Caregivers Sentenced In Elder Abuse Cases

Caregivers Sentenced In Elder Abuse Cases

Two individuals will spend the next two years in probation as the result of two separate nursing home abuses cases at two different Owensboro care facilities.

44-year-old Lori Graham and 22-year-old Sunne Johnson, both of Owensboro, were each charged with one count of reckless injury to an adult; Ms. Graham was a caregiver at Wendell Foster Center and Ms. Johnson was a certified nurse assistant at Signature HealthCARE. In announcing the sentences, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear gave no details about the cases, but he did imply that authorities filed charges based on an informer’s tip.

“Abuse of any kind is unacceptable, especially against one of our most vulnerable populations,” he said, adding that such cases will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Why File Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Despite Mr. Beshear’s reassurances, these criminal cases are difficult to prosecute and even more difficult to win, because the standard of proof is much higher in criminal court than it is in civil court. So, rather than waiting and hoping that law enforcement will take some action to curb nursing home abuse, pursuing a remedy in civil court is usually the way to go.

The nursing homes, as opposed to just the individuals, are liable for damages in a legal sense, because of the respondeat superior rule. That is another reason to pursue a civil case, because it is very easy for some companies to blame the individuals for the problem, even though facility administrators are also responsible for nursing home abuse in a moral sense.

What Causes Nursing Home Abuse

As many as 90 percent of these facilities are understaffed in one way or another, typically because nursing home companies are more interested in profits than people. Payroll is the largest expense in almost any business, so if the higher-ups feel the need to trim fat, they almost always look to staffing first. Some facilities have cut staff positions, especially during holidays, nights, and weekends. As a result, the overworked staff cannot always promptly respond to emergencies or provide basic care, like administering medication regularly and turning people in bed. Other facilities have cut the quality of staff positions. For example, they assign lower paid and often undertrained CNAs to perform tasks that nurses should probably be doing. The lower level of care creates a fertile environment for medical mistakes.

Damages in nursing home abuse cases typically include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

You can count on an experienced personal injury lawyer in Glasgow like Attorney Gary S. Logsdon to stand up for victims of nursing home abuse and their families. Call us today for a free consultation.