Many have a loved one admitted to a long term care facility in the hope of better care. However, our assumptions may prove incorrect, as the sickest and most vulnerable members of our society get less than an hour of direct care per day, a key reason for large number complaints Kentucky nursing home neglect complaints and lawsuits every year. They are forced to rather live in a health care assembly line, a far cry from the care home, a misnomer for its perpetual deficiencies.
It is not uncommon for any KY nursing home negligence lawyer to point finger to a defendant facility for its inability to provide adequate direct care while pressing an abuse or negligence charge. There are about 25,000 beds at about 280 long term care centers, sufficient enough to care for the elderly in the state. But many of these homes lack adequate direct care staff, even not meeting the required “one for every 60 occupied beds.” As a consequence, the state is infamous for disproportionately higher number of abuse complaints and punitive payments by care homes.
What is Direct Care
Direct care refers to hour of care a registered and skilled nurse is able to devote for a resident per day. Thirty-seven states have adopted strict direct care regulations, but Kentucky has yet to implement a measure to stop nursing home neglect and abuse. The state follows the federal staffing standards, which stipulates “one (1) registered nurse on duty for eight (8) consecutive hours per day for seven (7) days per week and one (1) registered nurse or licensed practical nurse on duty for twenty-four (24) hours per day for seven (7) days a week.”
Less direct care means residents are at the increased risk of neglect and abuse, an assertion that every nursing home negligence attorney in Kentucky supports.
Why Direct Care is Lacking?
According to a National Consumer report entitled “The Influence of Nurse Staffing Levels on Quality of Care in Nursing Homes,” the lower level of nurse aide staffing results in the higher level of deficiency in care. In Kentucky, nursing homes lack adequate “number of direct-care staff, including nurse aides, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses,” a fact even admitted by the state legislature.
Despite a five percent jump complaints and increasingly number of nursing home neglect lawsuits, care centers continue to ignore deployment of nurse aides, as the current rules do not prescribe any minimum number of skilled caregivers.
The Report Card
Instances of nursing home neglect in Kentucky have a bearing on the standard of elder care. A report card prepared by the Families for Better Care shows:
- A 10-place improvement in overall rating (from 40 in 2013 to 30 in 2014)
- Direct professional care remains at the lowest level despite slight improvement of 13 percent
- At least 20 percent Kentucky’s nursing homes are riddled with severe deficiencies
- Extensive incidents of Kentucky nursing home neglect
- The state ombudsmen “verified 87 percent” neglect grievances against state nursing homes
Effects of Less Direct Care
Lack of adequate direct care translates into neglect and abuse. No effective supervision may lead to safety and security issues. At least one in five residents become subject to abuse by fellow residents in the event of caretaker neglect. There are many instances where residents suffered from slip and fall accidents and other forms of injuries as there were too few nurse aides to help them when they needed.
An unsafe environment, worsening medical conditions, bedsores, malnutrition, and fractures are often traced to insufficient direct care. To quote a CNN report, “about 9 in 10 nursing homes suffer from understaffing, which put residents at the risk of passive behavior, non-attendance, less direct care, reside-to-resident abuse, and accidents.”
If you have reasons to believe that a resident is subject to neglect at a nursing home in Paducah, Kentucky or elsewhere, please contact us or call on 1-866-447-0150 to discuss the best course of action with our KY nursing home attorney.