When we trust our loved ones in the hands of nursing home employees and caregivers, the last thing we want to think about is the risk of neglect and abuse. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect cases inside our country’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities are more widespread than you might think. If you suspect your loved one has fallen victim to mistreatment in their elder care facility, it’s time to get in touch with a Louisville nursing home abuse lawyer.
At Thomas Law Offices, our attorneys are dedicated to protecting your loved ones and holding negligent facility and staff accountable for their actions. We understand the challenges presented by nursing home claims, and we’re prepared to guide you through the process and give your loved one the best chance at recovery.
Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities in Louisville
If you’re in the process of finding a new nursing home, long-term care facility, or rehabilitation facility for your loved one, Medicare offers a Nursing Home Compare Tool. With this tool, you can find the facilities closest to you, get information on their ratings, and see if there are any histories of past abuse.
Ratings, which range from one to five stars, are based on health inspections, staffing, and quality of resident care measures. While you will likely want to avoid facilities with lower ratings, especially if your loved one needs significant care, there’s always the chance that your loved one could get injured at a facility with an average or above-average rating.
The top five facilities located within Louisville city limits include:
- Kindred Hospital – Louisville
- Nazareth Home
- Signature Healthcare at U of L March & Elizabeth Hospital
- Westport Place Health Campus
- Park Terrace Health Campus
The lowest rated facilities in and around Louisville include:
- Landmark of River City Rehabilitation and Nursing Home
- Sycamore Heights Health and Rehabilitation
- Clifton Oaks Care and Rehab Center, LLC
- Highlands Nursing and Rehabilitation
- Landmark of Iroquois Park Rehab and Nursing Center
No matter what facility your family member resided in when they were injured, it’s important to understand that a Louisville nursing home lawyer can help. When you get in touch with an attorney, they will review what your loved one has been through—starting with determining the type or types of abuse they’ve been subjected to.
Types of Elder Abuse
If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated in their long-term care facility, it’s important to determine the type of abuse they’re experiencing. The abuse could be physical, emotional, financial, or sexual. There’s also the possibility your loved one could be a victim of neglect.
In order to understand the difference between abuse and neglect, as well as the warning signs, let’s take a look at the different types of negligent elder care.
Physical abuse is generally the easiest type of abuse to identify and prove in court. You’ll be able to see telltale signs of abuse in the form of bruises, scars, restraint marks, broken bones, cuts, scrapes, and ruined clothing. Physical abuse in nursing homes usually involves staff members who hit residents, forcefully mishandle them, or improperly use restraints.
Emotional abuse is more difficult to prove and see signs of, but it’s one of the most devastating ways in which the elderly are often abused. This type of abuse can result from staff members who ridicule and humiliate your loved one, intimidate and scare them, or even excessively ignore them or isolate them from other residents. Any type of demeaning behavior technically qualifies as abuse, especially if it can be proved that your loved one has experienced emotional trauma as a result.
Signs of emotional abuse can vary significantly and largely depend on the victim’s demeanor. Any major, sudden changes in mood, noticeable signs of fear, or emotional outbursts when particular staff members are near your loved one may be signs that some form of emotional abuse is going on.
Financial abuse is generally more common in non-institutional caregiving situations, but it isn’t unheard of at nursing homes. In a nursing home, it can take the form of a staff member pressuring a loved one to divulge personal information, including bank account information and stealing money or personal property from the individual. Any time an elderly victim is coerced to make changes to a deed, will, or trust, this also counts as financial abuse. There are many telltale signs of financial abuse.
Sexual abuse occurs when non-consensual sexual acts take place inside a nursing home. Most victims are taken advantage of or forced. Emotional abuse and physical abuse are often linked to sexual abuse. Signs of sexual abuse include torn or ripped undergarments or bruising in the groin area.
Nursing home employees are commonly overworked and aren’t always able to give each resident the full amount of time they deserve. Despite this fact, nursing homes and caregiving facilities are responsible for providing adequate medical care, physical/emotional assistance, and nutrition to each and every resident. When these basic responsibilities aren’t met, this is called nursing home neglect or negligence.
Neglect can cause serious health issues to a loved one and often results in physical and emotional abuse. Signs of neglect include many of the same signs as abuse, but malnutrition, dirty conditions, and signs that proper medical care isn’t provided may be more obvious.
It is not unusual for nursing home residents to wander. Patients with dementia and other mental deficits often lose track of where they are and find themselves in and out of other patient rooms and in areas of the nursing home where hazards can cause substantial harm. Worse, patients can leave the facility if not properly monitored and end up outside the nursing home out in the elements. All nursing homes must protect patients who wander and ensure they do not leave the facility.
While rare, it is possible that nursing home employees or caregivers to abandon a nursing home resident. Abandonment can happen for various reasons and can either intentional or unintentional (the latter still being a form of negligence), but usually when it’s done intentionally, it’s an attempt to “get rid” of a resident in order to free up bed space for other residents, save the nursing home money, or simply stop having to deal with a resident they do not wish to take care of.
Violation of Nursing Home Resident’s Rights
One other common form of nursing home neglect happens when a resident’s rights are violated. In Kentucky, every resident who stays at a long-term care facility is legally protected under the 1987 Federal Nursing Home Reform Law as well as state laws (KRS 216.520). Under these laws, all Kentucky nursing home residents are entitled to the following rights:
- To be treated with dignity and respect
- To participate in his or her own care
- To privacy, confidentiality, and personal possessions
- To receive or refuse visitors
- To be fully informed of rights, as well as rules and regulations of the facility
- To present grievances and file complaints without fear of reprisal
Employees at long-term care facilities do not often go out of their way to remind residents and family members about these rights. If these rights are violated in any way, the resident’s family is fully entitled to pursue legal action for damages.
Protecting a Loved One From Nursing Home Abuse
If your loved one has suffered from any of the above forms of abuse or neglect or you have reasons to believe they are suffering, take action quickly. Speak to your loved one and find out the facts. Gather as much information and evidence as possible immediately after the incident occurs. Retain any documentation or medical records of reported incidents.
If signs of abuse are evident and ongoing, your first step should be to protect your loved one and remove them from the nursing home or facility. Depending on the severity of their injuries, they may need to be taken to a hospital. If not, and you have the ability to, it may be best to house them yourself for a while until you can find the proper facility. If the care they need is beyond what you can provide, some services can help you relocate your loved one to a new facility quickly.
Once your loved one is safe, contact the Adult Protection Branch of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. If your loved one was not in immediate danger, you can call the toll-free hotline at (800) 752-6200. When you report the incident, provide as much information as possible, as this will help expedite the process and get an investigation started.
After the above steps are taken, it’s best to contact a nursing home abuse attorney. They can help you ensure that the abusive or negligent nursing home and staff members never harm anyone again.
Contact Thomas Law Offices
Depending on the situation, your elder abuse lawyer will advise you on whether filing a claim is the best way to proceed. If it is, your attorney will handle the paperwork and filing and work to negotiate a fair settlement on your family’s behalf. If negotiations do not result in a settlement, filing a lawsuit may be the next step. Doing so could help guarantee that your family makes it through this troubling time and finds a new, safe long-term facility for your loved one.
To improve your chances of a successful claim and ensure your loved one has access to the resources needed to recover as fully as possible, schedule a free case consultation with a Louisville nursing home abuse lawyer. Thomas Law Offices is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.