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Experienced Injury Lawyers

Nursing Home Employees Use Social Media to Capture and Share the Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

Published on Jan 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

In a disturbing and growing trend, nursing home employees are posting disrespectful and embarrassing pictures of residents on social media. ProPublica has identified 35 instances since 2012 in which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers have shared photos or videos of residents, some of whom were partially or completely naked.  The most popular outlet being used for sharing of these images is Snapchat, an app that allows users to send photos or videos that will appear for a few seconds then disappear with no lasting record.  Some of these incidents have resulted in criminal charges, but most have not.  Photos taken without resident’s permission may violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the federal patient privacy law that carries civil and criminal penalties.

Overworked nursing home staff is often a sign of potential neglect and abuse

Published on Dec 16, 2015 at 5:22 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Nursing home facilities are often understaffed, undertrained, and overwhelmed and Kentucky Nursing Homes are no different.  Employees are overworked and unhappy, two qualities that effect judgment and ultimately lead to poor resident care.  The term “nursing home facility” is misleading, as many facilities do not have a registered nurse present all hours of the day.  The majority of the care received is at the hands of aides.  Aides who are paid poorly and are often not given the proper training to care for the wide range of health concerns of their residents.

What You Need to Know About the Take Justice Back Organization

Published on Dec 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

One of the most dangerous threats to civil rights and liberties is the risk of large corporations and the deeds some do for the sake of profit.  Due to the sheer size of most corporations and the substantial financial power most harness, it’s often possible for corporations to create and write contracts that remove justice from the American population and place it solely in the hands of the corporation. Once they create immunity for themselves they are no longer liable for harms caused to victims of personal injury, products liability and nursing home neglect and abuse.  This gives these corporations the leeway to do what corporations often do best—rake in even more money.

However, there is one campaign that’s dedicated to putting the tools of justice back in the hands of the general American population. This campaign is called Take Justice Back. Formed in 2012, the Take Justice Back organization is a grassroots campaign that was founded on ideals of accountability, awareness, and fairness. Working together with attorneys and law firms around the nation, the organization aims to raise awareness of the unaccountability that often runs rampant in large corporations, promote safety, and ensure every American always has access to the legal system. When the population is aware that corporations often lack personal responsibility, it becomes easier to fight against these corporations and place justice back into the hands of the people. While the campaign is national in nature, Kentucky victims of personal injury and nursing home abuse and neglect are helped by the group’s efforts.

Since the Take Justice Back campaign was launched, the organization has raised awareness and made progress in many areas. Some of the areas addressed by Take Justice Back include food safety, auto safety, women’s health, medical safety, drug safety, product safety, asbestos safety, and nursing home safety. These areas are all commonly controlled by large corporations and shouldn’t be. Safety is a human concern, and should not be controlled by a corporation.

Mishandled Allegations at a Kentucky Nursing Home Facility Allow for Three Cases of Abuse in One Month

Published on Nov 16, 2015 at 9:08 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Earlier this year, three residents at a nursing home facility in Louisville, KY were abused by staff members.  The Parkway Rehabilitation and Nursing Center located at 1155 Eastern Parkway failed to provide protection for its residents and properly discipline the employees who committed the acts of abuse.  Following the first incident, the facility provided an Allegation of Compliance stating that it had properly removed the employee, provided training to all remaining employees, and notified State Agencies of the incident.  This report was found false when two more incidents of abuse were reported later that same month.

The first incident of abuse occurred when a Certified Nursing Assistant was harsh in speaking to a resident who was requesting to be repositioned.  The CNA responded to the resident angrily, stating that she had just repositioned her fifteen minutes ago, she would not do it again, and left the room.  The resident laid in bed in pain, too afraid to call for help, fearing the CNA would return angry again.

The second incident occurred eighteen days later and involved a different CNA and resident.  The allegation stated that the CNA was mean and rude and threw the bed covers over the resident’s head.  Though the CNA was removed from caring for the resident, she was still allowed to remain on the unit to care for other patients until a supervising staff member arrived and suspended her.

The third incident of abuse involved an Outreach Technician Restorative Aide who kissed a resident on the lips.  Although the act was observed and confirmed by other employees, the ORT Restorative Aide was allowed to continue working his full shift and cared for more than forty more residents before leaving for the day.  The facility did not report the sexual abuse to the State Survey Agency until two days later.

The Parkway Rehabilitation and Nursing Center’s failure to protect residents after a reported allegation of abuse caused serious harm and potential injury.  Had the facility followed appropriate steps to resolve the first incident, the two succeeding incidents could have been prevented.   This nursing home has been cited for neglect, however it does not change the reality that incidents like these occur frequently in homes like it across the state.  Residents deserve to feel comfortable in the care they receive and their families should be able to trust that their loved ones are properly cared for.  If someone you love is living in a nursing home and you suspect they are being or have been abused, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information on what can be done to protect them.

Kentucky Nursing Homes Seek Reduction in Regulation and Monitoring of Safety and Quality Care for Residents

Published on Nov 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

Kentucky nursing home representatives are seeking to protect their profits at the expense of residents by seeking a reduction in regulations established for patient safety and quality care.  Betsy Johnson, the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, the heavily financed group lobbying for the industry, is campaigning against what she calls “overly strict enforcement of rules meant to ensure safety of residents.”  She calls Kentucky a “broken regulatory environment that only exacerbates the toxic litigation environment in Kentucky.” The nursing home industry has lobbied for years for a state law to limit lawsuits.

Fortunately, patients have advocates too.  While not nearly as well financed as the industry lobbyists, consumer advocates do what they can to protect nursing home residents from becoming victims. Brian Lee, the executive director of Families for Better Care, believes that lawmakers should consider the details of violations before accepting the industry’s claim that it is over-regulated.

An immediate jeopardy violation is one that causes harm, serious injury, or death, or is likely to do so.  Punishment for these violations come in the form of large fines against the facility, totaling as much as $10,000 a day.  Statistics show that Kentucky inspectors are more likely to cite immediate jeopardy violations than inspectors in other states.  The inspector general’s office monitors nursing homes on behalf of the federal government, which provides most of the funding for nursing home care.  In fiscal year 2015, Kentucky nursing homes received nearly $1 billion in Medicaid funds.  The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services uses a five-star quality rating system to evaluate how well facilities are meeting their residents’ clinical and physical needs.  Facilities are given a rating of one to five stars, with five being the highest.  Among the eight states in the CMS Atlanta region, Kentucky has the largest percentage of facilities that rank below average.  Only twelve percent of Kentucky facilities have five-star ratings.

Kentucky nursing homes have been fined nearly $16 million in the past three years because of their tragically poor care.  Some of the incidents reported include a scabies outbreak in a Nicholasville facility, a fistfight between a resident and an aide, and a fatal incident involving a resident falling out a wheelchair.  Maryellen Mynear, the inspector general for the Cabinet of Health and Family Services, stated in a letter to the committee lobbying for regulation reduction, “the fact that an industry believes it is over-regulated does not make it so.”  The debate continues as there are several Kentucky politicians that support a regulation reduction, arguing that it could result in a cost reduction that could be passed on to residents and their families if a facility was able to spend less money on meeting safety criteria.  Supporters for higher regulation respond with the argument that if facilities would properly care for their residents, there would be no reason to argue the issue or pay resulting violation fines.

Some of Kentucky’s most vulnerable people live in nursing home facilities where they have been threatened, ridiculed, slapped, injured, or sexually abused.  It is imperative that rules for safety and care are followed to the highest level.  When it comes to the quality of life for our loved ones living in these facilities, there is no excuse for poor service and performance.  If you wish to learn more about the regulation and violations of Kentucky nursing home facilities, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information or visit our nursing home neglect and abuse pages here.