In the spring of 2012, Extendicare, a company that operated 21 nursing homes in Kentucky, stated its intent to lease all of the homes to a Texas company. Their reasons were that too many lawsuits were filed against them in Kentucky and that the state was not looking into tort reform to limit the amount of damages a plaintiff could be awarded in a nursing home abuse or negligence case.
Because of the number of lawsuits filed against just one of their long-term care facilities, Kenwood Health and Rehabilitation in Madison County, it is understandable why they would want to no longer operate this Kentucky nursing home. But based on the information reported by the Richmond Register, we think the high number of lawsuits is not because Kentuckians are more likely to file cases, but rather that the company was providing substandard care to its residents. The accusations of the five wrongful death lawsuits and one negligence suit filed in 2012 read like a laundry list of signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
The first wrongful death case states the victim had bed sores, infections, was injured by falling, was malnourished and dehydrated, and eventually died. The second case also suffered from malnutrition and dehydration, but was also not treated promptly for a broken hip and was not given proper medication. Her suit alleges that the lack of proper care caused her health to deteriorate more quickly and led to an earlier death. Case number three says a resident's health was allowed to decline at the nursing home so drastically that he ended up in intensive care in a hospital with sepsis, dehydration, and renal failure, and he passed away 43 days later. The other cases allege similar neglect at the nursing home and two of the three victims have died. The last resident still lives at the facility.
In all, there are about 43 lawsuits still outstanding against Extendicare that have been filed since 2009. According to Medicare, during an August 2011 inspection, Kenwood Health and Rehabilitation did not have enough nurses to care properly for the residents, they were not providing nutritious, appetizing foods, and they had three other deficiencies. The report states all of these issues were corrected in a couple months, but the fact remains that the deficiencies were there in the first place and were not remedied until they were found during the inspection.
One cannot expect any nursing home to live up to the expectations of every resident who lives there and their family members. It is impossible to please everyone all the time. But these facilities should provide a consistent, safe, and nurturing environment for their residents, and families should not have to worry that the residents' health is in jeopardy or declining because of a lack of care. The medical conditions listed in the cases above can be indicative of improper care. If you notice a loved one suffering from one or more of them, contact their physician and a Kentucky nursing home attorney at Miller & Falkner to determine if action needs to be taken.
Civil lawsuits mount against company that runs local nursing home; The Richmond Register; Sarah Hogsed; July 2, 2012