Nursing home neglect and abuse is a serious problem in all states, including Kentucky. ProPublica has developed a Nursing Home Inspect tool the public can use to view and search data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding nursing homes in all 50 states. The data shows that over the last three years Barkley Center in Paducah, Kentucky has been cited for 20 serious deficiencies, more than any other nursing home in the country. Not far behind, Pioneer Trace Group, LLC in Flemingsburg, Kentucky had 14 of the most serious deficiencies during the three-year period.
The average fine for nursing homes in Kentucky was more than $83,000, the sixth highest average in the country. Six nursing homes in Kentucky were well above the average and were each fined more than $375,000 over the last three years: Danville Centre for Health and Rehabilitation ($616,110); Signature Healthcare at North Hardin Rehab & Wellness in Radcliff ($523,868); Westport Care Center in Louisville ($508,495); Prestonsburg Health Care Center ($425,901); Mountain View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Pineville ($425,705); and Stanton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center ($377,738). Twin Rivers Nursing and Rehab Center in Owensboro, Kentucky has also been flagged for having a history of serious quality issues.
Many wonder how this kind of problem arises in facilities that advertise themselves as caring places. Unfortunately, nursing homes are often staffed by overworked caregivers and inadequate staff-to-resident ratios are common. When staff is overworked or exhausted, negligence becomes more likely. Additionally, residents can become isolated if they have disabilities or are perceived as “difficult.”
Sometimes there are also issues with a dishonest or dangerous staff member who commits intentional acts of abuse, but these are exceptional circumstances. Most nursing home abuse cases are cases of negligence or sometimes recklessness. For cases involving particularly egregious, reckless or intentionally abusive conduct, punitive damages may be available to punish the wrongful conduct and deter the staff member, the facility, and others from acting the same way in the future.
It is always a difficult decision to place a beloved family member in a nursing home and entrust his or her care to staff members. Most residents of nursing homes rely on staff to offer them water, food, medicines, daily hygiene help, and assistance to and from the bathroom. When a staff member withholds any of these necessary elements of care, serious medical problems can result.
Dating back to the 1980s when the media began to report on how widespread neglect and abuse are in the nursing home industry, both state and federal laws have prohibited nursing home neglect and abuse. Under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid are required to provide services and activities to allow a resident to attain or maintain the highest practicable degree of well-being. This includes having sufficient nursing staff, developing a comprehensive care plan, and providing necessary services to allow residents not able to take care of their daily hygiene to be able to maintain good nutrition and grooming.
All nursing homes in Kentucky are covered by state law, even those that do not participate in Medicare or Medicaid. In Kentucky, you can bring a lawsuit to enforce the rights granted under Kentucky and federal laws sometimes called the Kentucky Nursing Home Residents’ Rights. If you are able to prove your case against the nursing home, the award may include actual damages, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, depending upon the circumstances of your particular case.
The Kentucky Adult Protection Act defines abuse, neglect and exploitation. Abuse is specifically categorized as physical, psychological, and financial. Physical abuse includes uses of force that harm a senior, including sexual abuse, hitting, beating, restraining, or giving them drugs in order to incapacitate them. Psychological or emotional abuse includes threatening, shouting, humiliating or neglecting a senior. The risks of psychological abuse include depression and anxiety. Financial abuse includes theft or extortion.
How do you know that your loved one is being abused? Some signs of abuse include loss of weight, dehydration, bruises, bedsores, significant change in outlook or temperament, wounds, frequent infections, falls and fractures. If you suspect or learn that a loved one was the victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, you can file a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Retain experienced Kentucky trial attorneys to reach the most favorable outcome. Attorneys with substantial trial experience are better equipped to skillfully negotiate and advocate for the highest possible compensation for your loss. Contact us at 877-634-1519 or via our online form.
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