Abuse and neglect top the concerns of family members when they place their loved ones in a nursing home. Unfortunately, for many families, putting a family member in a nursing home is the last resort. They have cared for their family member at home, but their loved one needs 24/7 care or specialized nursing care that the family members cannot provide.

Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect occur in many facilities throughout Kentucky. Staff members, other residents, physicians, nurses, and even visitors may abuse residents. Alternatively, they may neglect them by failing to provide for their needs and care.

If you are searching for a nursing home for your loved one, you may want to read a recent report by ProPublica that indicates Kentucky has a high rate of deficiencies in its nursing homes.

Deficiencies in Kentucky Nursing Homes Could Lead to Higher Rates of Abuse and Neglect

ProPublica has published a Nursing Home Report based on penalties imposed on nursing homes and deficiencies reported by regulators. The report allows you to review specific nursing homes and an overview of nursing home deficiencies statewide. It also provides a way to search inspection reports using specific keywords that could indicate abuse and neglect.

The Kentucky state page includes 284 nursing homes throughout the state. These nursing homes have paid a combined $12.1 million in penalties. There were 74 homes with serious deficiencies and 222 homes with infection-related deficiencies.

The Highlands Nursing and Rehabilitation facility in Louisville had the highest number of total deficiencies (64); the River Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Paducah had the highest number of serious deficiencies (28). And the facility that had the highest fines ($830,580) was the Salyersville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Salyersville.

Fourteen facilities in Lexington were included in the list. Sayre Christian Village Nursing Home and Mayfair Manor tied for the highest total deficiencies (26).

A frightening detail of the ProPublica Nursing Home Inspect report is the top 20 nursing homes with the most serious deficiencies. These deficiencies could cause immediate jeopardy for the nursing home residents.

There were eight Kentucky nursing homes on the top 20 list. In addition, the top six were all in Kentucky.

If your family member is a resident in a nursing home, you may want to search for the home in the report. However, be prepared because the news may not be pleasant.

What Constitutes Elder Abuse?

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) states that elder abuse is a negligent, intentional, or knowing act by a person or caregiver that poses a risk of serious harm to a vulnerable adult.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms, including:

The ACL provides a list of warning signs of elder abuse on its website. You can also access information about the warning signs of elder abuse and nursing home abuse from the National Institute of Aging and National Center on Elder Abuse.

The Attorney General’s Office for Kentucky published a Guide for Taking Action Against Abuse and Neglect of Nursing Home Residents. The guide has information on how to report abuse, neglect, and other issues in nursing homes to the state.

One of the best ways you can protect your loved one is to learn the warning signs of nursing home abuse so that you can watch for those signs each time you visit. Visiting your loved one as often as possible can help you ensure that the facility provides adequate care and does not abuse your loved one.

What Should You Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

Immediately take steps to secure your loved one. Call 911 if your family member or another resident is in immediate harm. Police officers will respond to the home to investigate the matter and provide immediate protection for residents, if necessary.

Seek immediate medical attention for your loved one. If necessary, take your family member to the emergency room or call for emergency medical services. You do not need permission from the nursing home to call 911 for medical assistance.

If your family member does not appear to be in immediate danger, talk to them about your suspicions. Remember, your loved one may be afraid to tell you what is happening for fear of being abused by staff members. If you notice signs of physical abuse or sexual abuse, take photographs of the injuries.

Make notes about the date and time you discover injuries or signs of abuse. Keep a detailed log for your records and as evidence of abuse. Then, file a report with Kentucky’s Adult Protection Branch of the Department of Health and Family Services by calling (800) 752-6200.

As soon as possible, contact a nursing home abuse attorney. An attorney will explain your family member’s legal rights, including the right to file a lawsuit against the nursing home seeking compensation for the damages caused by negligence and wrongdoing. Money will not undo the pain and suffering, but it can stop the abuse from happening to another resident.