Outlook Grim for Kentucky’s Elderly
A report from the state adult protection agency estimates that there has been a significant rise in nursing home abuse and neglect incidents in Kentucky’s elder care facilities from 18% in 2010 to 28% in 2011.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services are only able to estimate the actual incidence rates from existing data gathered for the Elder Abuse in Kentucky report because many of these go unreported. As an article on the Sampson Law Firm website points out, many of the elderly are unable or afraid to report neglect or abuse, something that abusers and negligent nursing home staff count on, enabling them to act with impunity. This may be the reason for the escalating numbers in nursing home abuse despite increasing attention on the problem.
Kentucky has one of the fastest aging population in the US, which means that there are more people over 60 in proportion to its total population than most other states. This is a serious problem as Kentucky is also among the worst ranking states when it comes to elder care according to the United Health Foundation and the American Association of Retired Persons.
The elderly are among the most vulnerable population segments, especially if they suffer from physical and/or mental problems that make them dependent on others. While elder abuse is certainly not confined to nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, the abuse or neglect is more likely to go unremarked because they have been pulled out of a regular community.
There have been increased efforts to improve the situation for elderly Kentuckians as a result of the governor’s initiative towards nursing home reform following an article series in the Lexington Herald-Leader entitled “Voiceless & Vulnerable: Nursing Home Abuse” published in 2010. Gov. Steve Beshear put the machinery into motion that would improve the outlook for the elderly in long-term care facilities.
In the meantime, nursing home abuse is ongoing and needs to be addressed. If you suspect nursing home abuse as a friend or relative of a nursing home resident in Kentucky, report it to the proper authorities. At the same time, consult with a skilled nursing home negligence lawyer to help you build a personal injury case against the responsible parties.