Kentucky’s 'Safeguarding Our Seniors' Initiative is a Positive Step, Bowling Green Attorney Says

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If enacted and properly funded, the legislative measures recently proposed by Kentucky leaders would help to curb nursing home abuse and neglect, says J. Marshall Hughes of Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers.

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Kentucky nursing home abuse and neglect attorney J. Marshall Hughes

If they are properly funded, these measures would go a long way towards preventing the abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of our state’s elderly population. These are measures that have been needed for many years.

By rolling out a package of reforms that would target nursing home abuse and neglect, Kentucky officials are showing that they recognize the need to do a better job of protecting the health and safety of the state’s senior citizens, Bowling Green personal injury lawyer J. Marshall Hughes said this week.

“This is a very positive step,” Hughes said. “If they are properly funded, these measures would go a long way towards preventing the abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of our state’s elderly population. These are measures that have been needed for many years.”

Governor Steve Beshear and fellow lawmakers announced the proposed legislation, called the “Safeguarding Our Seniors” initiative, in a February 11 press conference.

The legislation includes bills that would prevent those who abuse or neglect elderly adults from benefiting from their deaths, such as through an inheritance, and it would prohibit persons convicted of felony abuse or exploitation of an adult from serving as the victim’s guardian, executor or power of attorney.

“Unfortunately, in many cases, an elderly citizen is abused by a family member who should care for them the most,” Hughes said. “These people should never profit from their reprehensible conduct.”

The legislative package also features bills that would require criminal background checks of staff and employees at personal care agencies, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including custodians and food service workers.

It would also establish a new adult abuse directory. The governor has said he will reserve funding for this registry in his upcoming 2012 budget proposal.

“As an attorney who has represented numerous elderly abuse and neglect victims and their families, I’ve seen how serious and widespread the problems are in our state’s nursing homes,” Hughes said. “These bills would address many of those problems.”

According to Hughes, the state’s lawmakers have paid greater attention to the treatment of Kentucky’s elderly citizens since a series of stories on elder abuse and neglect were published last summer by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The stories revealed that most of the state’s elder abuse and neglect cases, including cases that involved deaths, hospitalizations, broken bones and amputations, did not result in criminal prosecutions.

In response to the stories, the governor’s office ordered the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to review how nursing home abuse and neglect cases are reported and prosecuted.

A report issued in September outlined several recommendations for improving the investigative process and for promoting nursing home safety, quality and transparency.

“These latest legislative proposals continue the progress we’ve seen in recent months,” Hughes said. “It is long overdue.”

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. Lawyers 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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