Your Loved One Deserves Care and Protection from Abuse
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, make sure you look into the facility’s background. You may get a shock. Many Kentucky nursing homes have numerous violations of state and federal laws and are putting their patients at risk every day.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the state of Kentucky has more than 50 one-star rated nursing homes, which is the lowest ranking any facility can receive. Is your loved one in one of these poorly-performing nursing homes?
Some nursing homes have histories of outright forms of abuse and neglect that are so severe, their patients have died at the hands of negligent workers. The general public doesn’t always know about these cases because they involve protected patient information, but nursing home violations are part of the public record.
McCoy & Sparks is the local law firm that sheds light on nursing home abuse and neglect. Our nursing home abuse lawyers are located in Bardstown, Kentucky and we are helping our state’s citizens hold nursing homes responsible for harming their patients.
Don’t let your loved one suffer in silence. Give them the loving and proper care they deserve. Reach out to McCoy & Sparks law office for a free case evaluation, and we’ll help you do the investigation necessary to place the blame where it belongs and seek compensation for your loved one’s suffering.
Abuse in Bardstown and Nelson County Nursing Homes
The lawyers at McCoy & Sparks help hold local nursing homes responsible for instances of abuse and neglect. Although the average person might not know the track record of a certain nursing home, we can locate this information in moments and share it with you.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or ignored for long periods of time, don’t wait to take action. Be the voice your loved one needs to stand up to the nursing home.
Research by the National Center on Elder Abuse shows that elder abuse affects approximately 10% of those over age 65, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect. One of the top risk factors for abuse/neglect is “living with a large number of household members,” including nursing home settings.
Although the public trusts nursing homes to treat our loved ones well, these facilities have huge pressures to keep costs low, and hide the facts about their health and safety violations. It takes bold action by families and their lawyers to reveal the truth and hold nursing homes responsible when they break the law.
The Facts About McCoy & Sparks:
- McCoy & Sparks is in your town and on your team.
- We’re located right here in Bardstown and represent people across Kentucky.
- We have the experience to handle nursing home neglect and abuse cases, as well as personal injury, wrongful death, and many other types of cases.
- We truly care about our clients and have plenty of satisfied testimonials on Facebook, Google Reviews, and other review sites.
“Keith and Mike and the entire staff are TOP NOTCH!!!! McCoy & Sparks are the premier attorneys in Nelson County and HIGHLY recommend anyone to choose them for representation. Absolutely outstanding in all facets of litigation.”
Why are Nursing Homes Failing Kentucky’s Families?
Unfortunately, many for-profit nursing home facilities put profits ahead of patient care. About 43% of Kentucky’s nursing homes are ranked as substandard by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and an investigation by the Lexington Herald-Leader found that Kentucky is among the states with the worst rankings in the U.S.
Kentucky nursing homes have six times as many “immediate jeopardy” deficiencies that put patients’ lives in danger, compared to other states. These are critical issues that contribute to injury and death for some of our most vulnerable people.
Common issues that put nursing home patients in jeopardy include:
- Cost-cutting and time-saving practices
- Staffing pressure and missed worker shifts
- Broken and missing equipment
- Failure to properly train staff
- Failure to follow Kentucky state law and/or federal law
- Stonewalling families about abuse and neglect
- Glossing over problems instead of addressing them
- Misleading families during inquiries about the facility’s track record
- Repeated violations without accountability
- The patients’ own immobility and/or inability to communicate
- Inability or unwillingness to follow doctors’ orders
What Exactly is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse occurs in many forms and isn’t always intentional. It can arise from long periods of forgetting to check on someone, failure to provide appropriate care, or even well-intentioned actions that are actually harmful to your loved one – like a staff member trying to help but making the situation much worse due to a misunderstanding of the patient’s condition.
When the ultimate result is harm to an innocent person, a nursing home must be held accountable. This is why the state of Kentucky and federal agencies provide oversight of nursing homes.
Generally speaking, any of the following can indicate signs of abuse and are the most common forms of nursing home abuse and neglect:
- Infections and sepsis
- Clogged breathing tubes
- Bedsores and pressure sores
- Medication errors
- Patient wandering indoors or outdoors
- The use of physical restraints
- The use of chemical restraints (medication) to subdue patients
- Patient falls, broken hips, and other broken bones
- Verbal and emotional abuse
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Choking and gagging
- Burns, bruises, and other mysterious marks on the skin
Beyond these signs you may see within the facility itself, there may also be:
- Police reports
- Calls to whistleblower hotlines
- News stories about the facility
- Poor rankings from authorities and watchdog groups
- Firsthand knowledge about legal cases from your lawyer
How Do I Spot Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse can be difficult to identify for the average person. In some cases it hides in plain sight because your loved one is simply unable to communicate their concerns to you due to their physical or mental limitations.
Let’s look at some common signs that there could be a deeper issue going on at the nursing home where your loved one is staying.
Unexplained injuries. If your loved one has bruises, sprains, burns, or other injuries that don’t have clear explanations, pay close attention. Ask for a medical diagnosis regarding these injuries and beware that they could be due to abuse.
Frequent slips and falls. Falls account for 87% of all fractures in people over age 65 and 60% of people in nursing homes have a fall at some point. But constant falls can be a sign of neglect or abuse.
Medication errors. If your loved one receives the wrong medication, their life could be at risk. Check their medication when you visit and inquire immediately if their medication seems mismanaged.
Bedsores and pressure sores. Nursing home patients who have limited mobility must be moved frequently as a part of their proper standard of care. Constant skin ulcers and sores can be a red flag for neglect.
Fear and silence. Does your loved one refuse to communicate with certain staff members? Are they emotionally withdrawn or suddenly depressed? Sometimes a patient communicates abuse or neglect through silence.
STD diagnosis. A new sexually transmitted disease or vaginal/genital infection can be signs of sexual abuse.
Dehydration and weight loss. Malnourishment can be a sign that your loved one isn’t receiving their meals on a regular basis or is refusing to eat due to abuse. Dehydration is also a serious sign that should be addressed immediately before it becomes life-threatening.
Financial/legal changes. Pay attention if your loved one suddenly wants to change their bank account, will, nursing home care plan, or other documents. Someone could be pressuring or threatening them to do so.
Do you suspect abuse or neglect at your loved one’s nursing home? If so, let’s talk.
How are Nursing Homes Regulated?
At a federal level, the U.S. Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 set standards for the physical, mental, and psychosocial care of nursing home patients. This law created legal definitions for such terms as “quality of life” to allow greater clarity in establishing firm nursing home standards.
These federal laws not only codified the proper standard of care for nursing home patients, but also created a way to hold these facilities responsible for neglecting their duty. Federal agencies and watchdog groups hold nursing homes accountable according to the law.
In Kentucky, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector Generation, regulates the state’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The Kentucky Division of Health Care inspects, monitors, licenses and certifies all health care facilities as defined by KRS 216B.015 (13).
Here’s a list of national and state organizations that are involved with researching, promoting, and protecting nursing home safety:
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Medicare Nursing Home Information Website
- U.S. Health and Human Services
- Office of the Inspector General
- National Institutes of Health
- Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
- Kentucky CHFS Health Care Regulations
- Kentucky Secretary of State
- Kentucky Division of Health Care Inspectors
What are the Rights of Kentucky Nursing Home Patients/Residents?
Kentucky state law gives nursing home patients a list of rights that protects them and allows them to pursue remedies when their rights have been violated. These rights include:
- The right to be fully informed of the rules and regulations of the nursing home facility
- The right to know their own rights as a resident of the facility
- The right to privacy and to be treated with dignity and respect
- The right to be suitably dressed at all times
- The right to be free from abuse, including mental, verbal, and sexual abuse, and also corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion
- The right to be free from physical and chemical restraints unless they are medically necessary
- The right to privacy, including visual privacy in bathrooms and showers
- The right to have personal possessions
- The right to refuse visitors
- The right to participate in their own care
- The right to review their treatment plan
- The right to have someone notified if their condition changes, including accident and disease
- The right to review facility inspection reports
- The right to air grievances without repercussions
- The right to meet privately with state inspectors
If you believe a nursing home patient is being deprived of these rights, seek legal assistance. Talk to an experience attorney at McCoy & Sparks to understand your options.
How Will McCoy & Sparks Help Us?
You may be wondering how a lawyer can help get to the bottom of what’s going on in a nursing home. Here’s some news that may come as a relief: Your attorney can do their own investigation into what’s been happening behind closed doors and provide you legal advice on how best to proceed.
McCoy & Sparks can:
- Thoroughly review inspection reports from state and federal regulators
- Demand access, under the law, to patient medical charts and facility records
- Work with reluctant and difficult nursing home administrators
- Investigate proper procedures for billing and Medicaid
- Explain the law to you, even when it is very complex
- Assist with getting photographs and videos of injuries or other concerns
- Handle witness statements
- Present you with your legal options
- File lawsuits depending on your desires
- Negotiate settlements with nursing home representatives
In addition, we will always see the human side of this situation. We understand the extreme trauma that nursing home patients and their families can experience after abuse and neglect. We’ll help you handle the legal aspects of the situation so you can focus on healing.
“Great people, friendly and warm and super competent. They saw me through the difficult process of my wrongful death suit over my late husband with very satisfactory results and – more important – sympathy and support.”
-Mary Helene Pottker Rosenbaum
What Will We Get if We Win Our Case?
Clients often ask, “Is it worth it?” They want to know whether it’s worthwhile to hold the nursing home responsible for the abuse by filing a lawsuit.
Although it’s impossible to predict the exact outcome of your case, there are many types of positive outcomes from a lawsuit. Let’s look at some of the benefits of standing up for your loved one’s rights after neglect or abuse.
Relief from abuse
By standing up to a nursing home that allowed it to happen, you finally put an end to it and keeping your loved one from experiencing the pain of abuse. You’re protecting their health and their future.
Financial compensation ensures your loved one’s medical needs will be addressed after the abuse. An abused person may need physical care, psychological counseling, and much more. By suing for compensation, you help meet their needs for years to come.
A place in Kentucky history
By standing up to a nursing home and holding them responsible, you’re creating a public record of their abuse. That alone could prevent another Kentucky family from suffering the same trauma you’ve suffered.
Peace of mind
You gain the peace of mind that comes with protecting your loved one and shedding light on a nursing home’s bad practices. For many families, this is a huge relief that finally brings peace of mind.
Examples of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Issues
Right here in Kentucky, there have been many cases of nursing home neglect and abuse. Here are just a few examples you may have seen in the news.
After a U.S. Senate report, a nursing home in Louisville received $104,878 in violations/citations from the Kentucky Department of Health Care due to substandard care. Although any potential patient harm was not disclosed, the complaints included at least one formal complaint and one self-reported issue within a period of three years.
A man spent a night in excruciating pain from a neglected urinary catheter and developed a serious infection. By the time the nursing home staff called for medical assistance, the infection required the removal of a speaking valve in his throat, which left him permanently mute.
Wanda Delaplane’s 84-year-old father called out for help for hours before a staff member arrived. He died from an impacted bowel and a jury awarded the family $20 million for the facility’s failure to provide medical attention.
How to Request a Free Consultation
If you believe your loved one may be the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, please contact McCoy & Sparks for a free and confidential consultation. We’re ready to help you get to the bottom of the situation and hold the right parties responsible for any neglect or abuse. Your loved one has rights. Let’s work together to protect them.
“Having spent 38 years as a practicing attorney in Kentucky, I have had the opportunity to see how all of the attorneys at McCoy and Sparks operate behind the scenes. I have never seen anything but maximum effort and dedication from any of them. When my mother and mother in law needed legal work done, this is the firm I sent them to without reservations. I would urge all of my former clients to give McCoy and Sparks a call if they need an attorney.”
-Bob Butler, Kentucky attorney