The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Governor Steve Beshear has vowed to improve the overall quality of long-term care in Kentucky, and especially for nursing homes. This is an encouraging development for our seniors.
The governor has said he will call for open forums around the state to discuss ways to improve care. One of the possibilities he mentioned included increasing overall staffing for nursing homes. The governor said:
“I take this challenge very seriously and will be working with my staff and the state’s Elder Abuse Committee over the coming months to explore ways in which we can improve the quality of care.”
Florida Study Ranks Kentucky Below Average
The governor’s statements came as a response to a letter from an advocacy group called Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform. The group’s founder, Bernie Vonderheide, informed the governor about the results from a Florida study. The Florida-based Families for Better Care ranked nursing home quality in all 50 states, according to eight federal measures.
On a grading scale of A to F, Kentucky scored a “D” and ended up ranking 40th in nursing home care.
Vonderheide expressed optimism about the governor’s willingness to consider revising standards. He told the Herald-Leader that this was an historic first step, stating, “This is the first time … that a Kentucky governor has embraced nursing home staffing standards.”
Kentucky nursing homes must do a better job of protecting our seniors from neglect and abuse. Unfortunately, they won’t take action unless they are required to do so. I applaud Governor Beshear for taking action.