Gov. Beshear vows to improve Kentucky nursing home conditions

If you have ever had to make the difficult decision of putting a beloved parent or other relative in a nursing home to assure they are being given the level of care and supervision they require, you probably worry a lot about their well-being. You hope that they are being kept safe and comfortable, fed nutritious meals, given proper medical care, and offered opportunities for recreation, fresh air and social enrichment. Most importantly, you hope that their caregivers will treat them with the same respect and nurturance that you would give them yourself.

Families for Better Care, a Florida-based citizen advocacy group, recently evaluated the level of care in various U.S. states. They were graded on a scale from A to F, with F being the worst. Kentucky ranked 40th in its level of nursing home care, based on eight federal measures of evaluating nursing homes. It also received a "D," which spells out the dismal level of care many elderly Kentuckians are receiving in nursing homes. Gov. Steve Beshear took this data very seriously, and notes that a long-term care liability actuarial report from 2012 correlates with this high-risk trend.

Beshear has vowed to take steps to improve the situation. For one, he proposes creating open forums for the public as we well as nursing home residents to share ideas about care improvement. He also plans to research the potential impact of increasing nursing home staffing. While the details of his proposed reforms are still in their formative stages, founder of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform publicly praises Beshear. For example, he mentions that this is the first time a Kentucky governor has agreed to tackle current nursing home staffing standards.

As these reforms begin to take hold, more nursing home neglect and abuse victims and their loved ones will hopefully start seeing the light of justice. Some may become empowered to finally take long-overdue legal action, or to ramp up existing lawsuits. An attorney can help advocate that your loved ones, who have contributed so much to society over the years, are treated with dignity and appropriate care as they become unable to live independently. If they have been treated in abusive or neglectful ways, those who have been affected deserve compensation for their pain, suffering or loss.

Source: Kentucky.com, "Beshear says he will work to improve nursing home care in Kentucky" Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Nov. 19, 2013

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