Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Kentucky Law Mandates Background Checks to Work in Elder Care Institutions

How common is elder abuse in the State of Kentucky?

Your elderly loved one needs round-the-clock care, so you do your research and you find the best facility available. Much to your dismay, your loved one is verbally, physically or sexually abused or neglected at the facility you chose. It sounds like a nightmare. But, this is a reality for many. Luckily, in order to address the epidemic of elder abuse faced by the State of Kentucky, a new law has been enacted that will require full national background checks for those seeking employment with an elder care facility.

Elder abuse is a major problem in the State of Kentucky. Since the spring of 2014, over 2,600 complaints have been filed against elder care facilities in the state. Approximately one-third of these complaints pertain specifically to elder abuse or neglect of some kind. One might ask why the rate of elder abuse is so high. The high level abuse is due to the vulnerability of the elderly and infirm population. It is also a result of poor staff training and insufficient background checks. Many elder abusers are repeat offenders, but, until now, only a statewide background check has been required. Therefore, employers were not made aware of criminal convictions that had taken place outside of the state.

Many officials are breathing a sigh of relief now that a full national background check will be required for each employee. This has resulted by Governor Steve Beshara’s signing of an emergency regulation. In order to encourage compliance, facilities will have to abide by the background check policy in order to obtain or renew their state licenses. The facilities subject to these new regulations are nursing homes, assisted-living, hospice and intermediate-care facilities. Proponents of this law hope that it will increase the safety of the senior residents of such institutions.

If someone you know has been subjected to nursing home abuse, that individual may be entitled not only to a criminal investigation, but also to damages for personal injuries. It is essential to contact a reputable personal injury attorney to ensure that the victim’s personal rights are protected and that they are fully compensated for any injuries they have suffered.