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What qualifies as abuse or neglect in Kentucky nursing homes?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Nursing Home Neglect And Abuse

Families often decide to move their older loved ones into nursing homes due to medical challenges or support needs. Someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease faces cognitive decline that could make living alone a very risky prospect, for example. The children, spouses and other family members of a vulnerable older adult may recognize that they are not in a position to effectively meet those care needs consistently enough for someone’s physical safety.

Families may choose to move older loved ones into nursing homes, but they may then worry about issues with abuse and neglect. What types of conduct constitute abuse or neglect at a Kentucky nursing home, and what responsibilities do long-term care facilities have to residents?

Facilities should prioritize the standard of living of residents

Kentucky state statutes have very clear rules addressing the rights of nursing home residents and imposing specific obligations on nursing home facilities. As a general rule, the expectation is that a nursing home should do everything reasonably possible to ensure a comfortable and appropriate standard of living for residents given the condition of the facility and the needs of the individual.

Typically, that entails maintaining clean and safe facilities. Individual residents may require monitoring to ensure that they eat appropriately, receive adequate personal hygiene support and take medication in accordance with the recommendations of a physician. Sometimes, facilities fail to meet that standard. Other times, residents may suffer significant hardships due to the negligence or active abuse conducted by long-term care employees.

What constitutes abuse?

There are several kinds of abuse that can occur in nursing homes. Emotional and verbal abuse are among the most common. Workers may berate or threaten older adults, making them feel miserable and unsafe. Physical abuse is also possible. Workers might push or strike older residents, which could potentially lead to severe injuries. Some workers might even sexually abuse vulnerable older adults. Financial abuse is also a concern and might involve stealing from an older adult or intentionally manipulating their financial decisions.

What is nursing home neglect?

Neglect in a nursing home might look like a resident going several days without a shower and a change of clothes. It might look like staff members failing to notice that someone has refused food for several days. The failure to intervene when someone begins developing bedsores or improper facility maintenance that leads to the rapid spread of infestations and infections can also potentially constitute negligence. If reasonable people recognize that certain actions are necessary for the health and safety of nursing home residents, the failure to engage in that activity could lead to allegations of nursing home neglect.

Families concerned about the abuse or neglect of their loved ones at a nursing home may sometimes need to take legal action. Pursuing a lawsuit can compensate families for the impact of an older adult’s mistreatment and potentially force long-term care facilities to change their operational practices.