Placing a loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility can be a difficult decision. As people get older, they are unable to care for themselves, and leaving them in a private home or apartment without supervision can be dangerous. Relocating them to a place where they can receive the assistance and supervision they need can be the right choice. Unfortunately, nursing home residents can encounter dangerous or inappropriate situations as well in the form of abuse or neglect.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Office is in place to help protect nursing home residents. If the office determines a facility has acted inappropriately, it issues a citation. Citations range in severity, with a Type A citation being the most serious. This citation level is given when a state regulation has been violated and a resident's life or safety has been put in jeopardy. All Type A citations are reported to the Kentucky Attorney General's office, which reviews the citations and determines whether or not the case should be assigned to a prosecutor.
The Kentucky Attorney General's office is currently reviewing a Type A citation that it received regarding Charleston Health Care Center in Danville, Kentucky. The citation is related to two incidents that occurred in the summer of 2011. On July 20th, a resident alleges that he or she was hit on the head, two times on each side, then covered with a pillow. The aide was suspended for two days while the allegation was investigated, but the nursing home and the family of the resident decided the accusation was probably false because of the mental status of the resident. A medical assistant did notice a small bruise on the resident's face that was not there previously, which may lend some credibility to the accusation.
Later that same summer, on August 10th, the same nurse's aide was found curled up in bed next to a patient by a staff member. When the staff member confronted him, he kissed the patient on the cheek and said "no one cared what he did." Two days after this incident, the administration became aware of it and the aide was fired.
During the investigation, six different staff members stated the aide had been rough with the patients and had kissed them on the face and neck between February and August 2011. While this type of behavior had been brought to the attention of the director of nursing by a human resources director, it did not appear that any of the allegations had been investigated by the nursing home and that this failure to investigate and report any issues put the residents of the Kentucky nursing home at risk.
This incident highlights the need to research a nursing home thoroughly before placing a loved one there. There are several online sources that can provide information on nursing homes and any issues that may have occurred. If you or a loved one are already in a home and feel that neglect or abuse has occurred, it is important to contact a Kentucky nursing home attorney at Miller & Falkner to discuss the situation and what action needs to be taken.
State reviews citation of Danville nursing home; Herald-Leader; Valarie Honeycutt Spears; December 12, 2011