Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Lexington, Kentucky
A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2022 asserted that one in six persons 60 or older will experience some form of abuse in “community settings.” Alarmingly, the report also said that two in three staff members of nursing homes and long-term care facilities had committed abuse in the prior year.
The figures are based on worldwide occurrences, which WHO estimates to represent a 15.7 percent rate of nursing home abuse. In the United States, the figure is about 10 percent—but even so, the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS) receives more than 200,000 complaints of elder abuse and neglect annually.
In other words, nursing home neglect and abuse are fairly widespread. The Commonwealth of Kentucky does have laws on the books setting standards for care and mandating sanctions—and even legal claims for damages—for institutions that fail to abide by established statewide standards.
If you believe your loved one has been subjected to neglect or abuse in a nursing home in or around Lexington, Kentucky, contact Wilson & McQueen, PLLC. We are nursing home/elder abuse attorneys who will listen to your story, investigate the situation, and help you and your loved one find a path forward. You have rights, as does your elderly loved one, under the laws of the Commonwealth.
Wilson & McQueen, PLLC proudly serves individuals and families in Lexington, London, Georgetown, Richmond, Nicholasville, and the rest of Kentucky.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Neglect is the failure to meet an older adult’s basic needs. These needs include food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care.” Neglect often results in physical and mental problems that are otherwise preventable.
During the pandemic, both nursing home neglect and abuse increased, according to many watchdog organizations, including the WHO. This was because visitors were not allowed, and loved ones who can assess the care being given to their elderly parents or grandparents could not monitor what was going on and report problematic instances.
Neglect also stems from inadequate staffing. Overworked staff members can make mistakes, including not checking up on those under their care frequently enough, or not responding to signs of attention needed for certain physical or mental developments. In 2022, the American Health Care Association, which is a long-term care advocacy organization, reported that 94 percent of the nation’s facilities were understaffed.
Examples of neglect include but are not limited to:
Failing to provide or allow access to food, shelter, clothing, heating, stimulation and activity, and personal and medical care
Providing care in a way that the person dislikes
Failing to administer medications as prescribed
Preventing access to hearing aids, dentures, glasses, and the like
Ignoring or isolating the person
Failing to ensure privacy and dignity
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Abuse goes beyond mere neglect and results in physical harm and/or mental anguish and pain. Abuse can be both unintentional and intentional. Nursing home staff have been known to willfully injure, confine, intimidate, and/or punish residents. Your frequent visits and monitoring of what’s happening can go a long way toward curtailing and preventing abuse or neglect—and even in holding those responsible accountable for their actions, or lack of action. Watchfulness is vital in these situations. So is reaching out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Kentucky Law: Reporting Neglect or Abuse or Making a Claim
The Kentucky Nursing Home Reform Act specifies eight areas of nursing home care that must be observed to “maintain the highest possible level of physical and mental well-being.” These areas are skin care, cleanliness, dressing, toileting, fluid intake, eating, vital signs, and special needs.
Any failure to abide by these requirements can result in sanctions under the laws of Kentucky, and could also give rise to a claim for damages on behalf of the resident or their family. You and your elderly nursing home resident have the right under this and other Commonwealth laws to share grievances and complaints with the facility, and/or also with agencies like the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Office of the Inspector General, Adult Protective Services, Protection and Advocacy, and others.
In cases of abuse, you can also report the incidents to local enforcement officials. Sadly, most incidents of nursing home abuse are never reported to law enforcement for investigation.
Kentucky Revised Statutes Sections 216.520 through 216.530 set forth the rights of residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Additionally, they provide for claims against the facility:
“Any resident whose rights as specified in this section are deprived or infringed upon shall have a cause of action against any facility responsible for the violation. The action may be brought by the resident or his guardian. The action may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce such rights and to recover actual and punitive damages for any deprivation or infringement on the rights of a resident.”
Recovery, or compensation, available through a successful lawsuit includes damages—personal and financial—along with attorney’s fees and costs of the action. Punitive damages may also be awarded.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Lexington, Kentucky
No one should ever have to go through these kinds of situations. If your elderly loved one has been subjected to abuse in a nursing home in Kentucky, contact us immediately at Wilson & McQueen, PLLC. We will advise you of your legal options and then file a lawsuit if warranted. Ultimately, we will treat you and your loved one with the utmost care and compassion, with the goal of resolving the situation in the best manner possible.