A New Elder Abuse Lawsuit in Kentucky Seeks to Hold Brownsville Nursing Home Criminal Defendants Responsible
Written by Jeff Meyer on November 17, 2015
With a growing elderly population and their adult children being ill-equipped to meet the progressively increasing medical and living accommodation needs of elderly parents, demands for solutions from the public saw the creation of a growing number of private nursing home facilities across the nation. However, this rapid growth in private nursing homes is accompanied by an increasing number of incidents of elder abuse in for-profit nursing homes, with incidents of elder abuse increasing annually at alarming rates in private-sector, for-profit nursing home facilities. In short, roughly one-third (33%) of the total number of some 16,000 nursing homes in the US have been cited by state or federal regulators for elder protection laws, and in recent years, for-profit nursing homes have incurred a disproportionate share of these citations from elder abuse investigators.
An Egregious Case of Criminal Elder Abuse Emerges from Kentucky
One of the latest is the Edmonson Center Nursing Home in Brownsville, Kentucky, where three staff members have received over 50 charges of first-degree criminal abuse, second-degree wanton endangerment, fourth-degree assault, and knowingly abusing or neglecting an adult patient. The charges came after an investigation undertaken by Adult Protective Services and local authorities involving two residents at the Edmonson Center, Jessica Prunty, and Virginia Lush.
The Edmonson Center was also named in the suit, as well as Genesis HealthCare, the parent company of Edmondson Center. Both entities were charged with:
- Leaving residents under the care of underqualified staff members
- Improper training of staff members
- Failing to resolve or adequately address ongoing and known problems in nursing homes owned or operated by the businesses
Genesis HealthCare has over 500 rehabilitation, nursing, and long-term care centers nationwide. One survey of its California facilities revealed that 37 of its 46 locations in that state were rated below state averages in providing proper care to its residents. Genesis HealthCare has also been named in many lawsuit settlements ranging from $300,000 to $5 million. Most of these settlements include strict confidentiality agreements whereby the plaintiff agrees not to discuss the suit.
A Prior Incident of Abuse at a Nursing Home Is Indicative of Potential Problems in the Future
Uncommonly as seen in elder abuse, the latest charges were not the first time the Edmonson Center has been at the center of controversy. An August 2014 inspection by a state agency revealed that three other employees (now no longer employed by Edmonson) physically abused residents by pinching their breasts and noses. There was also a reported incident of an elderly resident being dropped onto a bed, thus putting the victim at risk for physical injury.
Loosely defined, elder abuse is any intentional action, usually by a family member or health care provider, that puts an elderly person in harm’s way. This can include physical abuse, neglect, and assault. Nearly 30% of all cases of elder abuse are physical in nature while 21% of such incidents involve psychological abuse, including yelling, swearing at, or threatening elderly residents. Should such incidents occur, individuals have a legal responsibility to report such incidents to state elder care agencies, but also, should consider the involvement of legal counsel in order to ensure the immediate protection of a potentially abused nursing home patient.