Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

People are living longer today than they ever have before. As the number of elderly people who become nursing home residents continues to rise, it’s important to make sure these seniors receive safe and appropriate care services.

There are about 15,700 licensed nursing homes in the U.S. offering about 1.7 million beds for residents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 1.4 million Americans reside in nursing homes.

As of 2012, there were 283 nursing homes in Kentucky offering 26,000 beds, according to the CDC.

Federal law and the laws of most states require nursing home facilities to provide an environment that maintains the highest possible physical, mental, and psycho-social well-being of each resident. Reports of residents suffering from accidental injury, malnutrition, dehydration, and pressure ulcers (bed sores) are far too common, as are instances of medication errors by nursing home employees.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to poor care at a senior living facility, contact the Becker Law Office today for a FREE confidential evaluation of your legal options. The Becker Law Office employs an experienced staff of proven nursing home abuse lawyers in Lexington and Louisville to help victims of neglect or abuse in nursing homes.

Common Indicators of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Abuse of a nursing home resident is the intentional infliction of physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or financial harm. Neglect, which is a form of abuse, involves withholding food, shelter, health care, or protection that a vulnerable person depends on the nursing home staff to provide.

The Kentucky Elder Abuse Committee received 740 complaints of alleged abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of residents’ property in Kentucky nursing homes in fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013).

Of these, 263 cases were substantiated with the majority of those in skilled nursing facilities.

Complaints of Abuse, Neglect, or Misappropriation in Kentucky Long Term Care Facilities

FY 2011

FY 2012FY 20135 Year Total

5 Year Avg.




Substantiated Complaints



Source: Kentucky Elder Abuse Committee Annual Report

Nursing home residents with dementia are at greater risk of abuse, according to the Administration on Aging’s National Center on Elder Abuse. More than five million Americans over age 65 have some form of dementia.

A 2010 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 47 percent of patients with dementia had been mistreated by caregivers.

Nursing home neglect or abuse may lead to:

  • A person becomes dehydrated when they do not take in enough water and other fluids. Dehydration may occur because of a deficient diet (often including malnutrition), fever, diarrhea, or certain medications that have a diuretic effect. Dehydration is easily corrected but can quickly lead to more dangerous medical problems in the elderly and infirm.
  • Malnutrition. A person becomes malnourished when they do not absorb sufficient nutrients from food, either because of a lack of food or lack of the ability to eat or draw nutrition from food consumed. Malnutrition makes a person weak and more vulnerable to illness and to accidents, such as falls and injury. In some cases, elderly or infirm people cannot eat or swallow, or lose the desire to eat. In such cases, nutritional alternatives should be prescribed.
  • Bedsores. Pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers (bedsores) are wounds that occur because of continual pressure on the skin from lying or sitting in the same position for extended periods of time. At the initial stage, a bedsore is a reddened sore spot. As it advances without treatment, skin and surrounding tissue die, and it becomes an open sore that digs deeper into skin, muscle and, in the worst cases, bone. Bed sores are extremely painful and can lead to infection. Nursing homes should have protocols for regularly turning or otherwise assisting bed-ridden or immobile patients.
  • Falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries. Those who survive falls frequently suffer injuries, such as hip fractures, that result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life. Nursing home residents may fall because of illness or frailty of age, but many fall because of such negligent hazards as wet floors, poor lighting, incorrect bed height, or improperly fitted or maintained wheelchairs. Certain medications can increase the risk of falls and fall-related injuries.
  • Infections. Open wounds, such as bedsores, that are not properly treated can become infected. In many cases, infections are a result of medical care, such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs). Untreated infections can progress rapidly and lead to blood disease (sepsis), shock, pulmonary arrest, and death.
  • Medication errors. The administration of incorrect medicines, incorrect dosages, or medication at incorrect intervals can cause to a variety of serious medical problems. Medication error through carelessness is neglect; purposely withholding medication from a nursing home resident is abuse.

Elders who experience even modest abuse had a 300 percent higher risk of death compared to elders who haven’t suffered abuse, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nursing Home Abuse Laws and Residents’ Rights

Various federal and state laws provide legal rights to nursing home residents. In addition, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (The Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”) provides that Medicaid will not pay for certain health care-acquired conditions (HCACs) and other provider-preventable conditions (OPPCs). In addition to identifying HCACs and OPPCs that are unacceptable, this action is important because most nursing homes rely on Medicare payments for the care they provide residents.

Another concern is that many of the consequences of neglect and abuse of nursing home patients cited above are known as “never events.” This term was introduced in reference to particularly shocking medical errors (such as wrong-site surgery) that should never occur. It has since been expanded and refined, and now refers to 29 events grouped into six categories: surgical, product or device, patient protection, care management, environmental, radiologic, and criminal.

Never events include allowing nursing home residents to suffer death or injury because of falls, medication errors, stage III or IV bedsores, or physical assault or sexual abuse/assault within or on the grounds of a health care setting.

Nursing home owners and managers in Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee know the legal requirements they face for the care and protection of residents in their facilities. When they do not meet these obligations and a resident is injured or dies, they can be held liable by the resident and/or the resident’s family and compelled to make financial restitution.

Every year, thousands of nursing home residents do not receive the care they need to live well. Sixty eight percent of nursing homes are for profit, meaning they are focused on ways to reduce costs. Many nursing homes are understaffed, which can result in injuries and even death for patients who are left unattended. Understaffing a nursing home or neglecting to properly screen, train, and equip staff members to ensure they can and will provide proper care is inexcusable.

Contact Our Dedicated Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at the Becker Law Office are committed to helping people in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee receive the nursing home care that the law requires.

If you or a loved one has been neglected while under the care of a senior living facility, call the Becker Law Office to speak to a nursing home abuse attorney about your case. We can help you find the justice you deserve.

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