A social worker interviews a nursing home resident with intellectual disabilitiesSometimes there is no other choice. People with intellectual disabilities may end up in nursing homes at much younger ages than other nursing home residents. They may not have family to care for them at home, and intermediate care facilities may not be an option. The only option left may be a nursing home.

Are Nursing Homes Safe for People With Intellectual Disabilities?

People with intellectual disabilities have limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior. According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, intellectual disabilities impact an individual’s:

  • Intellectual skills, such as learning, reasoning, and problem-solving.
     
  • Conceptual skills, such as understanding things like language, money, and time.
     
  • Social skills, such as interpersonal skills, social responsibility, and self-esteem. People with intellectual disabilities may be unable to avoid being victimized because they may not be able to read any warning signs or see any danger coming. They may also be unable to follow rules.
     
  • Practical skills, such as the activities of daily living. This may include taking care of personal hygiene, using money, using the telephone, figuring out transportation, and following a schedule.

Challenges with intellectual skills, conceptual skills, social skills, and practical skills can make it very difficult for people with intellectual disabilities to recognize nursing home abuse and to report it. They may be at risk of suffering from different types of abuse and negligence, including:

These abuses can result in significant physical and psychological injuries.

They should never happen.

There Are Safeguards in Place, But They Don’t Always Work

Nursing homes are legally required to take certain precautions to protect residents from abuse and neglect. These precautions include:

  • Following all state and federal laws regulations. Kentucky and U.S. statutes and regulations provide specific protections for people in nursing homes.
     
  • Making sure that there are enough staff members to effectively and safely meet the needs of residents. The specific guidelines are described in regulations.
     
  • Making sure that staff members have the appropriate training to keep residents safe. The specific training is described in regulations. Additional training may be required based on the needs of the resident population.
     
  • Making sure that staff members are appropriately supervised. Nursing homes have a duty to supervise the staff members who are providing care.
     
  • Promptly responding to any signs, symptoms, or allegations of abuse or negligence. Nursing homes have a duty to investigate and report any abuse or negligence and they have a duty to make sure that individual residents are kept safe.
     
  • Doing thorough background checks for all nursing home workers. In late 2015, then-Governor Beshear signed emergency regulations regarding nursing home background checks. As of January 1, 2016, employers are required to run national background checks on anyone working in nursing homes and home care.

If the nursing home fails to provide reasonable care, then the nursing home may be liable for the negligence or abuse committed by a nursing home staff member.

What to Do If Your Loved One Has Been Hurt

The Commonwealth of Kentucky may take criminal action against a nursing home staff member if a crime was committed against a person with a disability. While criminal proceedings are important, they will not result in a financial recovery for the individual who was hurt.

In order for your loved one to make a fair recovery, his or her legal guardian will need to take action. This will likely include filing a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit so that damages can be recovered. A recovery may include compensation for past and future medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, pain, suffering, and other damages.

You can take the first step in helping your loved one with a financial recovery and in helping to hold the nursing home liable for the abuse or negligence that occurred right now. Simply contact our experienced nursing home injury lawyers via this website or by phone at any time—24/7—and let’s talk about what we can do together to see that justice is done.

Mark K. Gray
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Louisville attorney serving the seriously injured in Kentucky

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