your loved one and the legal options that you have for recourse.

There is no cost for the consultation, and we work on a contingency fee basis.

Resources: [1] DHSS, [2] DHSS, [3] Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, [4] R.S.Mo. § 516.120, [5] R.S.Mo. § 537.100, [6] R.S.Mo. § 516.105, [7] DOJ, [8] St. Louis Public Radio, [9] 5 On Your Side, [10] KMOV4, [11] Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, [12] Missouri’s Guide to Home and Community Based Services, [13] Missouri Senate, [14] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, [15] KFF, [16] DHSS, [17] CMS, [18] Elder Abuse and Neglect Hotline, [19] AAA, [20] HHS, [21] Medicare, [22] DHSS 

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

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Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

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