Bowling Green Lawyer Says Annual Report Confirms Legislature's Neglect of State's Elder Abuse Issues

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J. Marshall Hughes, a Bowling Green attorney who focuses on nursing home abuse and neglect cases, says that lapsed House, Senate safety measures would have benefitted Kentucky’s elderly population.

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Kentucky nursing home abuse and neglect attorney J. Marshall Hughes

Everyone would benefit from a serious approach to the safety of seniors and the facilities that serve seniors.

A new report finding abuse and neglect in Kentucky nursing homes reaffirms the need for action by the state legislature, says Bowling Green attorney J. Marshall Hughes.

“The annual Elder Abuse in Kentucky report tells us that our senior citizens continue to be neglected or abused at an alarming rate,” said Hughes, co-founder of Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, which focuses on helping Kentucky nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their families. “How can we as a society refuse to help some of our most vulnerable citizens?”

The Elder Abuse in Kentucky report for 2010 found indications of abuse and neglect in 18 percent of investigations involving residents of Kentucky's long-term care facilities.

After 2,048 investigations of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and similar facilities last year, social workers said abuse and neglect, though often not provable, may have occurred in 368 of the allegations filed.

In its 2011 session, the Kentucky legislature failed to adopt three measures to make assisted living facilities safer:

  •     One House bill that did not pass would have created an adult abuse, neglect and exploitation registry, which was strongly supported by Governor Steve Beshear.
  •     Another House bill would have required hospices, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to report all deaths to the county coroner within 24 hours, and to involve police and prosecutors if mistreatment was suspected.
  •     A Senate bill that did not pass would have required nursing homes to conduct criminal background checks of all employees, including custodians and kitchen workers. The bill would also have prohibited nursing homes from employing workers with certain criminal convictions.

“Each of these measures would have made nursing homes and similar facilities safer for their elderly residents while also making these businesses safer from criminal acts as well as the subsequent costs of investigations, legal penalties and, for that matter, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits,” Hughes said. “Everyone would benefit from a serious approach to the safety of seniors and the facilities that serve seniors.”

Hughes said that without elected officials’ help, it will fall on the families of the elderly to look out for their loved ones.

“We urge family members to speak up and ask questions when they don’t understand or don’t like what they see happening at a nursing home,” Hughes said. “They must be their loved ones’ best first advocate.

“If an elderly loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect, families need and deserve an experienced legal advocate on their side," he said. "At Hughes & Coleman, we will stand beside our clients to make sure their rights and their family’s rights are protected.”

About Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers

Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, with Kentucky offices in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown and Louisville, is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of nursing home abuse and neglect victims, as well as the families who care deeply about their elderly loved ones.

Partners J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman are accomplished injury attorneys and advocates for people who have suffered from nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as auto accidents, brain injury, drug injury, defective products, environmental dangers, fire and burn injury, insurance disputes, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, Social Security disability, stock fraud, truck accident injury, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.

For more information, contact Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers at (800) 489-6000 or use the firm's online contact form.

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