Kansas City Nursing Home Lawyers for Patients with Dementia
Helping MO and KS families whose loved ones with dementia are abused or neglected
The good news is that the life expectancy of Americans is increasing every year. The bad news is that getting older isn’t for the faint of heart. Most seniors suffer with a range of problems such as mobility difficulties, heart disease, and other physical problems. Seniors sadly often suffer with cognitive problems as they age. Most seniors with dementia cannot live on their own or even with the help of family members. As dementia takes over a senior’s mind, most seniors need to live in nursing homes.
While many nursing homes provide quality care for seniors with dementia, dementia abuse is all too common. Nursing homes that accept dementia residents should have the medical staff and nursing home staff to manage the needs and care of dementia patients. Nursing homes should also have policies to ensure dementia patients aren’t physically, emotionally, sexually, or financially abused because of their lack of cognitive awareness. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our skilled nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers fight for seniors when nursing homes fail their dementia residents.
How can we help?
What is dementia?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological aging.” The signs and symptoms of dementia vary according to the WHO. Generally, dementia has three stages:
- Early stage dementia. Common symptoms include forgetfulness, not keeping track of time, and becoming lost in familiar places.
- Middle stage dementia. Common symptoms include not remembering people and forgetting recent events, becoming confused while at home, communication difficulties, behavioral changes including constant questioning and wandering, and needing help with personal care.
- Late stage dementia. At this stage, dementia patients are virtually completely dependent on others. Memory problems are severe. The signs and symptoms become more obvious and may include not being aware of time and place, not recognizing relatives and friends, difficulty walking, the need for assisted living, and behavior changes such as aggression.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the various types of dementia include:
- Alzheimer’s disease. This form of dementia is caused by specific changes in the brain. Family history is an important risk factor. People who have a relative with first-degree Alzheimer’s disease have a 10 to 30 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Vascular dementia. This type of dementia is linked to stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Each new stroke or mini stroke makes the disease worse.
- Reversible causes. “People who have dementia may have a reversible underlying cause such as side effect of medication, increased pressure in the brain, vitamin deficiency, and thyroid hormone imbalance. Medical providers should screen for reversible causes in patients who are concerning for dementia.”
Other forms of dementia include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia.
How common is dementia?
Per the WHO, about 55 million people worldwide live with dementia. There are about 10 million new cases yearly. About 60-70 percent of dementia patients have Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia. Dementia is the seventh leading cause of death due to diseases.
According to Alzheimer’s Association:
- More than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer's.
- 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another dementia.
- “About one-third of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer's disease develop dementia within 5 years of diagnosis.”
- “At age 70, seniors living with Alzheimer's are twice as likely to die before age 80 than those who do not have the disease.”
Our Kansas City personal injury lawyers understand that most dementia patients cannot speak for themselves. We work with families and guardians to understand how nursing home abuse or neglect affected your loved one.
What are the treatments for dementia in Kansas City?
Currently, there is no cure, and there are no treatments for dementia. There is much research into treatments because so many people and their families are affected. Most of the current focus on dementia patients is helping patients manage their current state of dementia by addressing related health issues such as nutrition and the risk of falling.
What types of abuse do Kansas City nursing residents with dementia suffer?
Many families who have a parent, aunt, uncle, or anyone who has dementia look to nursing homes to take care of their loved ones when they need full-time care. Families trust that their loved ones will be treated with respect and dignity. Sadly, some nursing homes and staff lose patience with residents with dementia and fail to attend to the Kansas City dementia patient’s needs. Worse, some nursing homes and staff take advantage of the weakened cognitive state of a dementia resident.
Common types of nursing home abuse and neglect of dementia residents include:
- Dietary failures including malnutrition and dehydration
- Not tending to bedsores
- Not giving the residents the medications they need for other health problems they have
- Forcing residents to sign a power of attorney, a will, or other legal documents to benefit someone in the nursing home
- Not ensuring that a resident gets timely medical help
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Using physical or chemical restraints for non-approved and/or non-medical reasons
Nursing homes are generally liable for the misconduct of their employees. The homes have a duty to work with the resident’s physicians to understand their health issues. Nursing homes should hire enough staff to tend properly and carefully to every resident including those with dementia.
Since the resident with dementia is not likely to complain or report the abuse, the abuse usually comes to light only when a family member or friend visits with their loved one or friend. It is critical to file complaints when abuse of dementia residents occurs because it is likely that other residents with dementia are also being abused or neglected.
The filing of the complaint helps stop the abuse. Victims of abuse and neglect deserve to be compensated for their pain and suffering, the physical and emotional harm they suffer, any medical expenses they may require, and any financial harm. In many cases of nursing home abuse or neglect of dementia patients, we include a claim for punitive damages because residents with dementia are defenseless.
Do you have a nursing home abuse lawyer near me?
Our lawyers meet dementia clients, their families, and caretakers at our main office in Kansas City, Missouri. We’re located at 510 Walnut, Suite 100, near the River Market area. There’s convenient parking nearby.
You can also make an appointment to see us at one of our other offices in Lee’s Summit, Parkville, and St. Joseph, Missouri, as well as in Olathe, Overland Park, and Kansas City, Kansas. We also speak with clients through our video chat service by appointment.
Initial consultations are free. We handle nursing home abuse and neglect cases on a contingency fee basis.
Did your loved one suffer abuse or neglect in a Kansas City nursing home?
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we understand how concerned you are about a parent, relative, or friend who has dementia. Nursing homes should take steps to ensure a resident with dementia is treated with respect and dignity. Their physical, emotional, and financial health should be priorities. If you notice any signs of abuse or neglect when visiting your loved one who has dementia, call our office at 816-471-5111, start a live chat today, or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation.