A horrifying incident in Kansas City shines a spotlight on the need to plan for appropriate care of your loved ones with special needs. A caregiver at Preferred Community Services in South Kansas City has been charged with second-degree assault after beating an autistic man with a belt. With an appropriate special needs plan, you can provide continued care for your loved ones with special needs to ensure they will not be at risk for negligence and abuse.
Abuse of special needs resident leads to criminal charges
Devanta Frencher, a 19-year-old caregiver at Preferred Community Services in South Kansas City, was charged with second-degree assault after allegations that he beat an autistic resident with a belt, leaving the man with black and purple bruising. Scotty Skillman was a full-time resident at the group home and has basically no communication skills. The 25-year-old was unable to tell his family that he had been abused. According to the court filings, Frencher claims he struck the resident because he was crying. The Missouri Department of Mental Health has launched an investigation into the incident. Frencher was fired from the group home after the incident of abuse came to light.
Abuse and neglect at the hands of caregivers
Unfortunately, home abuse and neglect in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are far too common. When families determine that a loved one needs to be placed in a nursing home, selecting one that is safe becomes the primary concern. The reality is, every nursing home is different and researching the long-term care facilities in your area is crucial.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crime against adult individuals with disabilities is nearly double the violent crime rate for those without disabilities. Individuals with cognitive disabilities typically have the highest risk of being victims of violent crime.
But once you find a place for your loved one with special needs that is safe and provides appropriate care, it is just as important to keep your loved one in that home. But what happens if you their primary caregiver is no longer able to make sure proper care is being provided? Even with a facility they trust, families often insist on monitoring the care closely, as well they should.
Special Needs Planning is a must
For families caring for loved ones with special needs, planning for the future is a must. It takes a significant amount of time, money and planning to provide the care that your loved one needs on a daily basis. Having a plan in place for the future should be a priority. You can never predict when you may no longer be able to manage their care yourself. Providing for the continued medical and personal needs of your loved one, while being careful not to risk losing their government benefits are important concerns. Special needs planning is intended just for this purpose.
What it means to have “special needs”
Individuals with “special needs” essentially require special assistance with many aspects of their lives because of the medical, emotional or learning difficulties they live with every day. Generally speaking, the services that individuals with special needs require are intended to increase the quality of life. There are so many choices available, all of which can be personalized to meet the specific needs of each person and their families.
What happens when the primary caregiver is no longer capable of continuing care?
The most important motivation for having a special needs plan in place as soon as you can, is the possibility that at some point you may no longer able to provide the care your loved one with special needs requires. Just as a parent needs to decide on a guardian for minor children, in case of their death, the family of an individual with special needs must plan for the chance that they are no longer able to provide the necessary care. It may be even more important because your loved one has special needs and, in many cases, cannot participate in providing that care themselves at any point in their lives.
You cannot always rely on family to simply take over
An assumption that far too many people make is that family members will automatically provide the care an individual with special needs will require if the caregiver is no longer available. Not everyone is knowledgeable and equipped to care for someone with a particular disability. Even so, a special needs plan is necessary if for nothing else but to provide continuity of care.
Join us for a FREE workshop! If you have questions regarding special needs planning, or any other estate planning matters, contact the experienced special needs attorneys at Gaughan & Connealy for a consultation either online or by calling us at (913) 262-2000.