Nursing home abuse in Kentucky has assumed serious proportions with glaring reporting deficiencies going punished and thriving for-profit business model taking its toll on elders. In one case, a woman died at an Erlanger facility and her death was not reported until her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The victim arrived at the rehab home following a hip surgery necessitated by a slip and fall accident. She was forced to wear adult diapers despite no history of incontinence or mental disorder. Bed sores developed and infection forced doctors to amputate her left leg. The resident died of sepsis within five months of her arrival.
The Kentucky nursing home abuse attorney fighting on behalf of the victim’s family accused the caregivers of negligence, not having a care plan, not following physicians’ orders, inability to treat bed sores, and failure to monitor the health of the diabetic resident. This incident coupled with many other such reports led to an investigation against Villaspring Health Care and Rehabilitation, which paid $350,000 in 2013 to settle nursing home negligence litigations.
Investigation also revealed how “numerous patients suffered serious injuries” due to neglect by the star-rated Kentucky nursing home and most incidents went unreported between 2004 and 2008. Residents were not provided adequate fluids to drink and went days without bathing. Pressure ulcers caused fatal infections and some died of sepsis.
According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, over 45% nursing home negligence and abuse instances go unreported. A recent report of the Office of Inspector General discovered that “nation’s nursing homes are underreporting or reporting, but failing to report pursuant to federal standards; and/or inadequately investigating when reports are made.” Even one-thirds of elder homes do not have “appropriate policies and procedures for reporting allegations and investigation results.” It found that 20% of injuries reported in 2012 were from unexplained sources and remain unanswered even though cited.
How To Report Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky
Look For Physical or Behavioral Indicators
Check if residents in a Kentucky nursing home have physical or behavioral signs of abuse. Physical symptoms include pressure ulcers (bed sores), rapidly falling health, dehydration, bleeding, falls, accidents, use of restraints, unexplained bruises, improper treatment, or unhygienic conditions. Psychological signs, such as emotional withdrawal, fear, passive behavior of caregivers, unexplained behavioral changes, and others also indicate possibility of abuse at the facility.
Where To Report
Once you witness signs of abuse or neglect, you should immediately report it to the nursing home management. Kentucky law – KRS Chapter 209 – makes it an obligation for residents to report any suspicions on abuse, neglect and exploitation to state authorities.
Whether the resident neglected is your family member or an unknown, you must appraise Adult Protective Services about suspected abuse at the earliest.
Kentucky Adult Protective Services can be contacted at 1-800-752-6200. It is always desirable to make a record of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, as these signs are time sensitive. If the case is of serious nature, inform the local police or call 911. Complaints highlighting nursing home abuse and negligence can also be forwarded to the Office of the Inspector, which grants licenses to such care centers. The Office of the Inspector General can be contacted at 502-564-7963. You can also send any such report to the Office of the Attorney General at 877-ABUSE-TIP (877-228-7384)
What To Include in the Complaint
Call on the numbers and provide oral or written complaints with your name mentioned or anonymously. It is useful if you can list the name of a particular victim and witness (if any) along with location of the nursing home in Kentucky. Specific info covering date, time, and exact injury or abuse description also enable investigators to speed up the process.
Follow Up Action
We also recommend you consult a Kentucky nursing home abuse attorney about follow up action. You may also want to consider moving the elder to another qualified care center while exploring legal options based on investigation and your own experience. No doubt such an instance may be difficult to prove due to inaccessibility of records and time lapse; however, with the assistance of a nursing home abuse lawyer, you may be able to overcome this stressful process and succeed in achieving justice against those guilty of elder abuse.
If you have reasons to believe that a resident is subject to abuse at a nursing home in Kentucky, please contact us or call on 1-866-447-0150 to discuss the best course of action.