Missouri Nursing Home Residents Need to be on the Look-Out for Abuse

When Missouri families are forced to make the difficult decision of moving an elderly family member to a nursing home they are at least able to take comfort in the fact that the nursing home with provide safe and adequate care for the elderly family member - or so they think.

Unfortunately, countless elderly residents are injured while in the care of Missouri nursing homes - with the injuries often coming as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. Fortunately, much can be done to not only spot nursing home abuse but also hold the abusers liable for their actions.

Potential Signs of Abuse and Neglect

Some indicators of abuse are quite obvious, such as symmetrical bruises, broken bones or even signs of restraint such as marks on wrists. However, some types of abuse or neglect may not be as obvious until it is too late - as with the case of medication errors.

Unfortunately as many nursing homes become focused on their bottom line, it may become easy for them to begin "cutting corners" with training and staffing - which can quickly lead to nursing home residents getting the improper amounts or types of medication. For some residents who receive the wrong meds, they are lucky to escape with only minor injuries, but for many others, these medication errors can lead to severe injury or even death.

Not all evidence of abuse or neglect is as obvious as the indicators mentioned above. According to HelpGuide.org, some additional signs of nursing home neglect include:

  • Bed sores
  • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
  • Unsanitary living conditions, such as the presence of bugs, dirty rooms or soiled/torn bedding and clothes
  • Allowing the resident to wander unsupervised, or deserting the resident at a public place

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in Missouri

Missouri law does go a long way to protect residents of nursing homes, and in fact has a statute that requires certain employees to report known or suspected instances of abuse - such employees include long-term care facility administrators or employees, hospital or clinic personnel engaged in examination of the resident or any other person charged with the care of the nursing home resident.

Also, in an effort to encourage reporting, those who report the abuse are immune from civil or criminal liability - unless of course "such person acted negligently, recklessly, in bad faith or with malicious purpose."

Under Missouri law, nursing home abuse cases are not like other personal injury or med-mal cases - there are many specific statutes and regulations that govern the law surrounding nursing home abuse claims. This article by no means covers every legal aspect of nursing home abuse in Missouri as the laws are quite complex and difficult to navigate - and as such this article should not be taken as legal advice. The complexity of nursing home abuse laws in Missouri only furthers the need to contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney if you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect while in the care of a nursing home.