Louisville, KY- In recent survey conducted by an elderly advocacy group, nursing homes and other long term care facilities in Kentucky received low grades which elicited demands to improve the quality of care. After receiving letters from advocates, Governor Steve Beshear vowed he would work on improving conditions for vulnerable adults.
Gov. Beshear said he would hold open forums in various regions where nursing home residents, their families and long-term care professionals would be able to share their ideas on how to improve the quality of care in these facilities.
He also vowed to he would ask program leaders from the Cabinet of Health and Family Services to research whether more staff at long-term care facilities would improve conditions, according to Kentucky.com.
In a response to a letter sent to his office by Bernie Vonderheide, founder of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, Gov. Beshear said, “I take this challenge very seriously and will be working with my staff and the state’s Elder Abuse Committee over the coming months to explore ways in which we can improve the quality of care.”
How Kentucky Measured Up
Long term care facilities in Southern States overall received low grades in the Florida-based Families for Better Care study, Kentucky homes ranked last for the region and received a “D” grade. The state was ranked 40th and was the worst of the Southeastern states.
Families for Better Care gave states letter grades on the “A to F” scale after analyzing eight federal standards which evaluate the quality of care in long –term care facilities.
Families for Better Care said, “Kentucky’s nursing homes consistently underachieved, failing to score an above average grade in any reviewed measure.”
Kentucky received a “C” grade for the direct care residents received, less than 50 percent of facilities in the state gave residents the national average of 2 hrs. per day of direct staff care. Residents received less than one hour, .81, of RN care at facilities.
At least 93.99 percent of facilities were cited for at least one deficiency, with 21.9 percent of facilities, one in five, being cited for severe deficiencies which are described as events in which a patient was harmed, abused, injured or died.
“Kentucky ombudsmen verified 83% of registered ombudsman complaints, a significantly high volume of identified residents’ concerns, indicative of widespread problems in nursing homes,” Families for Better Care said.
Staffing in a nursing home is critical, without enough staff members, patient’s needs are neglected. Lack of staff also gives abusers more opportunities and increased access to their victims. Overworked employees may not willfully neglect a patient’s basic needs such as moving immobile patients regularly or failing to change soiled under garments, but when they do it can dire consequences. Patients can become seriously ill or even die.
According to Kentucky.com, Gov. Beshear is one of the first state leaders to “embrace” nursing home staffing standards.