Lexington Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you have an elderly loved one in a Kentucky nursing home, you do everything to protect them and make sure they’re safe and healthy. You can’t always be there for them, however. Due to circumstances you have no control over, you may believe that your family member is getting abused or neglected in their long-term care facility. If you’re currently experiencing these fears, a Lexington nursing home abuse lawyer can help.
Nursing home staff members and employees have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of the facility’s residents. Failing to fulfill this duty is grounds for legal action in the United States. By filing an elder abuse lawsuit against a facility that is mistreating, neglecting, or harming its residents, you’ll receive assistance relocating your loved one to a safer home as well as potentially receive financial compensation that can go towards the costs of recovery.
In addition, filing an abuse claim against the facility will ensure that the owners fire those who were guilty of committing abusive, wrongful acts or otherwise acted negligently. The nursing home may need to hire new employees in cases of neglect. For facilities that do, receiving a lawsuit will send that message loud and clear.
To learn more, read on. You may also contact the personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Todd W. Burris today. We’re prepared to assist with your claim however we can and can meet with you at no obligation or initial cost to you.
Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky: More Common Than Many Believe
When we’re unable to take care of an elderly family member ourselves and admit them to a long-term care facility, we like to think that their needs will be properly met and that they’ll be safe with facility professionals, nurses, and other caregivers. This is true in many cases, but elder abuse and neglect both occur more often than most of us would like to believe. Sometimes, unfortunately, it can lead to death.
This is especially true in an era when our nursing homes are fuller than they have ever been. It’s a common occurrence for most of Kentucky’s best care facilities to have waiting lists for admittance. Many others are severely understaffed. Both circumstances can lead to a lapse in care as well as a lapse in employee training. When caretakers aren’t properly trained in how to take care of elderly patients or not monitored correctly, abuse and neglect are more likely to happen.
Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state regarding elder abuse. What this means is that if anyone witnesses or suspects elder abuse, they are legally required to make a report to Adult Protective Services. Here are some statistics about elder abuse in Kentucky you may find surprising:
- According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 11,248 calls were made to Kentucky’s Adult Protective Service department in 2016 that met the criteria for abuse and neglect reports for individuals above 60 years old. These reports include at-home care as well as long-term care facilities.
- Among the reports made for older adults in 2016, 1,514 investigations were made for adult abuse. 808 were made for spouse/partner abuse. Almost 3,000 were made for caretaker neglect. Caretaker neglect was the number one reason for adult protective investigations.
- In 2016, there were 480 complaints made against long-term care facilities in Kentucky for cases of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of resident property.
- In 2015, the Long-Term Care Ombudsmen in Kentucky received 7,424 reports of complaints regarding state nursing facilities. Not all these complaints focused on abuse or neglect, but many were connected to instances of either.
What Does Elder Abuse Entail?
Elder abuse can come in many forms. It can include any combination of the following:
- Physical abuse – Physical abuse is the most common type of elder abuse we see. It can take the form of staff members who wrongfully beat, kick, or shake patients. Unnecessarily restraining or forcefully handling a resident can also count as physical abuse.
- Verbal abuse – When a resident is insulted, belittled, or otherwise talked down, this can count as verbal abuse and can have a detrimental effect on a resident’s overall health and wellbeing.
- Mental abuse – When a resident is made to feel inferior, isolated without reason, or ignored, their mental and emotional health may suffer.
- Financial Abuse – Financial abuse is more common in individual caregiver situations but can still occur at nursing homes when a resident is taken advantage of financially. Staff members may steal funds or property from residents or gain access to their bank accounts.
- Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse may happen when a resident is taken advantage of or coerced to take part in sexual activities/photography.
- Neglect – Neglect is a form of elder abuse when facility staff members fail to properly take care of a resident and ensure their basic needs are met. When residents are neglected, we say that negligence occurred.
Signs of Elder Abuse
If you feel your loved one may be getting abused, neglected, or otherwise mistreated in a long-term care facility in Kentucky, watch for the following signs and symptoms of elder abuse:
- Bedsores or other infections that do not heal
- Unexplained bruises, welts, restraint marks, broken bones, or lacerations (these can be signs of falls)
- Signs of overmedication which can include listlessness and increased sleepiness
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Nervousness/fear when around certain staff members
- Poor hygiene
- Unsanitary conditions
If you become concerned for the health and wellbeing of your loved one at any time, you should speak to their care manager in a respectful manner and express your reasons for concern. If staff members are unwilling to speak to you about what happened, this may be an additional sign that something suspicious is occurring.
Get Help from a Lexington Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
In the state of Kentucky, all nursing home residents have legal rights that must be respected when they are admitted to a care facility. These rights include the following:
- The right to be fully informed
- The right to dignity and respect
- The right to express complaints and concerns
- The right to participate in their own care
- The right to privacy and confidentiality
- The right to remain in the facility unless a transfer or discharge is required
- The right to visit with others/make phone calls
- The right to make independent choices regarding financial affairs and activities
If you feel your loved one’s rights are being violated and they were harmed or injured, you should not hesitate to speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer in Lexington, Kentucky who can assist you with the actions that need to be taken next. At the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, we can help ensure your loved one is safe and tell you if you have a potential lawsuit. Your family’s safety is our number one priority. Get in touch today to learn more.