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Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky

United Way in Kentucky Seeks Ways to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

November 08, 2012

In an effort to solve many of the problems at the root of most nursing home abuse in the state of Kentucky, the Louisville-area United Way is holding a forum this Friday, to find new methods to prevent abuse of residents living in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities for the aged.

Organized by a coalition of law enforcement agencies, social advocacy groups for the aged and non-profit groups, the forum seeks to find ways to cope with the nationwide increase in cases of elderly abuse in nursing homes and ALFs. As the baby boom generation ages past middle age and into retirement age, nursing home abuse reports have increased, prompting state agencies, police departments, lawyers, and legislators to take a closer look at nursing home abuse by staff or even family members.

The Metro United Way of Louisville’s forum will include the participation of Kentucky’s department of Adult Protective Services, the Louisville Better Business Bureau, ElderServe, the Louisville police department, the state attorney general’s office, Louisville’s Guardia Care Services and the city Office of Aging & Disabled Citizens. In addition, state representative Joni Jenkins (D-Shively) is scheduled to attend. Members of the public are also welcome to participate, including nursing home abuse lawyer, family members of abuse victims, and more.

The forum’s agenda not only seeks ways to deal with nursing home abuse issues in the state, but also to make cumbersome procedures more streamlined and easy to implement. For example, if an elderly person is sharing a home with a family member that’s being abusive and/or breaking other laws, the process of eviction is full of red tape and takes time to carry out. One of the goals of the forum is to make it easier for the elderly to have more say in their daily lives and to reduce all instances of abuse.


Threatened by Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits, Nursing Home Chain Leaves Kentucky

May 31, 2012

Extendicare Health Services Inc., a major nursing home chain, said it will be leaving Kentucky due to the risk of nursing home abuse lawsuits. The company owns a nursing home in Richmond that was the site of nursing home abuse caught on a hidden camera.

The founder of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform said if the nursing homes abide by regulations they wouldn’t need to worry about being sued.

Extendicare Health Services had hoped a law would be passed requiring that nursing home abuse lawsuits undergo a medical review panel. When the law proposal was not called for a vote before the House Health and Welfare Committee, the nursing facility company decided to pull out of Kentucky, citing too much financial risk.

Those against the proposed law say it could impede justice and create an unfair burden on potential victims and their families.

A nursing home abuse lawyer provides abuse and neglect victims with an avenue to pursue justice as well as help prevent abuse from occurring in the future.


Plaintiff Gets $8 Million in Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Case

February 19, 2012

In a lawsuit against Treyton Oak Towers nursing home in Louisville, Kentucky the plaintiff was awarded $8 million.

The case involved a nursing home resident suffering two broken legs as he was moved by nursing home staff from his chair to his bed.

In cases where a nursing home resident is injured while at his or her nursing home, the possibility of nursing home abuse or neglect must be investigated.

If the resident claims abuse caused his or her injuries, or if a loved one suspects abuse, the first thing to do is contact the authorities and make sure the resident is safe. From there, we advise you to get in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer who can help the resident and their family explore their legal options.

As seen in this case, the victim may be entitled to significant financial compensation for any abuse or neglect they suffered. A nursing home abuse lawsuit can also help send a message and prevent future abuse or neglect.


Nursing Home Industry Spends Big on Kentucky Lawmakers as Nursing Home Abuse Reform Stalls

August 27th, 2010

A recent investigation by a Kentucky newspaper has shown the nursing home industry has given nearly $2 million to Kentucky politicians over the last decade, raising concern that the industry has used money to prevent nursing home reform. The Herald-Leader newspaper looked into nursing home industry campaign donations after earlier reports on the state’s poor track record handling nursing home abuse cases.

“We’re David up against Goliath. They obviously have the money, they give so much, and we are just so overwhelmed,” said Bernie Vonderheide, founder of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform.

Vonderheide and his group have been lobbying for nursing home reform for years. One of their main areas of focus has been trying to set a minimum staffing requirement based on number of residents and their care needs. However, year after year the reform bills die without receiving a committee vote.

Rep. Carl Rollins has been sympathetic to the groups purpose and has been sponsoring their proposed bills. Rollins has yet to gain success.

“I’m talking about having adequate staffing,” said Rollins. “My Lord! You would have thought I wanted to put a stake through their hearts.”

Rollins had his own run-in with nursing home neglect in which his mother-in-law’s nursing home was not properly staffed.

“We had to hire someone, a personal aide, who went in on weekends when they were particularly understaffed to make sure she was fed and cleaned and cared for,” said Rollins. “I worry about any nursing home resident who doesn’t have someone looking out for them.”

Vonderheide and Rollins said they have talked with lawmakers and have concluded that House Democratic leaders don’t want the reform bills called for a vote.


Nursing Home Abuse on the Rise in Kentucky

July 1, 2012

Substantiated cases of abuse or neglect in Kentucky nursing homes is up from 18 percent last year to 28 percent this year.

A report by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services says that 2,090 abuse investigations were conducted at Kentucky nursing homes and it was determined that abuse or neglect probably happened in 583 of those cases. Last year there were about the same number of investigations and 368 of those investigations found that abuse or neglect likely occurred.

This increase in substantiated cases of nursing home abuse could be a step in the right direction, however, since it also shows the renewed effort Kentucky has placed on rooting out abuse and neglect in its nursing homes. These more thorough investigations have been spurred by Gov. Steve Beshear’s recommendations for nursing home reform.

The Kentucky newspaper the Herald-Leader has been vital in this increased effort toward fighting nursing home abuse by publishing a series of articles in 2010 that called to light the problem of abuse and neglect in nursing homes across Kentucky.

We also encourage you to contact a nursing home abuse attorney if you know of a loved one being neglected or otherwise abused in a nursing home.


Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky; Worker Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

June 10, 2012

A former nursing home worker who attacked a mentally disabled resident, causing the resident’s death, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and knowingly abusing an adult. Both charges carry prison sentences of 5 to 10 years.

Prosecutors said the 21-year-old former nursing home employee beat or kicked the resident causing his death. An autopsy showed that the man died from internal abdominal bleeding.

The attacker was originally charged with one count of murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter.

The man originally lied to a detective saying another resident strangled the victim. The wrongfully accused man was charged with murder and jailed. However, the victim’s autopsy showed the strangulation story was a lie.

Physical nursing home abuse is a very serious crime and if noticed it needs to be reported to the police immediately. We also encourage you to contact a nursing home abuse attorney who can help the victim and their family with their legal options.


Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky; Stealing Patient Medications

January 26, 2012

A former nurse at Cumberland Valley Manor Nursing Home in Burkesville, Kentucky has been charged with theft of a controlled substance and neglect.

The former nurse was indicted by a Cumberland County grand jury on 11 counts of neglect for stealing medications from 10 residents at the nursing home. The woman faces 5 to 10 years for the Class C felony.

The accused woman was also indicted on 11 counts of theft of a controlled substance and faces 5 to 10 years for those Class D felony charges.

The nursing home abuse was uncovered by an investigation by the Burkesville Police Department and the state Attorney General’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control.

The nursing home administrator declined to comment on the case but insists that resident care is their number one priority.

A nursing home abuse lawyer can help you and your family explore your legal options following an incident of nursing home abuse or neglect.


Kentucky to Implement Fingerprint Checks to Combat Nursing Home Abuse

June 23, 2011

Kentucky has been given a $3 million federal grant that it will use to buy equipment for fingerprinting checks for nursing home employees. This latest effort in the fight against nursing home abuse will help stop people with criminal pasts from working with the elderly and other nursing home residents.

Currently, state law in Kentucky only requires name-based background checks for those seeking to work in a nursing home. However, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services estimates that many nursing homes and assisted living facilities will voluntarily participate in fingerprinting checks.

The fingerprint checks will be administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and will use records of in-state fingerprints via the Kentucky State Police and national fingerprint records via the FBI.

Efforts like these in Kentucky to help combat nursing home abuse are important in the protection of nursing home residents. If you have family of other loved ones in a nursing home you can also do your part in protecting them by making frequent visits and reporting any suspicions of nursing home abuse or neglect to the police immediately. We also advise you to get in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer to help you navigate your legal options.


Kentucky Raises Awareness on Nursing Home Abuse

March 13, 2013

Across the nation, nursing home abuse and neglect continues to be a problem. In Kentucky, the the FIVCO Long Term Care Ombudsman Program along with the Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, is creating campaigns in order to raise public awareness of how devastating the effects of elder and disabled abuse can be.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 21.1% of the nation’s population was over 62 years of age in 2010, and is expected to grow. Angela Rigsby, the district ombudsman in Kentucky, states that bringing more awareness to the issue of abuse now will help prevent it from happening even more as the elder population grows:

“We’re trying to get some public interest and find some people to help us fund some public awareness initiatives we want to take. We need to get elder abuse where it is as talked about like domestic violence and child abuse,” Rigsby said.

Rigsby also states that loved ones should always look out for the warning signs that an elderly person is being abused:

“If you try to visit an elderly person and they are always asleep or in the bathroom, or gone, and you aren’t allowed to see them, that can be a sign that they are being physically abused and have indications of that the abuser doesn’t want anyone to see,” said Rigsby.

The mission of awareness will not only be about nursing home abuse, but about anyone who comes in contact with the elderly, whether at their homes, through the Meals on Wheels service, volunteers, neighbors, and ambulance drivers.

The first meeting to raise awareness will be held on March 21 in the Boyd County Fiscal Courtroom where social workers, health care providers, law enforcement, and other concerned citizens will meet to discuss ways to raise awareness. Another meeting is scheduled for April 15 at the Ashland Rotary Club, where Rigsby hopes speakers will be able to educate the club members on the frequency of nursing home and elder abuse.

Another key point that loved ones may not be aware of in Kentucky is that they have the right, along with nursing home abuse victims, to retain the services of a nursing home abuse lawyer and file for damages, even if the incident seems minor.


Kentucky Police Investigating Nursing Home Abuse Claim

April 22, 2013

A Lexington, Kentucky man is under investigation after nursing home abuse complaints of sexual abuse against an elderly woman.

According to police, an 87-year-old female resident of Lexington’s Cambridge Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Care, filed a report of sexual assault in a nursing home earlier this month. Allegedly, one the nursing home employees sexually assaulted her on April 12. Administrators at Cambridge Place promptly called 911 after the resident explained what happened.

The suspect, whose name has yet to be released, is still being investigated. No arrests have been made yet, but police confirmed that the case is still open.

The nursing home’s administrators released a statement shortly after, stating that they will take all precautions and do what is necessary to help their residents:

“Resident care and safety is our number one concern. We take these allegations very seriously. Upon learning of this allegation, we took immediate and appropriate action and will continue to cooperate with the investigation. Due to resident confidentiality, we cannot comment further,” an administrator told Lex 18 News.

The state of Kentucky allows victims to file civil charges. Should the victim and/or her loved ones hire a nursing home abuse attorney, the suspect may be facing both criminal and civil charges.

Meanwhile, two crucial bills that could aid in the prevention of nursing home abuse were denied this month. House Bill 73, which mandates all potential nursing home employees must undergo a criminal background, was not passed by Senate. In addition, a bill that would create a list of workers who have been previously involved in nursing home abuse and neglect cases failed to pass again for the fourth year.


Kentucky Nursing Home May Close Following Nursing Home Abuse

September 30, 2011

Kentucky nursing home Fountain Circle Health and Rehabilitation faces losing its certification and could possibly close following episodes of nursing home abuse which landed them on the Special Focus Facilities list and a national list of troubled facilities.

Fountain Circle, which has high employee turnover and has had four different administrators in the past four years, has been cited several times in the past year. The most serious incident was when a mentally impaired resident was found rolling down the highway in a wheelchair after workers left the resident outside alone.

The nursing home must receive two good surveys over the next year to be removed from the troubled facilities list, and must get one good survey by December 31 to stay out of danger of losing its certification.

The troubled facilities list was started by the federal government to monitor and improve nursing homes in order to prevent closures. When nursing homes are forced to close it creates the problem of finding new facilities for the displaced residents.

Family members of nursing home residents are encouraged to check in on their loved ones frequently and to notify authorities and contact nursing home abuse lawyer if they suspect abuse or neglect.


Kentucky Nursing Home Makes a Deal Regarding Nursing Home Abuse Charges

July 13, 2011

A Kentucky nursing home and former administrator have reached a deal that may get them off the hook for criminal charges stemming from them not reporting the sexual nursing home abuse of a resident.

The Attorney General’s office said the charges against Hazard Nursing Home and its former administrator could be dismissed in six months after the case was referred to Perry County District Court.

The nursing home and former administrator must pay a $20,000 fine and if the terms of the agreement are not met they will once again face criminal charges. The fine paid will go to a nursing home advocacy fund.

The lawyer representing the victim’s family does not agree with the deal reached saying the situation of unreported sexual abuse was very serious.

Often times nursing home abuse and neglect are not properly handled by authorities, which is why contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer in cases of nursing home abuse is of vital importance.


Kentucky Nursing Home Cited for Nursing Home Abuse

December 11, 2011

Charleston Health Care Center of Danville, Kentucky was given a Type A citation for the way it handled a situation where a male nurse allegedly abused residents. The male nurse was accused of trying to suffocate one resident and laying in bed with and kissing another resident.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s office is reviewing the Type A citation which is the most serious citation given by the state and means that a resident’s life or safety was endangered.

Staff of the nursing home are accused of not immediately reporting the allegations of nursing home abuse; and the administration is accused of not doing a thorough investigation and did not report all allegations to the state.

If you think a family member is being abused in his or her nursing home or assisted living facility you should first report your concerns to the authorities. But we also advise you to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer who can help you explore your legal options.


Kentucky Nursing Home Charged with Sexual Nursing Home Abuse

August 9th, 2010

A Kentucky nursing home and the home’s administrator face criminal charges for failure to report the sexual nursing home abuse of one of the home’s residents. The administrator of Hazard Nursing Home of Kentucky was made aware of the sexual of a resident and did not report the abuse to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Once the cabinet learned of the sexual abuse allegations an investigation took place leading to the issuing of a Type A citation to the home, saying that a resident’s life or safety has been endangered because of violations of state regulations. This then lead to the Attorney General’s office conducting a criminal investigation.

“The facility failed to protect residents from unwanted sexual contact, failed to report the allegations to appropriate state agencies and failed to thoroughly investigate the allegations of sexual abuse,” said the state’s citation.

A deposition revealed that the same resident had been additionally sexually abused on another occasion within view of a nursing supervisor and staff members.

“It is my hope that today’s charges send a message to nursing home operators and administrators that they have an obligation to notify authorities if a resident is abused while in their care,” said Attorney General Jack Conway.


Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Investigation Bill Stalls

February 21, 2011

A bill proposed in Kentucky that would require that a coroner be called after a nursing home resident has died has stalled in the state legislative session. Advocates for the bill say a coroner being called after every death in a nursing home is a vital tool in investigating nursing home abuse and would help the overall battle against abuse and neglect in nursing homes.

The bills sponsor, Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, said the bill is getting opposition from the nursing home industry. In addition, the state’s chief medical examiner says he would need to hire extra medical examiners and support staff which the budget may not allow.

Burch said his attempts at compromise with the nursing home industry did not work.

One of the greatest assets our elders can have while in nursing homes a vigilant family members. You should visit you loved ones in nursing homes frequently and if you notice signs of nursing home abuse or neglect we urge you to alert the authorities immediately and then contact a nursing home abuse lawyer.


Kentucky Now Putting Nursing Home Abuse Inspection Reports Online

December 20th, 2010

Kentucky recently started putting the results of nursing home inspections online to better protect nursing home residents from nursing home abuse and neglect.

The recent push to improve nursing home care in Kentucky was brought about by a series of Herald-Leader newspaper articles regarding problems with how nursing home abuse cases are investigated. Cabinet Secretary Janie Miller responded with a review of how nursing home abuse is handled in the state.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration took notice of the growing problem and promised to make efforts to improve nursing home care in Kentucky. The release of inspection reports online is one of the promised improvements.

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect have become a growing problem throughout the country. If you have been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, or if you suspect a loved one is being abused, you are urged to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately to help you and your family.


Kentucky Group Wants Medical Review Panel for Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits

December 21, 2011

The Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities wants to enact a law requiring an impartial medical review panel to review nursing home abuse lawsuits before they are brought to court.

The case review panel would be comprised of three physicians and led by a neutral attorney would would not be voting on the merit of the case. The panel’s findings would then be admissible in court if a lawsuit was filed.

The Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities says this would help do away with frivolous lawsuits. However, the Kentucky Justice Association, a lawyer group, disagree with the proposed law saying it is designed to protect nursing homes from their own negligence. The group says if the nursing home industry wants fewer lawsuits they need to give their residents more staffing and better care.

Legislation for this proposed law has not currently been filed for the 2012 General Assembly.

A nursing home abuse lawyer, an advocate for nursing home abuse victims and their families, plays a critical role is holding nursing homes responsible for any negligence they may be guilty of.


Kentucky Finds Nursing Home Abuse Probably Occurred in 18 Percent of Investigations

March 25, 2011

The 2010 Report of Elder Abuse in Kentucky revealed that out of 2,048 nursing home abuse investigations by social workers, nursing home abuse or neglect probably occurred in 368 of those cases, about 18 percent.

“It proves what we’ve been saying all along,” said nursing home reform advocate Bernie Vonderheide. “There are problems in these long-term care facilities.”

The report was recently presented at an Elder Abuse Committee meeting. This was the first time the Cabinet for Health and Family Services included such statistics in their report.

The push for nursing home reform in Kentucky comes after a series of articles in the Herald-Leader last year highlighting problems with the system Kentucky authorities use to investigate nursing home abuse and neglect.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse you need to speak out. This includes contacting authorities immediately and getting in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your case.


Kentucky Cracks Down on Nursing Home Abuse

December 22nd, 2010

Kentucky is implementing new ways of tracking nursing home abuse cases in an effort to prosecute those guilty of abuse and keep nursing home residents safe. The newly focused efforts of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services are a result of Herald-Leader newspaper stories this summer which exposed a problem of serious nursing home abuse cases not always being reviewed by prosecutors and local law enforcement.

The Inspector General of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said her office now has regular meeting with staff to better track violations. In addition, they have increased training for nursing home regulators, and are developing a standardized intake form to report nursing home abuse and neglect.

Many factors contribute to the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect in our country. But at the top of the list of reasons why nursing home abuse continues is that many incidences of abuse and neglect are simply not reported. If you are a victim of nursing home abuse or if you suspect a loved one is being abused you are urged to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately to discuss your legal options.


Kentucky Bill Aimed at Thwarting Nursing Home Abuse with Background Checks

January 5th, 2011

A new bill aimed at thwarting nursing home abuse has been proposed in Kentucky that would require background checks for all employees at nursing homes. The bill, filed by State Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, would bar nursing homes from hiring anyone who has a felony record of theft; abuse or sale of illegal drugs; abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult; or a sexually related crime.

Kentucky currently only requires criminal background checks for direct caregivers at nursing homes. However, staff such as custodians and maintenance workers, who still have access to residents, are not currently screened for a criminal record.
Under Senate Bill 44 background checks of all long-term care facility employees would be made by the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home and believe they are a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect you are encouraged to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer right away to talk about your legal options.


Kentucky Attorney General Decides Not to Reopen Possible Nursing Home Abuse Case

December 31st, 2010

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office will not be reopening a possible nursing home abuse case involving an elderly woman’s unexplained injuries. The resident of Cambridge Place Nursing Home in Lexington, Kentucky was found baldly injured in a storage room after reportedly falling from her walker.

An attorney for the injured woman asked that the case be reopened; however, the executive director of the attorney general’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control denied an investigation saying there was “no physical or medical evidence of an assault and there is no evidence of criminal neglect.”

Staff at Cambridge Place told investigators in January 2009 that the injured woman went missing after moving through the hall, and was found after having fallen from her seated walker.

If you believe yourself or a loved one to be a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect you are advised to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your legal rights.


Investigation of Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky May Take Years

July 15th, 2010

It has been 11 months since a Type A citation, Kentucky’s most serious regulatory citation, was issued to Johnson Mathers Nursing Home in Carlisle, KY for the wrongful death case of James “Ronnie” Duncan. Since then, the delay of making a decision of closing the case or pursuing a criminal trial has raised concerns in the way that these types of abuse cases are handled. A mentally handicapped resident, Duncan, was left alone in bed for three hours after a severe fall, which resulted in internal brain bleeding and his death in May 2009.

This case is just one of 8 nursing home abuse cases inKentucky that have failed to make progress in investigation, with at least two cases from the same nursing home open for nearly three years. All 8 cases are open and under review by either the Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control or local prosecutors. Complicating the investigations is the fact that police or coroners are not usually called to collect evidence for deaths in nursing homes. Other issues hindering and slowing investigations include investigators’ high case loads, staffing shortages, coordination with other law enforcement agencies, and difficulty finding witnesses.

Another investigation involving the Woodcrest Manor Care Center in Elsmere, KY has been open for 11 months. The case involves a resident who fell five times in less than a month, prompting staff of the nursing home to place his bed against the wall and position a senor on the floor so staff could hear if he fell again. The resident then began going over the end of the bed, and consequently not triggering the sensor, which was known to staff but there is no evidence they addressed this problem.

The resident was found July 9, 2009, three feet from his bed with a broken spine and a hematoma on his head. The man was taken to a hospital, where he died six days later. The case is still under review according to the attorney general’s office.


Attorney General Files Nursing Home Abuse Complaint Against Kentucky Nursing Home

July 18, 2011

The U.S. Attorney General has filed a compliant against Villaspring Care and Rehabilitation of Kentucky claiming that numerous patients of the nursing home received “worthless care” which resulted in serious injuries and the death of five patients.

The complaint further alleges that the nursing home knew these services were worthless to the residents and still billed Medicare and Medicaid. If these services are found to be fraudulent the nursing home could be fined $5,500 to $11,000 for each fraudulent claim.

Carespring Healthcare, the nursing home’s parent company, says the Federal Government’s case does not have any merit, citing that the Kentucky Attorney General already looked into this case and no charges were filed.

Government agencies and watchdog groups are important in the fight against nursing home abuse. However, loved ones of nursing home residents must be ever vigilant in recognizing signs of nursing home abuse. You should report any suspicions to authorities immediately and get in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer.


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