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Union Accuses Nursing Home Of Neglect And Abuse Of Patients

Accusations have arisen from state leaders saying the elderly in one Eastern Kentucky community are being neglected and abused because of understaffing.

Pikeville Healthcare Center officials say the accusations aren't true.

National Nursing Home Union members say patients are suffering at Pikeville Healthcare Center. The group says the residents aren't properly cared for and don't get help to use the restroom or bathe.

"We looked at the state surveys and saw different surveys where residents laid in feces for a long period of time," said Kathy McCormick, Union Long Term Care Organizer.

But the center's administrators say the allegations aren't true, and believe the union members are attacking them because their employees aren't unionized. The employees say they always put their patient's care first.

"They are taken very good care of. I take care of them. They have excellent doctors here, and I see them everyday," said Betty Karnes, Nurse Practitioner.

Still, the coalition members say Pikeville Healthcare has more than average number of health violations.

The coalition claims most of the problems revolve around staffing, claiming there's not enough employees to care for all the patients, but employees here say that's not true.

"I might go in on dayshift today and have to take care of 20 residents. You tell me how you bathe, feed, and clothe people if you've got 20 residents to take care of. It's impossible," McCormick said.

"I don't have anything to do with the hiring and firing, but it seems everything here is the same as anywhere else," Karnes said.

The coalition blames the nursing home's parent company, Home Quality Management, for the alleged problems, but resident's loved ones say they don't see anything wrong.

"When you call for people, they come to you. They help you, and when she first come here, I needed a lot of help with her, and they were always here to help me," said Edith Williams.

Employees say they don't expect any changes.

State Senator Ray Jones and Representative-Elect Leslie Combs say they will review the coalition's allegations and turn them over to the proper committee in Frankfort.


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