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Report Shows Kentucky Nursing Home Residents Are Often Mistreated

Published on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

In many families, there comes a time when an older loved one can no longer be cared for in the home. Whether suffering from a mental or physical impairment, they require round-the-clock care which family members are unable to provide. Unfortunately, if your loved one is a resident of one of Kentucky’s nursing homes, they may not be receiving the kind of care you had hoped.

A recently published report by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has uncovered alarming statistics about the care elderly receive in these facilities. According to the report, 28% of all long term care facility investigations resulted in a finding by authorities that abuse or neglect had occurred. An article written in the Lexington Herald Leader addressed the findings of the report. Valarie Honeycutt Spears, the reporter writing the article, also wrote a series of articles in 2010 that addressed failures in the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases. This series of articles resulted in Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear ordering the Cabinet to review the policies and procedures for enforcement in an effort to protect seniors.

If your loved one is a resident in a long-term care facility, you should be aware of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, as provided by the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Human Services:

Neglect

  • Obvious malnutrition, dehydration
  • Dirty, uncombed hair and offensive body odor
  • Torn and dirty clothes that are not appropriate for the weather
  • Unshaven
  • Hoarding
  • Lack of glasses, dentures, or hearing aid
  • Lack of medical care
  • Apparent weight loss
  • Bedsores
  • Recent suffering or loss of spouse, family members, or close friends
  • Exterior or interior of the home in poor repair
  • Filthy living environment, strong odors
  • Little or no food in the refrigerator, or decayed and moldy food
  • Many pets or animals who appear neglected
  • Garbage or litter; excessive alcohol containers
  • Unkempt lawn or walks
  • Mail or newspapers not taken in

Physical Abuse

  • Frequent injuries such as bruises, burns, broken bones, especially when the explanation of the injury seems unrealistic
  • Multiple bruises in various stages of healing, particularly bruises on inner arms or thighs
  • Chronic or acute physical illness
  • Pain on being touched
  • Obvious malnutrition, dehydration
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Many medicine bottles in sight; seems sleepy, sedated
  • Appears frightened or withdrawn
  • Never leaves the house; never allowed visitors
  • Never mentions family or friends
  • Confined to a chair or bed
  • Locked in a room or tied up
  • Clothes that are not appropriate for the weather

Sexual Abuse

  • Evidence of sexually transmitted disease
  • Irritation or injuries to the mouth, genitals or anus
  • Upset when changed or bathed
  • Fearful of a particular person
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

  • Isolated from family and friends
  • Sudden dramatic change in behavior: appears withdrawn, depressed, hesitant to talk openly
  • Caregiver won’t let victim speak for herself
  • Caregiver scolds, insults, threatens victim
  • Trembling, clinging
  • Fearful, hopeless, anxious
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Confused, disoriented
  • Angry, agitated

Financial Abuse

  • Unusual activity in bank account; sudden large withdrawals, expenditures that are not consistent with past financial history
  • Use of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) when the person has no history of using ATMs or cannot walk or get to an ATM
  • A recent Will, when the person seems incapable of writing a will
  • Rights signed away on legal papers without understanding what the papers mean
  • Unpaid bills, such as house payment, rent, taxes, utilities
  • Lack of food, clothing, or personal supplies
  • Title to home signed over in exchange for a promise of “lifelong care”
  • Missing personal belongings such as art, silverware, jewelry, TV

If you believe that someone you know is being abused or neglected in a Kentucky Nursing Home, you are REQUIRED BY LAW to report it. Call the Elder Abuse Hotline at 800-752-6200. They will take your report 24 hours a day.

For a copy of the report issued by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services visit: http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/30F271C0-E128-4FCB-8AF4-E9BB70994CB4/0/ElderAbuseReport2011.pdf

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