For the second time in a four-month period, a resident at Cambridge Place Health Care has alleged abuse at the hands of a facility employee. A 49 year-old former employee of Cambridge has been indicted for “knowingly abusing or neglecting an adult.” Attorney Gayle Slaughter, however, has denied all charges on the employee’s behalf.
Slaughter appeared before Judge Ernesto Scorsone in Fayette Circuit Court last Friday to request a January hearing date, and advised that the case will “likely end up in a jury trial.” While the indictment is devoid of specifics, a police report indicates that in April 2013, a witness observed the employee at a resident’s bedside, his belt unbuckled and his pelvic area resting against the resident, whose knees were in an upright position. An administrator immediately telephoned 911, and the resident confirmed that she had been raped.
This incident follows another Cambridge resident’s allegation of similar nursing home abuse by an employee in January 2013, which went unreported to state officials by Cambridge, resulting in a state citation and several federal deficiencies. According to federal documents, the staff at that time believed the resident to be suffering from “delusions,” and the resident in fact later denied the allegations previously lodged against the employee. The accused employee was allowed to continue working there.
Following the April incident, federal authorities levied an “immediate jeopardy” deficiency against Cambridge, concluding that the facility failed to ensure that residents were free from abuse. Cambridge submitted corrective plans, but disputed the accuracy of statements made in federal documents emphasizing that its “plan of correction” did not constitute an admission of the alleged deficiencies.
State officials also issued a Type A citation, finding that the facility failed to have an effective system in place to protect its residents from abuse, thereby placing them in “imminent danger.” In responsive documents, Cambridge is said to have taken several corrective steps, including the firing of a nurse’s aide and providing its employees training on the policies of the facility. According to Cabinet spokeswoman Beth Fisher, Cambridge Place is currently “in compliance” with health care regulations.
Of 107 state citations issued to long-term care facilities in Kentucky over a three-year period, the Lexington Herald-Leader found in 2010 that only eight of those cases involved inappropriate sexual behavior or contact. A more recent letter from Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, an advocacy group, prompted the vow of Governor Steve Beshear to improve the overall quality of long-term care in Kentucky.
“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,” Governor Beshear said.