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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Nursing Home Abuse

If you fear that your elderly loved one may be suffering abuse in their nursing home or other care settings, you probably have many questions regarding what you can do about it. At Holman Kent LLC, we have extensive experience helping families throughout Iowa and Missouri with this issue. We answer their questions daily. Here are some common questions we receive:

What elements do you need to have for a nursing home abuse claim?

In order to prove negligence or abuse, you must prove four elements of your claim:

  • Duty of care – If your loved one was a resident at the care facility, they had a duty to care for your loved one.
  • Breach of duty – The next step is showing that the facility failed in that duty in some way, either through abuse or neglect.
  • Causation – If that breach of duty caused harm or injury to your loved one, you have met the causation requirement.
  • Damages – You must explain how the harm damaged your loved one and your family, physically, financially and mentally.

How common is nursing home abuse in Iowa care facilities?

Exact numbers are difficult to find because so much of the abuse goes unreported and state agencies tend to miss problems. One study predicts that up to 10% of elders have suffered abuse.

Who should I report suspected nursing home abuse to in Iowa?

Your first conversation should be with the management at the care facility. The problem could be with a single employee, rather than the facility as a whole. If that does not work, however, you can file a complaint through Adult Protective Services or the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. In addition, you may decide to bring legal action.

How long do I have to file a nursing home abuse claim in Iowa and Missouri?

In Iowa, you have two years from the discovery of an injury to file a claim under the statute of limitations. In Missouri, the time limit is five years, though you only have three years to bring a wrongful death claim.

How do I know whether my loved one is at risk of abuse or neglect in their nursing home?

There are many signs you can look for of abuse or neglect, such as:

  • Injuries of any kind
  • Poor hygiene or infections
  • Weight loss
  • Personality changes, such as depression or anxiety
  • Expressing fear of a caregiver
  • Missing cash or valuables or financial discrepancies

Follow up with your loved one and check in on them with unannounced visits. Some abuse victims are hesitant to discuss the matter, or unable to explain what happened. Our team can investigate your suspicions.

Do abuse and neglect happen with in-home care?

Sadly, providing in-home care for your loved one does not necessarily prevent abuse or neglect. In fact, they may be more at risk because there is less oversight. You should be just as vigilant regarding your loved one’s care at home.

Let Us Answer Your Questions

We are here to help you find the answers you need to protect your loved one. Schedule a free consultation with our office by calling our Des Moines office at 515-302-6764 or using our online contact form.