Has your loved one been neglected or abused while under the care of a nursing home facility or caretaker in Kentucky? If so, your family deserves to be compensated fairly for their traumatic experience and resulting damages.
The experienced Kentucky nursing home abuse attorneys at Hare Wynn Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you seek maximum compensation.
Our compassionate legal team is here to help you through this difficult time. Give our law offices, conveniently located in downtown Lexington, a call (859) 550-2900 or connect with us online to arrange a free consultation. We’ll listen to your story, provide clear guidance about your rights, and explain how we can help you hold the nursing home fully accountable.
How Hare Wynn Accident & Injury Lawyers Can Help If a Loved One Has Been Abused in a Kentucky Nursing Home
When you send your family member to a nursing home or care facility, Hare Wynn knows you do so with their best interests in mind. You hope that the staff will provide them with the care and attention your aging loved one deserves. However, as our Kentucky personal injury attorneys have seen throughout our years of legal experience, that is not always the case. Abuse and mistreatment of nursing home residents can occur.
Your family deserves fair compensation from your loved one’s neglectful or abusive caretakers. Our Kentucky personal injury lawyers are here to help you fight for financial justice.
When you turn to our award-winning legal team for help, you can expect us to:
- Launch an in-depth investigation into your loved one’s injuries and trauma
- Gather and analyze evidence to help us understand what happened, identify who’s at fault, and ultimately support a demand for damages
- Notify and work with government agencies responsible for nursing home safety and oversight
- Handle all conversations and negotiations with the nursing facility, caretakers, and insurance company
- Have our respected trial attorneys bring your case to a jury, if neccessary.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers have more than 130 years of experience helping families just like yours. We’re nationally recognized for our ability to help our clients achieve top results. We’re ready to help you in your time of need. Contact us right now for a FREE, no-obligation consultation.
How Common is Nursing Home Abuse?
About 1 in 10 Americans over 60 have reported some sort of elderly abuse, with estimates of up to 5 million elderly people being abused each year.
The exact number of incidents is hard to pin down as many times abuse goes unreported. This is due to victims being unable or unwilling to report their abuse. It’s believed that only 1 in 24 instances of nursing home abuse is reported.
According to the World Health Organization, 2 out of 3 caretakers in nursing facilities admit to having abused a resident. Most of these admissions involve acts of psychological abuse (32.5%). Neglect (12%), physical abuse (9.3%), and sexual abuse (.7%) account for about 22% of all cases of nursing home abuse.
Many believe that nursing home abuse became more problematic during the Coronavirus pandemic. During 2020, deaths among nursing home residents surged by 15% – and those deaths are believed to be unrelated to COVID.
According to the National Council on Aging, in nearly 60% of abuse cases, the abuser is a family member, and only one in fourteen elder abuse cases is reported.
If you or a loved one have suffered from nursing home abuse, you should never feel alone or like there is no legal action that you can take. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Hare Wynn Accident & Injury Lawyers have the knowledge and experience needed to help victims and their families fight for justice and to hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligent and abusive actions.
Contact us online or call us now at (859) 493-8706 for a no-risk, no-obligation consultation. We are here to listen to you, we are here to fight for you, and we are here to win for you.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse Individuals Can Face
There are several forms of abuse that elders can suffer in a negligent nursing home environment. The most commonly recognized forms of nursing home abuse can include physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse.
Victims can also face gross negligence because many nursing homes are severely understaffed. A lack of proper care and attention can result in a diminished standard of living that can ultimately lead to harmful situations – or even death – for the residents relying on the assistance. This is unfair and unjust, and you can take legal action when this type of abuse occurs.
Below are the types of abuse individuals may be subjected to in nursing homes or long-stay care facilities:
- Physical abuse occurs when a victim suffers injury from physical inflictions. This can include being pushing, slapping, punching, pinching, and kicking. This type of abuse is intentional and meant to cause pain or injury.
- Emotional abuse, also referred to as psychological abuse, is a form of manipulation. This can include threats, intimidation, or even social isolation that causes injury to the mental and emotional state of the victim.
- Financial abuse happens when a victim’s finances are exploited or withheld without proper cause.
- Sexual abuse, or any unwanted sexual contact, whether it be from another resident or employee, is unacceptable.
- Bedsores – Also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers, develop when there is prolonged pressure on the skin. Failure to frequently move an older resident who is unable to move could result in this painful condition.
- Falls – Falls are a leading cause of serious or fatal injury for older adults. Facility managers and employees must realize this and do everything in their power to supervise residents and protect them from harm from falls.
- Dehydration – If facility staff fail to monitor a resident’s fluid intake and ensure that they are getting what they need, they can quickly become dehydrated and could suffer severe health problems as a result.
- Malnutrition – If an elderly resident is not getting enough food or the right types of food, they could easily suffer from malnutrition, which could have a significant impact on their health.
- Medication error – During a “med pass,” nursing home staff must make sure to administer the right medication, a medication that is not expired, and the right dosage, as well as a host of other responsibilities, or else the residents/patients could suffer serious and possibly fatal harm.
- Elderly restraints – While restraints might be necessary to prevent a resident from harming themselves or others, they should only be used as a last resort, and should always be administered properly. If a nursing home fails to use restraints responsibly and safely, the resident could be seriously harmed.
- Alzheimer’s mistreatment – Residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s are often at higher risk of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse because they often struggle to communicate their feelings or remember what happened to them. If you suspect a loved one with this condition is being mistreated, be sure to reach out for help right away.
- Resident-on-resident abuse – It is estimated that one-in-five nursing home residents will be subjected to either verbal, physical, or sexual abuse or unwelcome entry into their room by another resident. These can be devastating and dangerous incidents, and you have the right to take legal action if your family member suffered abuse at the hands of another resident.
- Abandonment – It’s never acceptable to leave a vulnerable person to fend for themselves, especially in a facility that is designed to provide them with adequate care. If you suspect your loved one has been abandoned, contact us right away to put an end to this mistreatment.
- Open Wounds/Improper Wound Care – Improper wound care does not get the same level of attention as other forms of nursing home abuse, but it can cost a resident a limb, or even their life.
Instances of nursing home abuse can also include:
- Failure to change bathe or change the victim’s clothes.
- Failure to change soiled undergarments as needed.
- Intentional refusal to administer medicine or health care.
- Failure to provide proper nutrition.
- Irregular check-ups/failure to give timely attention.
If your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing facility, assisted living facility, or by an in-home caretaker, they might be entitled to compensation.
What Compensation Is Available to Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Kentucky?
Nursing home abuse can leave a resident with devastating physical injuries, unnecessary financial burdens, and traumatic emotional wounds. In Kentucky, nursing home abuse victims and their families can seek fair compensation for these and other damages. Typically, damages in a nursing home abuse lawsuit fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages help to offset and reimburse the financial costs of nursing home abuse and neglect, such as:
- Present and future medical bills
- Costs related to relocating to a new facility or obtaining new nursing care
- Necessary medical equipment, devices, or medications
- Economic losses related to financial elder abuse and theft
- Funeral and burial expenses, if abuse leads to death
Non-economic damages often called pain and suffering damages, aim to compensate for the consequences of abuse that don’t have a set dollar value.
This might include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of quality of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Mental anguish
- PTSD or depression
In limited instances, punitive damages might also be available. This might be the case if there’s clear evidence that the nursing home acted in a way that was oppressive, fraudulent, and malicious.
Be Aware of These Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
There are many reasons why a victim of nursing home abuse may not let anyone know it is happening to them. Two of the chief causes behind this are that the elderly can at times be socially isolated from their family members, and also, victims may be suffering from some sort of mental impairment and thus not able to voice the abuse.
If you suspect that some form of abuse may be inflicted on your loved one, take heed of the following signs:
- Signs of Physical Abuse: Broken or fractured bones, bruises, lacerations, damage to personal belongings, social withdrawal, or the victim becomes easy to scare or startle.
- Signs of Emotional Abuse: Altered behavior, fear of being left alone, repetitive actions, or refusal to take medicine.
- Signs of Sexual Abuse: Bruising of the genitals, tattered or stained undergarments, bleeding in or around the genitals, contracting venereal diseases and infections, or social withdrawal.
- Signs of Financial Abuse: Unfamiliar or unexplained spending, subscription to monthly programs, charitable donations to unknown causes, or the resident is missing checkbooks, credit cards, and personal documents, or resident receives inexplicable bills.
- Signs of Neglect: Poor hygiene, unexplained weight loss, bed sores, dirty room quarters, lack of medical care, or staff that is generally uncompassionate.
Remember, many residents of nursing homes do not report abuse because they are unaware of the abuse or are unable to report the abuse. That is why it is critical for you to look out for signs of abuses listed above.
If you are unsure if abuse has occurred, do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team. Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP has worked with many victims of nursing home abuse and their families, and we will be able to help you determine if any abuse has taken place. Then we can advise you on what legal action to take.
Studies have shown that:
- 3 million people live in nursing homes in America.
- One out of three residents has reported being abused.
- 95% of residents report they have seen other residents abused.
- Abused senior citizens have a 300% higher risk of death.
If any of the previously mentioned signs of abuse are apparent, file a report with the Adult Protective Services as soon as you can. Then seek legal consultation from the compassionate Kentucky nursing home abuse attorneys of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP by contacting us at (859) 493-8706.
We understand this is an extremely difficult time for you. We understand you likely have a lot of questions and concerns. Our nursing home abuse attorneys are ready to speak with you today for a no-risk, no-obligation consultation. We are here to listen to you, answer any questions, address any concerns, and advise you on the next legal steps to take.
It is not your job to understand federal and state laws regarding nursing home abuse. It is our job. We are here to work with you, we are here to fight for you, and we are here to win for you.
Mandatory Duties of a Nursing Home
Nursing homes owe all residents a safe environment as well as proper treatment and medical attention as needed. Residents should feel comfortable and cared for in nursing homes, and their family members should have the peace of mind that comes from putting their loved ones in good hands. But sometimes, things go wrong.
In order to prevent nursing home abuse, federal and state regulations have been put into place to protect the safety of all residents.
Nursing homes abiding by proper procedures and safety standards should follow these mandatory duties:
- A nursing home may only admit a certain number of patients according to the number of well-trained CNAs.
- Medications must be issued in the right amount, never restricted or given as incentives.
- Managers, supervisors, and nurses must comply with federal and state mandated safety regulations.
- The religious needs of each resident should be accommodated by providing contact with an appointed clergyman.
- No physical restraint can be used unless it is within reasonable cause to protect self or another individual from injury due to violent tendencies.
When these mandatory guidelines are not followed, abuse and mistreatment to residents can occur, and legal action may need to be taken. Time is of the essence when gathering evidence to prepare a case for trial, so contact an experienced attorney promptly if you suspect any form of nursing home abuse.
State & Federal Nursing Home Abuse Laws
In 1987, Congress passed the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, which established basic rights and services for nursing home residents. In addition, the following federal laws to protect senior citizens have been put into place: the Elder Justice Act, the Older Americans Act, and the Violence Against Women Act.
States have also implemented their own regulations in an attempt to protect the rights of every patient of nursing homes and long-stay care facilities.
There are also minimum requirements for the quality of care that Kentucky nursing homes must abide by. Each resident must receive the necessary nursing, medical, and emotional services to stay as healthy as possible.
A comprehensive assessment to determine the resident’s mental and physical function has to be conducted. The Office of Inspector General has the duty of investigating instances of facilities breaching their responsibilities of care.
Please be aware that the Kentucky personal injury and wrongful death statute of limitations apply to nursing home abuse cases, which provides one (1) year from the discovery of neglect to file a claim. That is why it is critical to contact a nursing home abuse attorney immediately if you suspect any abuse has occurred.
Efforts to Prevent Neglect and Abuse
It is the duty of nursing homeowners, managers, and/or supervisors to ensure that all safety regulations are being met so that each resident is properly cared for. Parties in charge, that have allowed for instances of negligence or abuse to occur, can be held liable.
There are many ways in which a nursing home can ensure the proper care of all residents, including:
- Providing an adequately designated and properly trained staff to cover the number of patients needing care is essential to preventing neglect in these facilities.
- Enforced procedures and constant monitoring are a must in nursing home environments.
- All residents should be informed of their right to an attorney.
- Visiting should not only be allowed but also encouraged.
- Residents should have access to resources, be able to engage in social interaction, and live free from unreasonable constraints.
- Residents should receive essential attention, medication, and treatment as necessary.
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we hold those managing and operating nursing homes to a high standard. We trust nursing homes to be a safe place for our loved ones to live and to be taken care of. However, when nursing homes are not operated as they should be, terrible things, like abuse, can happen. Abuse of elders in nursing homes is never acceptable, and legal action can be taken when this type of abuse occurs.
What to Do If Your Loved One Is Facing Abuse?
In the most serious cases of abuse, where urgent care is needed, call 9-1-1 immediately. You should also report the incident to Adult Protective Services, which are agencies in the United States that provide protective services to elderly and vulnerable adults.
If you are suspicious of an occurrence or recurrence of abuse or neglect, document all signs and symptoms you witness and contact a professional Kentucky nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. An experienced attorney will be able to help you gather evidence and advise you on the next steps to take.
Depending on the situation, nursing home abuse can involve civil or criminal cases. To prevent further abuse, consider taking over care of your loved one or frequently visit the facility to check in on them while legal aid is being rendered.
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from acts of negligence or abuse in the nursing home where they reside, take action promptly.
The compassionate Kentucky nursing home abuse attorneys of Hare Wynn know how hard it must be to see harm inflicted on a loved one. Do NOT hesitate to take legal action against the parties responsible for this abuse.