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How To Report Suspected Nursing Home Neglect in Kentucky

Published on May 28, 2024 by Thomas Law Offices.

When we decide to move our loved ones into a nursing home or long-term care facility, we expect the staff there to take care of our family members as if they were family, too. But unfortunately, all too often, our loved ones are taken advantage of or neglected while under the care of nursing home staff and caregivers.

So, what can you do if you think your loved one is being mistreated? Do you suspect something is wrong, but you’re not entirely sure what it is?

In this blog, we’ll give you some resources and insight into how to report suspected nursing home neglect in Kentucky.

Mandatory Reporting in the Bluegrass State

In Kentucky, we have mandatory reporting laws for abuse of adults over the age of 18 who are mentally or physically unable to manage their own care. According to revised state statute 209.030, if there is any reasonable cause to suspect that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation, it should be reported by any person, including but not limited to the following:

  • Physician
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Facility employee
  • Caretaker (defined as an individual or institution entrusted with the care of an adult)
  • Cabinet personnel
  • Coroner
  • Medical examiner

Reporting suspected cases of adult abuse or neglect isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the law.

Steps To Take to Report Nursing Home Neglect

If you believe your loved one or another adult is being mistreated in their nursing home or long-term care facility, it should be immediately reported. However, it can be confusing to know who to report the neglect to or even where to start. Here are some steps you can take to protect your loved ones:

Seek Legal Counsel

Nursing home abuse cases can be incredibly complex, especially in cases of suspected abuse where you might not have concrete evidence that abuse is occurring. Having an injury attorney to assist you will make the entire process easier for you and your loved one. Your lawyer may decide to reach out to the staff or management at your loved one’s nursing home to make them aware of the suspected abuse occurring.

Often, unfortunately, staff members or management may not know that such incidents are taking place, and they will begin their own investigation into your concerns, generally starting with placing the alleged abuser on leave.

Contact the Authorities

Your lawyer may recommend that you don’t contact the nursing home management as they may be part of the problem or may attempt to destroy any evidence of wrongdoing before you can build a case. If that is what your lawyer recommends in your case, you should contact any of the following agencies to further an investigation:

  • Office of the Attorney General Abuse Tip Line 1-877-228-7384
  • Adult Protective Services (APS) 1-800-752-6200
  • Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass 1-859-277-9215, or by email at nhoa@ombuddy.org
  • Division of Health Care Complaint Coordinator

If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or local law enforcement and remove your loved one from the nursing home as soon and as safely as you can.

What Happens After Reporting Neglectful Treatment?

Once a complaint has been made, an investigation will begin. Your lawyer, local law enforcement, and the previously mentioned agencies will gather evidence such as nursing home staff and doctor’s notes, medical records, observations about sudden changes in your loved one’s behavior, etc.

It is in your best interest and the best interest of your loved one that you do not attempt to collect evidence until after you have filed your initial report of suspected neglect or abuse. You may end up putting your loved one in more danger if you try to find proof of abuse before your complaint has been filed.

Data from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) states that approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ has experienced some form of elder abuse, and it’s estimated that only 1 in every 24 cases are reported to authorities. This is usually due to the fact that the elderly adults being mistreated are either unable to report it or they are too fearful or embarrassed to make a report.

It’s our job to protect and stand up for our most vulnerable population because they often cannot do it themselves. And it’s better to look into suspicious actions and find nothing wrong than to ignore them when there is a real problem occurring.

If you believe your loved one is suffering at the hands of their caregivers or someone else in their nursing home, our legal team at Thomas Law Offices is here to help. We have experience with nursing home abuse and neglect cases all over Kentucky, and we pride ourselves on taking every claim seriously to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Our consultations are always free.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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