Peterson Law Office fights for victims of elder abuse and neglect in Kentucky. If you know or suspect a loved one was the victim of mistreatment in a long-term care facility, don’t wait to contact a Lexington nursing home abuse lawyer.
Kentucky law provides legal options for families seeking justice after abuse. A personal injury claim filed against a negligent facility can:
- Bring awareness to a serious problem affecting millions of older adults
- Hold nursing homes in our state to higher standards of safety and accountability
- Remove an abuser from a position that allows them to perpetrate harm against nursing home residents
- Force a nursing facility to adhere to all state and federal laws regarding safety, cleanliness, staff-to-resident ratios, and the upholding of resident rights
- Secure the compensation a loved one needs to treat medical issues and enjoy a high quality of life in their final years
If you are the family member of an abuse survivor, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney at Peterson Law Office.
We specialize in handling complex Lexington nursing home abuse cases with respect, empathy, dedication, and expertise. During your free case evaluation, you are welcome to ask any questions you may have about options for recovery and the legal assistance we can provide.
How a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You
Nursing home abuse victims deserve a knowledgeable, professional advocate who can help them obtain justice through legal recourse. While family members are usually eager to do all they can to hold a nursing home facility accountable for the harm their loved one suffered, few people have the legal training needed to effectively litigate a case of nursing home abuse.
Legal action is a meaningful way to prevent negligent facilities from continuing the actions that led to a nursing home resident’s harm. But these cases are highly complicated and best handled by seasoned attorneys who specialize in assisted living facility abuse cases.
Nursing home residents may be able to seek compensation after suffering physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, lack of proper care, or other forms of maltreatment at the hands of facility staff members.
Is Peterson Law Office the Right Lexington, KY Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm?
We know there are many personal injury law firms in Lexington that claim to handle nursing home cases. In a large field of legal professionals, we are confident that our nursing home abuse lawyers have the dedication, skill, and expertise to give our clients the best possible case outcomes.
But it’s up to you to decide which law firm is best equipped to represent your loved one. Every case is unique, and you need to find the lawyer who is the best fit for your own nursing home abuse case. That’s why we offer a free consultation to any potential client seeking legal guidance. During your case evaluation, we invite you to ask any questions that will help you determine if we have the experience you are looking for.
The ultimate goal of every nursing home abuse attorney on our team is to stop nursing home abuse completely. We work hard to keep ourselves at the forefront of our field for the sake of our clients. As your Lexington nursing home abuse lawyer, we promise to:
- Deeply investigate your case to identify the circumstances that led to injury or wrongful death
- Build a meaningful attorney-client relationship that empowers you to take part in the legal process, while allowing you to trust that we always have your best interest at heart
- Negotiate with the insurance company and skillfully take over all communications on your behalf
- Gather, prepare, and submit all pertinent legal documents, giving you the means to focus on recovery while we manage the paperwork
- Help you recover compensation for financial and non-financial losses, and seek punitive damages when they are appropriate
- Keep in communication with you and your family through the entire process
A nursing home abuse case is much different from other types of personal injury cases, like a car accident. Successfully litigating a case of nursing home abuse or neglect in Kentucky takes competence and commitment. Come learn why Peterson Law Office is the right choice for you. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics: The Scope of the Problem
In 2022, survey findings from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that two in three nursing home staff members admitted to committing abuse in the past year. An already-critical problem prior to 2019, nursing home abuse rates skyrocketed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Understaffing, overworking, lax hiring standards, stressful work conditions, and the unmitigated spread of infection combined to create an environment that was anything but conducive to the well-being of older adults residing in nursing homes.
As the nation’s population ages, experts predict the problem will only continue to worsen—unless we do something to stop it.
A National Problem
In 2022, the White House released a statement pledging a commitment to protecting the rights of older and vulnerable adults in the United States. Currently, more than 1.4 million people live in nursing homes across the nation. In the past two years alone, over 200,000 nursing home residents lost their lives—roughly one-quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the country.
The pandemic only served to highlight the hazardous conditions many of our aging loved ones face in long-term nursing facilities. The White House investigation pointed to issues like crowded rooms, low staff levels, undertrained staff, overmedication of residents, and lack of accountability and enforcement as factors that led to resident mistreatment. One study indicated that elder abuse may have increased as much as 84% since the beginning of the pandemic.
Worse yet, these statistics may only reveal a fraction of the problem. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) estimates that for every one case of reported abuse, 24 cases go undetected.
A Problem in Kentucky
If you think nursing home abuse is someone else’s problem, consider these Kentucky elder abuse statistics published by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS):
- In 2020, the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) Adult Protective Services received 23,766 calls regarding the abuse or neglect of adults over 60 years of age. This was an almost 7% increase over the previous year.
- Of the 1,744 cases of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation handled by the KY Office of the Attorney General in 2020, the majority involved caretaker neglect, followed by patient abuse.
- The Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (KLTCOP) investigated 2,223 complaints of elder mistreatment in 2020. Top complaints included: caregivers unresponsive to requests for assistance, poor personal hygiene and incontinence care, symptoms unattended, improper administration of medications, insufficient care planning, and accidents and falls due to neglect.
Nursing Home Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect: What’s the Difference?
The terms “nursing home abuse” and “nursing home neglect” are often used interchangeably. But these are different actions, whether or not they result in the same type of injury.
- Nursing home abuse is an intentional act that endangers a nursing home resident’s life or well-being (such as hitting a resident).
- Nursing home neglect is a failure to meet a standard of care the resident requires (such as not providing proper nutrition).
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is generally categorized by its most common forms: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
Examples of Physical Abuse
- Hitting, punching, or slapping
- Kicking or pushing
- Improper use of physical restraints
- Unnecessary use of physical force
- Any other form of physical violence against a resident
Physical abuse can also take the form of sexual abuse. Any unwanted, unsolicited, or non-consensual touching or sexual act is considered sexual abuse.
Examples of Emotional Abuse and Verbal Abuse
- Deliberately isolating a resident from social activities
- Refusing to grant a resident privacy
- Abusive language
Examples of Financial Exploitation
- Stealing money or property
- Use of checks, credit cards, or bank account information without the resident’s knowledge or permission
- Tricking or coercing residents into adding names to deeds or accounts, changing information in a will, or signing over financial rights
Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect can be any action or omission that fails to meet the needs of the nursing home resident. Common forms of neglect include:
- Leaving an immobile patient in bed until they develop bedsores
- Failing to change a resident’s bed linens
- Failing to administer medical treatment when necessary
- Denying medical attention to an ill or injured patient
- Unsanitary nursing home facilities
- Allowing the spread of infection through a facility
- Neglecting to stop or prevent resident-against-resident violence
- Not reporting abuse when it is observed
- Employing nurses or other staff who commit medical malpractice
- Denying proper nutrition and clean water to residents
- Not providing seasonally-appropriate clothing and proper room temperatures
- Ignoring or refusing to respond to a resident’s call for assistance
- Not properly assessing and supervising a high fall-risk patient
Nursing Home Elopement
Another serious concern in a nursing home setting is elopement. Elopement is when a resident is allowed to wander from their room, building of residence, or off facility property altogether. This is a particular danger to Alzheimer’s and other dementia patients.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to monitor high-risk residents and ensure they are not allowed to wander unsupervised. If a facility offers residency to individuals suffering from dementia, it must also employ staff who are trained in specialized dementia care.
When nursing home workers neglect the needs of at-risk residents, allowing them to injure themselves due to lack of supervision, the facility may be liable for medical expenses and other resultant damages to the victim.
Overmedication in Nursing Homes
Overmedicating the elderly is another issue seen in nursing homes, and it is a practice with dangerous effects. While it may seem morally incomprehensible, nursing home staff have been known to use overmedication to make patients more cooperative and docile. When patients are administered unnecessary doses of antipsychotic medications, they sleep more and make fewer requests of caregivers. Sadly, this is considered by some facilities to be the ideal resident.
In 1987, the federal Nursing Home Reform Law listed freedom from “chemical restraints” as a fundamental right of nursing home residents. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also worked to ban this dangerous practice from going on in nursing homes.
It is against the law to use powerful drugs to control the behavior of residents. If you believe a nursing home resident is being overmedicated, speak to your nursing home abuse lawyers immediately so they can begin investigating the matter.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Someone who suffered physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or financial abuse will usually exhibit certain symptoms. Not all signs of abuse look the same from person to person. Be on the lookout for any sudden changes, or the sudden appearance of any of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect listed below. Remember, the best way to prevent and stop abuse is by being present, active, and involved in your loved one’s life.
Signs of Abuse
- Unexplained or repeated physical injuries, including broken bones, bruises, or cuts
- Bruises indicative of the misuse of physical restraints
- Torn clothing or broken eyeglasses
- Changes in medication without a doctor’s explanation
- Withdrawal, isolation, and avoidance of social activities
- Changes in mood and behavior
- An unwillingness to talk about certain subjects
- Noticeable reactions to certain employees
- Changes in finances
- Nervousness, depression, or anxiety
Signs of Neglect
- Pressure ulcers (bed sores)
- Weight loss
- Unseasonal clothing
- Poor personal cleanliness
- Dental issues
- Soiled bed sheets
- Rashes and poor skin condition
- Body odor
- Mental health deterioration
- Lack of participation in hobbies, exercise, or social activity
- Falling when no staff is present
The Rights of Nursing Home Residents in Kentucky
According to Kentucky Regulatory Statutes KRS 216.515, nursing home residents in Kentucky should enjoy at least the following minimum rights:
- The Right To Be Informed: Residents have the right to be fully informed about a facility’s services and fees, available Medicaid benefits and how to use them, their own patient care plan, facility inspection reports, and how to submit a complaint. This information can also be shared with family members and legal representatives of the resident.
- The Right To Be Involved: Residents must be able to participate in their own healthcare. This includes understanding how they will be treated, learning the results of tests and examinations, choosing their own physician, and having access to their medical records.
- The Right To Make Decisions: A nursing home resident must be able to enjoy the freedom of choice. They must be aware of all rules of the nursing home before they become a resident. They should also be able to decide if they want to participate in facility activities and events.
- The Right To Enjoy Privacy: Kentucky nursing homes must not violate a resident’s privacy when it comes to medical care, guest visits, phone calls, letters, restroom use, and other aspects of their life.
Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims
If someone you love was mistreated in a Lexington, KY nursing home, compensation should address all losses they suffered. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able to win your family compensation for:
- Cost of medical intervention
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Court costs
- Nursing home residency fees
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In the event that your loved one lost their life through nursing home negligence, your attorney can assist you in filing a wrongful death claim with the facility’s insurance company. This can help you recover costs associated with life-saving medical attempts, funeral and burial costs, and loss of companionship.
What To Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
The Lexington nursing home abuse attorneys at Peterson Law Office advise all family members of care facility residents to be vigilant in watching for signs of abuse or neglect. If you have reason to believe a resident is being in any way mistreated, follow these steps:
- Call 911 if any person is in immediate danger.
- Try to take pictures or videos that can provide proof. Write down any troubling signs you observe, being specific about dates, times, locations, and individuals involved.
- Spend time one-on-one with the resident. If staff aren’t willing to let you be with your relative alone, see this as a red flag.
- Allow your loved one to voice any concerns they have to you. Be a good listener. Don’t pressure an abuse victim into talking about anything they are not comfortable discussing.
- If you have good reason to suspect abuse, file a complaint with the Kentucky Department of Health and Family Services. Bring as much specific detail as you can when making your report.
- Get in touch with a nursing home abuse attorney and schedule a free case evaluation to discuss the situation. Explain in detail what you observed and why you suspect abuse. Bring all the information you gathered with you when you meet with your lawyer, including evidence of the complaint you filed with Adult Protective Services.
- It’s best to speak with your attorney before you try to approach a nursing home directly. Your attempt to protect your loved one could put the nursing home on alert and give them time to hide or destroy evidence of wrongdoing.
Schedule a Consultation With a Qualified Lexington Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Learning that someone close to you was mistreated by the very facility hired to care for them can be devastating. It’s normal to feel at a loss, unsure what you can do to restore your elderly loved one’s health, dignity, and emotional well-being.
The best way you can start is by calling a Lexington, KY nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer. Be honest with your attorney. If you are not sure you have grounds for a lawsuit, it’s ok to tell your lawyer so. It’s not your job to figure out every detail of the legal process. If you have partnered with a qualified legal representative, they will handle those matters for you.
Your job is simply to take the first step on behalf of your loved one. Many nursing home residents don’t have the means to stand up for themselves. When you take action for them by contacting our law firm, we get to work right away.
We begin by conducting a thorough investigation into the case, taking into consideration all the information you provided us. There is no charge for a free case evaluation with our law office. We will explore every possible avenue for legal recovery and inform you of your rights and options in a way that makes sense to you. We welcome all questions our clients bring to us about how they can be the best advocate for someone they love.
Contact us by phone or via our online contact form to schedule a meeting. You will have the opportunity to sit down with an actual attorney to discuss your case. An initial meeting with a lawyer on our team does not place you under any obligation to continue working with us.
If you decide Peterson Law Office is the most qualified injury firm to represent you, we will support and fight for you until your case reaches a resolution.